Pros: Root beer -- onion rings -- I don't really want much more
Cons: There are only so many root-beer-and-onion-ring meals one can stomach, and other offerings are mediocre
I feel bad, but the root beer is really the raison d'etre of A&W.
I am not much of a soda pop fan, but I do like root beer, and A&W's is a fine version of a modern root beer.
I am also a fan of onion rings. A&W's are quite nice, especially at the price.
...and the love affair ends there. It has never managed to go beyond a mall snack of root beer and onion rings for me. I'm not sure why A&W is so far behind in the burger races, but I hardly see this place anymore. The fries are also adequate, which may have something to do with it: many people will go out of their way for specific fries -- more, I think, than these companies realize -- I keep ending up at "Kentucky Fried Chicken" because I want their potato wedges, albeit little else from their blah menu.
A&W also seems to be a nostalgia kick for most people, and little else: it is the place my father took me for root beer floats when I was small, and it's the place everybody's root-beer-float-drunk father took them when they were small. Twenty-plus years later, that much sugar is not a thrilling event.
There are little signs here and there of an A&W comeback, so to speak, but little to recommend them for the moment -- unless you have the right sort of child, the right sort of time, and, most critically, the right sort of A&W (consistency seems to have fallen on its face with this chain) nearby, in which case: run, don't walk, for the root beer. Strange that a soda pop evokes such profound memories for so many people, but it's a good testament to the bang-up job that they've done with it.