In a business environment where family-owned stores are being acquired daily or are put out of business by national retailers, 20 A&W restaurants in the Green Bay and Fox Valley area, along with restaurant owners nationally, recently made the decision to divest from their parent company, YUM Brands Inc.
The move was done to help A&W owners reconnect with their local communities in personal ways and position themselves for continued growth, said Bruce Hundertmark, owner of the Clintonville A&W that opened in 1939. His daughter Erica is a third-generation family member now working in the restaurant.
“Our root beer is what made us famous, and we are committed to continue to serve our local customers well with freshly-made, creamy and smooth root beer and promotions that serve our local residents and market,” said Hundertmark.
In an effort to stay true to the vision of A&W’s founders 90 years ago, the franchisees are bringing back the restaurant’s mascot, Rooty The Great Root Bear, and promising to continue to make their root beer fresh on site in an age when most fast food restaurant drinks come from soda fountains mixed with concentrates.
The eight ownership groups of 20 A&W restaurants in the Green Bay and Fox Valley area have already made some changes including:
• Bringing back “Rooty The Great Root Bear” as A & W’s mascot.
• Promoting A&W’s freshly-made root beer. “It’s a best kept secret that we brew our root beer fresh in the back room,” said Hundertmark. “We want people to enjoy the smooth, creamy taste of A&W Root Beer. As people become more aware of their food choices, it’s refreshing to know that the ingredients are all natural and the root beer is brewed fresh in our restaurants.” A & W Root Beer does not include high fructose corn syrup or caffeine.
• Promoting A&W locally including serving up free root beer floats for a limited time beginning with newspaper coupons which will land on April 29 in area newspapers.