No more A&W root beer floats in Thailand if negotiations fall through
American fast-food chain A&W, which is known for its frosty mugs of root beer and waffles, is planning to close all its branches in Thailand after suffering huge losses since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A source said Global Consumer Plc, which owns the franchise in Thailand, is in the process of seeking approval from its board of directors to close all 26 branches of the fast-food chain.
The source said A&W has been suffering losses from the many lockdowns and changing behaviour of consumers. Most A&W branches are inside shopping malls, which were closed for long periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, another source said three big food chains are in talks with Global Consumer about the purchase of the A&W franchise. The source added that this deal may be worth around 500 million baht and could be concluded within this month.
According to Global Consumer’s annual report, A&W outlets in Thailand suffered losses of more than 70 million baht in 2021 alone.
A&W first started off in 1919 as a roadside shack in Lodi, California before it was transformed into a restaurant in 1923. The first branch was opened in Sacramento and evolved into a franchise in 1926. It now has nearly 1,000 branches across the world. The first A&W outlet in Thailand was opened in the Central Ladprao shopping mall in 1983.
The Global Consumer board has also approved the sale of the two remaining outlets of Kitchen Plus Restaurant and Coffee Corner due to cumulative losses.
In 2021, Global Consumer generated about 1.86 billion baht in revenue. Its main source of income is packaging goods and processed foods.