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A&W opens 26 new restaurants in 2010

VANCOUVER, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is pleased to announce the opening of 26 new restaurants in 2010. This compares with 22 in 2009, 20 in 2008 and 16 in 2007. The company now operates 730 restaurants in Canada, of which 720 are franchised.

Of the 26 new restaurants, 15 were opened in Ontario, which remains the focus of the company's strategic growth. This represents the first time that more than half of the company's national new restaurant openings occurred in Canada's largest province. One of the 15 Ontario openings was a corporately owned freestanding restaurant in Orleans, the company's second freestanding restaurant in the Ottawa market.

Graham Cooke, A&W's Vice President of New Restaurant Expansion, says he expects the recent surge of new restaurant growth to continue for at least the next 3-5 years. "We introduced a multi-site development program in Ontario and Quebec in 2009 and interest from existing and new franchisees has been enormous. We have since introduced the same program into BC and Manitoba. We are now essentially sold out in these two western provinces". Cooke went on to say that A&W now has development agreements covering 110 locations, all of which he expects will become opened A&W restaurants in the next 3-5 years. The real strategic challenge for us now will be to find high quality real estate for our freestanding restaurant program. This is especially true in Ontario and Quebec.

Among the 26 new openings this year were 5 downtown locations - 3 in Vancouver, 1 in Calgary and 1 in Toronto - that represent the first wave of A&W's new Urban concept. Targeting time-pressed urban consumers who work and increasingly live in the downtown core of several Canadian cities, the new concept will typically appear in store-front locations in densely populated urban areas. It features a slightly modified menu offering and a more contemporary interior decor. Rob Fussey, A&W's Director of Urban Development, says the concept has gained lots of early interest with consumers. "We are very pleased with the early results and will continue to target downtown markets in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal in the coming years". The first downtown Montreal urban location at Concordia University is scheduled to open in April this year.

A&W is Canada's second largest hamburger chain. Operating coast-to-coast, A&W restaurants feature famous trade-marked menu items such as The Burger Family®, Chubby Chicken® and A&W Root Beer®.

For further information:

J. Graham Cooke, VP, New Restaurant Expansion A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. (604)988-2141 Website: awfranchise.com