A&W is an American fast food restaurant franchise with over a century history. It offers its visitors burgers and fries and a very popular non-alcoholic and low-alcohol sweet root beer. The royalty pool includes 1,000 restaurants in the US, Canada, and Asia. The franchise is owned by the A&W franchisee group, which bought the franchise in 2011.
Meaning and History
A&W was originally a beer stand. And the first emblem of the company is dedicated to this drink. Since 1971, it has become the label for bottled beer. For 46 years of existence, the concept of the logo, developed in 1922, has not changed much. Mostly they were about color.
Since 1968, the emblem has changed significantly. The new image was no longer developed for popular beer but for a chain of restaurants that also sold beer in addition to fast food. The round shape was changed to oval, all inscriptions and symbols relating to beer were removed. Only the name of the A&W network remained.
1919 – 1948
In 1919, Roy Allen sold root beer, made to a special, previously unknown recipe, at his small roadside stall. Buyers liked the drink, and in 22, Allen decided to expand by taking his employee Frank Wright as a partner.
It was then that the beer acquired the name A&W Root Beer and the first logo. It was made in the form of a symbolic image of a wheel pierced by an arrow in the “ten.” The emblem showed that this root beer recipe was a real hit on target. And the wheel and the arrow turned to the left symbolized the dynamics and development. The wheel did not appear by chance, as the drink was sold on the road for passing cars. The name of the drink on the logo is divided into two parts. The first, A&W (in capital letters of partners’ names), is located at the top of the emblem. The second, Root Beer, is at the bottom. They are written in large print.
There is a smaller inscription in the center around the arrow: ice cold. This was the “trick” of the companions. Root beer has been sold cold in America since the days of its first seller and propagandist, Charles Hires. This drink quenches thirst well. But Wright and Allen went further. They served beer in special mugs frozen in the freezer, making the drink ice cold.
A year after the restaurant’s opening, Allen bought out Wright’s share. However, the letter of his last name remained in the logo forever. In 1925, A&W Root Beer became the first car restaurant franchise in America. All stalls had an emblem that became recognizable, like the beer itself.
1948 – 1958
By the early fifties, the network was actively developing due to the prosperity of the credit system. There were 450 beer stalls in America. And the logo changed in the direction of energy, gaining a red background. It showed the rapid development and great potential of the franchise. In 1950 Roy W. Allen sold the business to the California company A&W Root Beer Co and retired.
1958 – 1961
1956 A&W enters the global market by opening a restaurant in Canada. This resulted in a change to the logo. The old design told customers little about what the company was offering. Therefore, for overseas customers, A&W’s most popular product, the beer float, has been added to the logo’s center at the point where the arrow enters. The background changed from red to orange, evoking warm, pleasant emotions in consumers and inviting them to a new brand. The color change also increased the legibility of the lettering, which was now clearly visible to passing cars.
1961 – 1968
In the 60s, the franchise grew very actively. Restaurants open in several Asian countries at once. And the total number reaches 2000. The menu of the roadside restaurant is expanding. A series of family burgers (dad, mum, teen, and baby) are created, differing in size and being popular. Chubby chicken becomes the symbol of burgers. Therefore, the new emblem loses the image of a beer mug but returns a red background, more in line with the rapid pace of development of the network. The arrow also changes and now looks more like a road sign. However, it still symbolizes moving forward towards new goals. In addition, the central circle line thickens and, together with the arrowhead, forms the icon of Mars, a symbol of the conquest and conquest of new peaks.
1968 – 1995 (restaurants)
By the 68th year, the brand concept is finally changing. Beer is no longer the main menu item, but only a small part of it. In the 71st, the drink began to be sold in containers, added to the takeaway order, and delivered to stores. A subsidiary of A&W Beverages was engaged in its implementation. There is a need for a new emblem for fast food restaurants.
The arrow and the circle on the updated sign “poured out” into an oval, elongated from right to left, as a prototype of striving forward. In addition, the oval resembles the outline of a burger, one of the main menu items. In the center are standing massive letters A&W – a symbol of stability. The color scheme is red-brown, where the colors replace each other in a circle. Such a combination should show a time-tested, reliable, and at the same time constantly evolving company.
1995 – 2007
In 1995, the company found a new owner, Sidney Feltenstein. He paired A&W with Long John Silver’s and partnered with Yum! Brands began to promote a new concept – multi-brand restaurants, which serve products not only A&W but KFC, Taco Bell, John Silver, owned by Yum! Brands. The business was going well. In 2002, Yum completely absorbed A&W, and until 2011 the brand belonged to this company.
The change in concept and owners is reflected in the emblem. It has become more stylish thanks to the combination of red and black, characteristic of the KFC chain. The letters leaned to the right and went beyond the usual boundaries, overlapping the oval lines. They have become a symbol of change and going beyond the usual menu.
2007 – today
The general appearance of the emblem has not changed. The color scheme has become closer to light brown tones: the main colors of beer, toasted buns, french fries, and chicken. This option is more in line with the restaurant menu. It is also very family-friendly, warm, and cozy.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The emblem of different years was dominated by white, red, orange, brown, and black lines, giving clarity to the image focusing on the company’s offer. This color scheme perfectly reflected the different stages of the existence of A&W. Novelty, followed by energetic leaps forward for the development of the market and then quiet years of stability and family comfort.
The font on the emblem of the beer was in different thickness variations of even, clear letters like Impact. Since 1995 the font has changed. Letters have acquired Friz Quadrata Pro serifs and italics.