Revenue Royalties Income Fund

Our History in Canada

Introducing Fast Food to Canada

A&W was Canada's first hamburger quick service restaurant and remains one of its best known. The company began operations in Winnipeg, opening its first freestanding drive-in restaurant in 1956. By 1966, A&W Food Services had opened over 200 drive-in restaurants and was a hit with baby boomers and their families.

In 1972, A&W Food Services was acquired by Unilever Canada Limited. Since that time, A&W has always been owned and operated in Canada independently from A&W operations in the United States.

In 1995, the company's then current senior management team along with other investors acquired A&W Food Services in a management buy-out of the A&W business from Unilever Canada Limited. At that time, A&W Food Services owned and operated 162 hamburger quick service retaurants and franchised a further 308 restaurants.

The Leader in the Shopping Centre Segment

During the 1980s, A&W Food Services became the first hamburger quick service restaurant chain to open restaurants in shopping centres. Today, it is the dominant operator in this segment with over 180 restaurants.

Strategic Focus on Franchising

The 1990s brought continued growth and change to A&W as the company aggressively expanded its freestanding restaurants in Western Canada.

In 1996, a strategic decision was made to focus on franchising the business. Over an 18 month period, 129 corporately-owned restaurants were sold and franchised and 26 restaurants were closed.

Launch of the A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund

In February, 2002 the A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund was created.

Strategic Renewal

Food Services is committed to the ongoing strategic renewal of its business. This involves re-evaluating the longer-term strategy for the business every three to five years or as business conditions indicate a review is required. In the fall of 2023, Food Services undertook a renewal of the strategy for the A&W business.

At the core of the strategy is the mission “Together, to excite Canada's most avid burger lovers, wherever they are, with the best tasting burger they crave, earning even more of their visits and making A&W restaurants even more successful.”

The strategy has four key strategic directions:

  1. Create “Can't wait to come back” appeal and guest experience;
  2. Be highly convenient for our guests, wherever they are;
  3. Make A&W restaurants even more successful;
  4. Make it easier for franchisees and their teams to operate successful restaurants.

Food Services' strategy continues to focus on opening new restaurants across Canada while also growing its mobile app and A&W Brew Bar beverage business.

A&W Today

Today, with over restaurants from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, A&W is the second largest hamburger restaurant chain in Canada and is one of Canada's leading franchisors.

With national System Sales(1) of $1.85 Billion in 2023, the restaurant chain serves 197 million guests a year and employs approximately 20,000 employees.

Over its 67 year history, Food Services has established a strong brand name and a reputation as a leader in the hamburger segment of the quick service restaurant market. The A&W product line includes hamburgers (The Burger Family®), chicken products (through the Chubby Chicken® line of products), russet thick-cut fries, sweet potato fries, A&W Root Beer®, fresh hand-cut onion rings, breakfast items, soft drinks, coffee as well as a variety of frozen and espresso-based beverages that are offered through the A&W Brew Bar™.

™ trademark of the Partnership, used under license.

(1) “System Sales” is a non-IFRS financial measure of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. and is reported in respect of all A&W restaurants. Refer to the “Selected Information" section of Food Services’ Report to Unitholders of A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund for the year ended December 31, 2023 (the “2023 Report to Unitholders”) for a reconciliation of System Sales to Revenue from Corporate Restaurants, the most comparable IFRS measure, and the “Non-IFRS Measures” section of 2023 Report to Unitholders for further details on how System Sales is calculated and used to assess Food Service's performance. View the 2023 Report to Unitholders.

Franchise Info

Looking for A&W franchise information?

View the A&W Franchise website.

View the A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. consumer website.

View the Food Services financial statements.