FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Wisconsin franchise may come to Yulee

By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
June 24, 2020

“If approved, the Culver’s restaurant will have 102 seats of indoor dining and approximately 24 seats for outdoor eating, in addition to a drive-thru.”

Culver’s might be headed to Yulee.

The City of Fernandina Beach has the Board of Adjustments which hears requests for variances within city limits.

Its’ counterpart in Nassau County is known as the Development Review Committee, otherwise known as the DRC. In addition to variance requests, it also processes applications (and pre-applications) for new construction.

Considered as this week’s meeting was an application submitted by McCON Building Corporation out of Highland, Wisconsin. If approved, it would get Yulee one step closer to welcoming another family friendly restaurant to its dining landscape– in the form of a chain restaurant that got its start in Sauk City, Wisconsin, known as Culver’s.

Says the website, “Craig and Lea Culver, along with Craig’s parents, George and Ruth, introduced the world to Culver’s ButterBurgers and Frozen Custard in 1984.”

As far as franchises go, Culver’s has grown almost exponentially since then. In fact, it has well over 700 restaurants in 26 states. A restaurant was recently opened in Middleburg, Florida and another is planned for Jacksonville. And if all goes well, Yulee will have one to be located at 46371 State Road 200.

For those not familiar with Culver’s, the restaurant’s signature dishes include the trademarked ButterBurger, (so named because it is made with an ice cream scoop), and Fresh Frozen Custard. This makes perfect sense since patriarch George Culver was a dairy farmer. It prides itself on hometown hospitality and no food is prepared until the order is taken.

In addition to trademarking ButterBurgers, the Culver’s also credit themselves with inventing table tents. Says the Culver’s website, “because every meal was made fresh for every guest, the Culver family needed a way to keep track of who ordered what. Enter: upside-down foam cups with handwritten numbers.”

The first franchise opened in 1990 in Baraboo, WI, and back then, part of the deal was that the owner-operator would work right in the restaurant. That tradition continues today.

George Culver’s son Craig and his wife Lea are credited with the ongoing success and geographical expansion of the Culver formula, its food and philosophy.

Some things haven’t changed but the menu has been modified ever so slightly to reflect more dishes inspired by their homeland of Wisconsin, including cheese curds.

Another tradition that continues at each and every one of its locations is a dedication to philanthropy. Culver’s is known for its sponsorship of agricultural education programs designed to encourage smart farming and is provides “meaningful support to help communities become better places through sponsorships and donations.”

During the DRC meeting, signage requirements were discussed and Chris McGuire, agent for McCON was looking for a solution so that restaurant can advertise its’ flavor of the day and when it is sponsoring a special fundraiser. The rules for State 200 are fairly strict with no digital or electronic signage allowed.

The next step is for McCON and Culver’s is the submission of a pre-site plan application. No date yet set.

If approved, the Culver’s restaurant will have 102 seats of indoor dining and approximately 24 seats for outdoor eating, in addition to a drive-thru.

Some other interesting facts and figures about Culver’s include:

• Restaurant Business 2018, ranked Culver’s as the #3 restaurant chain; and

• Entrepreneur magazine rated it a #6 according to the Franchise 500 rankings in 2019

For more information on Culver’s, please visit: https://www.culvers.com

And for more information about what’s going in Nassau County, add your name to the list(s) by sending a request to [email protected]

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