Franchise Fun: Susan Senecal, A&W

Susan Senecal shares her insights, and toasts A&W’s latest successes

Caricature illustration of Susan Senecal of A&W with a frosty mug of A&W root beer

Susan Senecal has recently taken over at the helm of A&W, the quick service food franchise that’s known as the Home of the Burger Family, as its President and CEO, but that won’t change the company’s goal of delivering the joyful experience of a great tasting burger, made with quality ingredients, to its loyal customers.

A&W also aims to continue to expand across Canada, and recently celebrated the opening of its 900th A&W restaurant, the company’s 50th urban concept restaurant, right in the heart of a growing neighbourhood in Toronto. Senecal says she was proud to walk the orange carpet with her team, and to raise a toast with one of A&W’s custom root beer cocktails, prepared especially for the occasion.

Here, Senecal shares some of the secrets behind her franchising success, including the importance of building strong and open partnerships, the value of learning from the experiences of others, and the critical role of support from loved ones.


The most interesting thing I’ve done recently is

I explored thriving urban neighbourhoods across North America and Europe.

In its best form, work is

A happy, fulfilling part of life.

A good franchisee…

Will always be honest about what they see in the business.

A good franchisor…

Is a proud partner.

My top advice for prospective franchisees is…

Make sure you love the work, not just the business.

My top advice for new franchisors is…

Do the right things to ensure shared success for both franchisee and franchisor.

The most important thing in life is…

Health and family.

One of the most enjoyable things to do is…

Spend time outdoors. In Canada, we are lucky enough to have one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes on earth – explore it; walk, bike, hike, swim, slide!

The hardest thing for me to do is…

Fit everything in.

My favourite drink is…

A&W Root Beer (of course!)

If I could change one thing…

Planes would fly faster!

If I could meet anyone…

I would spend time with some of my ancestors, to learn from their experience and wisdom.

The person who has had the most positive influence on me as a businessperson is…

Ah, an impossible question! For me, one of the richest aspects of the franchise industry is the wealth of perspectives from each of the participants. I’ve always been fortunate to work alongside great bosses, colleagues, and franchisees. I have learned so much from all of them that it would be impossible to single one out.

Canadian franchising is…

A dynamic and important Canadian business opportunity.

My franchise system began because…

We wanted to grow with successful partners who are invested in and passionate about their communities across Canada.

The most positive influence on my life as a person is…

My parents – and their values for learning, kindness, and integrity.

The key to success is…

Making hard work inspirational and fun.

I’d like my friends to describe me as…

Trusted and supportive.

The accomplishment I look forward to the most is…

Having a happy close relationship with my family, growing into the future.

My personal motto is…

Find joy in the moment.

One necessary item on my life’s “to do” list is…

Spending the right time with the people I care about the most, and supporting each other wherever we can.