A&W began in 1922 in Lodi, California when Roy Allen took on partner Frank Wright to help with the root beer business he had started three years earlier. They branded their product A&W root beer. Two years later Allen bought out Wright and began franchising his product. His profits came from a small franchise fee and concentrate sales. There was no set food menu for franchises until 1978.
A&W is currently a Yum! Brands, Inc company with divisions in the U.S., Canada, and an international division serving southeast Asia. Most A&W locations that have opened in the U.S. in recent years have been cobranded with Yum!'s fish and chips chain Long John Silver's.