The Culver’s in Romeoville is owned by the husband-wife team of Ron and Debbie Dalrymple. Together, they’ve been running an award winning restaurant and have been recognized for their excellence by Culver’s for the past five years. Working right along with their staff, you’ve probably seen and talked with them and may not have even realized you were speaking with the owners. “As an owner, if you’re active in the community and you’re attentive to your guests, you build relationships,” explains Ron. “My wife and I have been out walking around Walmart and she will say ‘Ron, six people have come up to say hi to you in the last half hour!’ We get to know people,” he laughs.
Their store has consistently been ranked as one of the best locations in the Midwest region of the Culver’s Crew Challenge. Started in 2013, the competition captures the entirety of each store’s operation. The store is judged four times each year in things like prep times and hospitality. Each store is also subjected to secret shoppers, who report back on the store’s performance from the customer’s point of view. Speaking of the customer, the final element to the Crew Challenge score is a survey called Guest Connect. “Our Guest Connect score is generally very high,” says Ron. “Everyone’s goal is to be in the top 20% in performance and we’ve been outside of that maybe one or two months in five years. In fact,” Ron continues, “in December of 2016, our Guest Connect was number one out of the 600+ Culver’s locations in the country, which we were very excited about.”
In the five years of the Crew Challenge, Romeoville was the Midwest Regional Champion twice (2014 and 2015) and a finalist the other three years. To be named a finalist, a store has to be the best in their division. In the Chicago area, there are three divisions with 22 stores in each grouping. The division winners then go head to head to determine the regional champion. The Midwest region has 125 stores, so being the top store in the Midwest is no small feat.
So how do they do it? “We hire right,” Ron replies. “We hire kids that want to serve people with a glad heart. And if they don’t, we mold them, but most of the time we think we have outstanding team members.” He also attributes experience to their success. “We’ve been open for nearly 14 years and I’ve seen a lot of people. If I can see somebody is not happy, I try to address it. If you can be proactive, it helps a lot. Plus, I don’t own multiple stores, so I’m here and can pay a lot of attention. My wife has a great eye for detail too.” He gives credit to the area as well. “Romeoville’s been a great community. People often say ‘You have the nicest store. Everyone is so friendly and gracious.’ I always say it’s because we have such friendly and gracious guests. The community is very easy to serve. We have some wonderful people that visit our Culver’s.”
So the next time you stop into Culver’s, give Ron and Debbie a smile and be sure to fill out the Guest Connect survey to let corporate know how they’re doing. With your help, Romeoville Culver’s can be the best in the Midwest once again.