Get Your Root Beer Floats & Bacon Cheeseburgers: A&W is over 100 Years Old

Rooty mascot and A&W logo

It is time to drive up to that familiar orange and brown restaurant and order a delicious root beer float and maybe even some chili cheese fries. The frosty mug, the hot burgers… A&W is truly the classic feel-good fast food restaurant. Did you know that it has been around for over 100 years, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the United States? In 2019, the drive-in spot celebrated its 100th anniversary as A&W began in 1919 with Roy W. Allen opening up his first Root Beer stand and eventually partnering with Frank Wright. They coined the name A&W with the A for Allen and W for Wright.

A&W Drive in

Not only that, but the fast food chain became one of the first to have a drive-in. That began 100 years ago in 1923. Just a few years later in 1925, they began selling franchises which established the restaurant as the first franchise restaurant in the United States. To celebrate A&W and National Hamburger Day this weekend, let’s learn some fun facts about the home of that yummy root beer. Now, I really need to grab a glass!

A&W root beer float


Okay, now that we have our root beer, we can learn more about this honored treat. The very first A&W root beer was actually served to WWI veterans at a homecoming parade. As their root beer and root beer floats became so iconic, A&W invented National Root Beer Float Day which comes around every year on August 6th.

A&W restaurant

Wikimedia Commons

Hamburgers and cheeseburgers are also classic staples for the fast food joint. It was a Michigan franchise owner Dale Mulder who noticed that many customers would ask for bacon on top of their cheeseburgers. It became so popular that he added it to the menu in 1963 and it has been a fan-favorite ever since.

A&W bacon cheeseburger


These days, while most fast food joints are owned ultimately by corporate, A&W remains 100% owned by franchisees. There are just under 500 restaurants left in the United States and many are owned by families and second or third-generation owners. This gives the place that cozy, hometown feel that many know and love. I know the one near me just looks nostalgic as you drive up!

A&W advertisement

While A&W still sells the classic food they are known for, they are also trying to branch out and compete with other fast food chains. In addition to those mouth-watering bacon cheeseburgers, they offer chicken sliders with pickles, cheese curds, and even a lemonade shake. They also sell Polar Swirls® which look very similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard. What’s your favorite thing to order from A&W?

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