Re-Lamp & Re-Vamp

by Katie Lee

LED lighting helps 60-year-old A&W Restaurant revive its business.

By John Casadonte

For 60 years, the Welch family has been operating the A&W® Restaurant in Franksville, Wisconsin, but when construction began on a major highway where the restaurant was located, the restaurant’s future was in doubt.

Located off I-94 and Highway K, the A&W Restaurant’s property became land-locked when construction began to expand I-94 into an eight-lane highway. The restaurant was forced to use a highway on-ramp as a driveway, which limited accessibility for customers. In order to keep the family business operating, Brittany Welch, site and marketing manager, set out to rebuild the restaurant in a new location. “We were lucky that there was land available on the other side of the interstate highway, so we started to rebuild,” Welch explains.

LTG AW Restaurant FranksvilleWI 102414 004 mrSolution

When reviewing the lighting plan for the new restaurant, Welch decided to go all LED.

In the old parking lot, A&W was leasing 400-watt pulse start metal halide lights from the energy company. For the new parking lot, they installed 14 high output luminaires with poles and tenons.

“We have the lights set for occupancy. When the last employee leaves, the lights turn off in 10 to 15 minutes so that the employee can get to his/her car,” Welch says. “We also have a sensor on the roof that detects daylight and turns the lights on if it’s cloudy.”

Inside, 82 downlights and 22 troffers were installed in the kitchen and dining areas. The downlights were installed using recessed housing, and four of the troffers were installed with the emergency backup option.


Welch estimates that she is saving $800 per month on her gas and electric bill when compared to what she was paying at the previous location. When compared to incumbent technologies, the new restaurant will achieve 56% in energy savings and a payback of 2.8 years.1

LTG AW Restaurant FranksvilleWI 102414 001 mrSince LED lights are designed to be nearly maintenance-free for more than a decade, A&W is saving time and money by not replacing bulbs. In addition, A&W received rebates from the local utility company, further accelerating their payback.

“Our statewide energy efficiency program, Focus on Energy, was really excited that we went with energy-efficient LED products,” Welch says.

The LED lights have helped improve A&W’s business, too. The LED lights create a safe and welcoming environment for our customers. Welch has received many compliments about how wonderful the restaurant looks.

“We are happy with how the light is precisely distributed now. It’s nice that we are not lighting the road or other properties,” Welch says.

She further stated that she likes that the light is even and not visually overpowering. “Previously, we had T12 lights in the kitchen ― now we can see while cooking, the kitchen looks clean and the whole atmosphere is happier and crisp,” Welch says.

The comments don’t stop at the kitchen. “We have received compliments that the dining room is warm and inviting — and that our parking lot looks much nicer than the typical restaurant parking lots they see,” Welch says.


LTG AW Restaurant FranksvilleWI 102414 009 mr1 Payback and energy savings are based on the national average electricity rate, recommended maintenance schedule, and typical maintenance costs over common assessment periods (application life).


A&W® is a registered trademark of A&W Concentrate Company. 


— John Casadonte is a vertical marketing manager at Cree, an industry leader in LED lighting for interior and exterior applications. He currently supports Cree’s education initiative to help sustainability efforts and achieve LEED qualification for the many institutions nationwide.

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