The old-fashioned root beer stand lives on, thanks to this business. A&W Restaurants franchises more than 1,200 quick-service restaurants in the US and unaffiliated restuarants in about 15 other countries. The eateries, many of which still offer drive-up service in addition to dine-in seating, offer a menu featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and fries, along with its signature root beer. A&W traces its roots back to a California root beer stand business started by Roy Allen in 1919. It belonged to YUM! Brands , the world's largest fast-food franchisor, until late 2011 when a group of franchisees purchased it.