Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Culver's of Corydon makes Final 4
Founder to visit store Dec. 11

by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

December 03, 2013

Be warned that Culver's of Corydon will be a hopping place next Wednesday. That's because the restaurant has advanced to the Final Four in the Culver's Crew Challenge and will be visited by Craig Culver, founder of the eatery known for its ButterBurger.

"We don't do what we do each and every day to win awards," said Frank Spanopoulos, who owns the local franchise with his wife, Sarah. "However, it sure feels great to be recognized on such a high level. It proves to us that we have done a great job building this restaurant over the last 10 years and have added something special to this community."

What many people don't know is that Corydon almost didn't get a Culver's.

"Sarah and I were originally turned down when we wanted to put a Culver's in Corydon 11 years ago," Frank said. "We had to really sell them that this place was special and (Culver's) would be perfect for Harrison County."

Now, the Spanopouloses are preparing to open another Culver's, this one in Jeffersonville, early next year.

There are nearly 500 independently owned and operated Culver's in 21 states. According to its website, the award-winning customer service is based on "small-town, Midwestern values, genuine friendliness and an unwavering commitment to quality and freshness."

Of the 30 Culver's in Indiana, the Corydon one is No. 2 in sales behind Evansville.

"I jokingly like to remind (Culver's) from time to time" that this location was initially denied, Frank said.

Each of the four finalists — the others are located in Darboy, Wis., Darien, Ill., and Mitchell, S.D. — are guaranteed $10,000; the winning site will receive $50,000. The top four sites were determined by secret shoppers, evaluations, sales and the Culver's guest feedback program.

Frank said the money doesn't go to the store owners; instead, it goes to the employees. He developed a tier system for dividing the 10 grand among his employees, including ones who have recently been hired, but would love to increase that as the top store.

"We are very fortunate that it has been easy to find amazing team members to work with us, and we have very loyal guests that love to promote our place," Frank said. "What a fantastic combination."

Craig Culver is making a visit to the four locations early this month. Each site has to showcase one of Culver's four pillars: delivering an awesome guest experience through hospitality and food, operations through the lens of a guest, True Blue Crew Development (developing store teams to be the best) and, the one assigned to the Corydon store, caring community involvement.

"We are going to be showcasing law enforcement, fire and EMS in the morning," Frank said. "The Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive from 10 to 3, where donors will receive a coupon for a pint of (Culver's) custard for a pint of blood," something Culver's does throughout the year.

Special guests are being invited to be in attendance next Wednesday.

Craig Culver is expected to arrive in Corydon between 10 and 10:30 a.m. and will make a presentation. A film crew will shoot video throughout the day at the restaurant.

The winning location will be announced in February. Frank said it is to be shown via video satellite at each of the Final Four locations.

Determination of the winner will be made based on representation of the four pillars, the experience at each of the locations and by the results of unannounced visits by top Culver's executives this week or next at each site.

"We encourage you to come out and have lunch with us as Craig Culver himself will be working the dining room," Frank said.