Deliciously Delightful – The Culver’s Way

I love what I do. I meet wonderful people all over the world. Recently, I was invited by the President and CEO of Culver’s to come and spend time with 1,100 of their franchisees, team members, executive team, and support center from around the USA.

This is a thirty-three-year-old company with deep Wisconsin roots. Perhaps you’ve heard of them; they are famous for their butter burgers and frozen ice cream custard. Now, if anyone knows me, then you know that I love Chick-fil-A and am a really big fan of the Cathy family, the operator culture, and it’s people.

Well, I have a confession to make: the people of Culver’s have taken a page out of the Chick-fil-A handbook and have put their own spin on hospitality. They are rock solid with authentic Midwestern values to boot.

In fact, the co-founder of Culver’s, Craig Culver, came backstage after my keynote address, shook my hand and gave me a big bear hug. I am telling you — his spirit exuded positivity. Then I met the franchisees, and they all had the same characteristic.

Here are five ideas I learned from my time with them that you may apply to your business:

  1. People are the point of differentiation – If you hire the right people and put them in the right environment, anything is possible. Pay them well and take care of them. If you do, there is nothing in world they won’t do for the brand.
  2. It Starts with Heart – Culver’s believes that it all starts with heart. Their philosophy is simple and that is: this is not the place where you come to just do a job. This is where you come to work because you love it. If your heart’s not in what you are doing, then Culver’s is not the place for you.
  3. Consistently obsess over the details – Culver’s prides itself on asking guests a very simple question: “How’s your meal?” I remember eating at Culver’s in Bonita Springs, FL. I ordered my food and sat in the dining room. A smiling young man brought my order to me. He was pleasant and asked me if I needed any additional condiments. These simple gestures blew me away.
  4. Small is the New Big – Culver’s currently has about 600 locations in 22 states and are poised to expand nationwide with a rock solid executive team. Additionally, I was so pleased to see that they had several women in key executive roles. Catalyst says that organizations that have women in key roles positively impact their bottom line.
  5. Invest in your community and your community will invest in you – Culver’s is the central meeting place for many of its guests. They pride themselves on hiring teenagers from the high schools in the area. They pour into the values of what it means to show up on time, smile, and be hospitable to guests. They don’t just stop there; they also provide scholarships for employees to attend college. These important gestures cement their commitment to provide jobs and hope for a better future.

The next time you see a Culver’s, I would encourage you experience why they are deliciously delightful.

About Simon T. Bailey
Simon T. Bailey
Simon T. Bailey travels the world speaking to audiences about how how to build a bridge from their current reality to their brilliant future. He is the author of the best-selling books Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc. and Brilliant Living: 31 Insights to Creating an Awesome Life. When he’s not working, he enjoys rooting for the Buffalo Bills (hometown team), going to movies and eating hot apple pie.

  • Olga M. Morris

    Thank you for showcasing our brand the way I see it every day! Loved listening to you at Culver’s reunion. Olga Morris, Culver’s Franchisee, Columbia, MO