I was driving back from Toronto after a conference and some business meetings. I was swallowing kilometers on the 401 when I realised I was really hungry. Lunch time!
I stopped at the Trenton South OnRoute. My choices were Tim Hortons and A&W. As usual, the line-up at Tims was illogically long, so I elected to get some burgers.
I hadn’t had A&W onion rings in quite some time, so I thought it would be a good idea to get some to go along with my burgers.
Once my order was ready, I ask for some honey, as one is bound to do when getting ready to eat theses delicious golden circles.
“We don’t have any honey, sorry.”
– “You don’t have honey???”
– “We don’t carry it.”
– “You used to.”
– “Yes, we used to.”
What was I going to do?
I sat down and looked at my rings, in despair. Took one, inspected it. Would ketchup do? Not a chance. I resigned myself to eat them as is. Their slightly oily texture, the crispy, crumbling batter, the salty attack was as I remembered. But they were not quite the same without that sweet honey contrast to round out the flavor profile.
I was stunned.
So I took to Twitter to express my dismay: “Why can’t we no longer get honey at @AWCanada?”
A few Twits made fun of this very important question while I finished my lunch and moved on to Ottawa.
Almost a week later, A&W replied! “We assure you that we always serve honey in all our branches!”
– “Oh ya ? That’s not what your friends in Trenton told me!”
– “It’s very strange. Can you specify the branch?”
The conversation then moved on to the private sphere, as A&W HQ started to investigate this beehive of a mystery.
“We will get back to you by email in the next few busieness days.”
Well then. Could it be that A&W Trenton South had gone rogue?
A full 13 days after the incident, we had gone full circle!
“Thank you for your inquiry regarding our honey product. While honey can be found at some A&W locations still, here at Trenton South we do not carry honey. It is up to each individual franchise to decide whether or not to carry more than the required selections of condiments. As such, we have chosen not to carry honey, but offer raspberry and strawberry jam, peanut butter, and marmalade. Again, thank you for your inquiry and I hope this has helped to answer your question.”
– A&W Store Trenton South
Turns out, A&W HQ didn’t know that honey was an optional condiment in their restaurants.
Yet, I felt compelled to respond:
“Thanks for the reply. I already knew that you weren’t carrying honey and assumed it was a new policy-wide chain. HQ responded that A&W was indeed carrying honey and expressed surprise at my question and asked me for more details. I guess they now, too, know the response about honey being optional. Thank you for listing your other condiments, but sadly that is not helpful to me as I use honey as a dip for your delicious onion rings. I’m not sure that jam or marmelade would work, but I admit I am intrigued by the peanut butter option.”
There you have it, folks.
Beware the honeyless A&W. Or try peanut butter.