A&W Rolls Out Fair Trade Coffee

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — A&W has been reinventing its menu since 2013, when it announced it would serve beef without the use of hormones or steroids, and now the North Vancouver, B.C.-based company has begun serving Fair Trade, organic coffee from Montreal-based Van Houtte.

“We’ve really opened up a different dialogue and a conversation with our guests and their interests in food, and we’ve seen that grow,” explains Susan Senecal, chief marketing officer at A&W. “We got a lot of interest in coffee — Canadians are big coffee drinkers, and our guests are no exception.” So the team introduced a custom-blend, 100-per-cent Arabica, organic, Fair Trade coffee to stores across the country. “We’re the only ones that have exclusively Fair Trade organic coffee for our guests among the national chains in Canada,” she adds.

This is the latest addition in A&W’s menu revamp. In October, the chain began to serve chicken raised without antibiotics and eggs from hens fed a vegetarian diet, without animal by-products. The launch of “better” ingredients has been well-received by guests. In fact, A&W attributed the menu update as contributing to fourth-quarter results, posted in February, which showed same-store sales grew by 7.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, and 6.3 per cent for the full year 2014 as compared to 2013.

There may be more menu innovation to come. “We pride ourselves on listening constantly to our guests and thinking about what’s next for A&W,” says Senecal.

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