A&W Restaurants, Inc. is a chain of fast-food restaurants distinguished by its draft root beer, root beer floats and burgers. Its origins date back to 1919 when Roy W. Allen opened a walk-up root beer stand in Lodi, California. Allen’s employee Frank Wright partnered with him and founded this first restaurant in Sacramento, California, in 1923. The company name was taken respectively from the initials of their last names—Allen and Wright. The company became famous in the United States for its “frosty mugs,” where the mugs would be kept in the freezer and eventually get filled with A&W Root Beer before they were served to customers.
Evolving into a franchise in 1926, the company today has locations throughout much of the world with each serving a typical fast-food menu of hamburgers, French fries, and hot dogs. A number of outlets serve as drive-in restaurants that have carhops. Previously owned by Yum! Brands, the chain was sold in December 2011 to a consortium of A&W franchisees through A Great American Brand, LLC. A&W restaurants in Canada have been part of a separate and unaffiliated chain since 1972.