Welcome back, A&W Singapore!
Like most other Singaporeans, the first thing we did at Jewel Changi Airport, was to queue up for A&W. We spent at least 2 hours waiting to get a seat and another 30 minutes for our order to arrive. Queuing has officially become a typical Singaporean’s favourite past time. If there’s a queue, that stuff must be good!
Why A&W left Singapore 16 years ago?
This American fast food chain first came to Singapore in 1966 and their very first outlet was along Dunearn Road. In 2003, A&W decided to pull out of Singapore. I still vaguely remember that many were lamenting over the closure of the last outlet when the news broke. I guess what Singaporeans missed the most were Root Beer floats and curly fries.
After the franchise left Singapore, Singaporeans could only relish their in their nostalgia by driving over to the nearest A&W outlets in Johor Bahru, Malaysia or Batam, Indonesia.
I believe that the reason they pulled out of Singapore was because of the stiff competition faced by other fast food giants like McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King.
McDonald’s, in particular, has been going strong in their marketing strategies, constantly innovating with their new seasonal menu items and countless promotions. This fierce competition probably caused A&W to suffer greatly in sales.
A&W has a longer history In Singapore
It is interesting to note that A&W was the sole fast-food chain for a decade when it first came to Singapore in 1966. KFC only came to Singapore in 1977 and McDonald’s in 1979. Nonetheless, it was probably all smooth sailing for A&W until the competitors came in.
Why Singaporeans did not mind queueing for A&W?
Most of us grew up on A&W since childhood. We love it because it brings back memories those memories – and not because the food is unbelievably good. Similarly for other fast foods like McDonalds and KFC – we humans love comfort food. Also, if you observe closely, those queuing up were most likely folks born before 2000.
And since most of us, millennials, grew up eating at A&W, we now have more spending power to satisfy our nostalgic cravings.
Before we talk about curly fries and root beer, what does A&W stands for?
Here’s a little trivia for you: A&W was primarily a root beer brand started by Roy W. Allen. So if the ‘A’ in the brand name stands for Allen, what does the letter ‘W’ take after? It was the initials of Allen’s employee, Frank Wright, who partnered with Allen to start the first fast food restaurant in Lodi, California.
A&W Jewel opens 24/7 ’round the clock.
The A&W outlet at Jewel Changi is a 24-hour outlet, and that means you can drop by for a late super anytime, any day.
What’s on the menu?
The prices of each Ala Carte item range from $2.90 to $7.90. A set meal, which includes a drink and a burger, starts from $5.90 each. Everything on the menu, including their combo meals, costs less than $10.90.
To me, it is slightly cheaper than McDonald’s but definitely more expensive than their outlets just across the causeway. In a Malaysian A&&W, you can literally eat like a king there since the exchange rate for every SGD is high.
To save a couple of bucks, it is best to go for the combo meals.
What did we order and try?
Each tall mug of A&W Draft Root Beer costs $2.90. Top up another dollar to get a Root Beer Float. Most of the diners there ordered the float. I mean, why not?
Do you know that A&W made their own Root Beers fresh daily? It will be fun to find out how they make it.
And that’s the only beverage they offer at this A&W outlet in Singapore.
Main Menu items
On the menu, they have their classic hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches, curly fries, onion rings, chicken tenders and waffles.
We ordered the Waffle Ice Cream with Chocolate fudge topping ($7.90), Chicken Coney Hotdog ($5.20) and a packet of curly fries ($3.60). What is probably new on their current menu is their cream cheeseburgers. But every diner around us was ordering their hot dogs, chicken tenders, curly fries, Root Beer float and waffles.
You can actually choose from the three waffle toppings available: Chocolate fudge, strawberry and salted caramel.
Their Root Beer, curly fries and coney hotdog still taste the same. But what’s surprising for me is their waffles. I wasn’t aware they offered waffles previously and when I tried it, it was so good. Their vanilla ice cream tastes like store-bought ice cream but their waffles were exceptional. It has this firm texture which I like and it is super fragrant. It was unexpectedly good.
I believe that A&W is back in Singapore for good! The hype will probably die down after A&W starts to open a few more outlets in Singapore, but for now… they’re here to stay!