The Customer Service Five

It’s mid-September and Thom Crosby is on the road again. Every six months, Crosby, the CEO of Pal’s Sudden Service, a 26-unit chain with stores across Tennessee and Virginia, joins Pal’s founder Fred Barger for a road trip. The pair visit all 26 stores, leading quality and system audits at each stop.

“Everything from speed of service to friendliness at the window,” Crosby says.

For Culver's, Instagram Proves Powerful Marketing Platform

What do "Titanic," "Game of Thrones," and "Mary Poppins" all have in common? Each has served as the inspiration for Culver’s Community Theater, the fast-casual chain’s Instagram video campaign that’s reached more than 400,000 social media users.

“The 15-second videos are an Instagram first in approach—strategy, content, and video length were geared directly to the Instagram platform,” says Paul Pitas, director of PR and communications at Culver’s. “The videos are also highlighted on our Facebook, Twitter, on YouTube, and e-newsletter.”

Deep Dive

Quick-serve brands capitalize on seafood sales during Lent.

Quick serve Long John Silver's serves lobster bite option as special Lent offer.
Long John Silver's rolled out Norway Lobster Bites in time for the busy Lent season.

Recognizing the potential sales lift that seafood items produce during the Lenten season, many quick-serve chains are once again launching fish-based LTOs in preparation of Lent, which starts March 5. And with more pressure to stand out from an increasingly competitive field, many brands are enhancing their menu and marketing programs to get better exposure for their seafood LTOs.

This year’s more innovative seafood offerings include items like Mojo Fish Tacos from Tropical Smoothie Café and Norway Lobster Bites from Long John Silver’s.

Culver's Closes a Year of Expansion and Reimaging

The Midwest-based Culver's restaurant chain added 28 new restaurants in 2012, including its first venture into South Carolina.

This compares to 20 openings in 2011 and 12 in 2010. Culver's will finish the year with 473 restaurants operating in 20 states.

"Our existing franchise partners had a good year in 2011 and that, coupled with lower interest rates, encouraged them to expand this year," says Phil Keiser, president and chief operating officer. "We've also seen more new people interested in being part of the Culver's brand and owning their own business."

Culver's Goes Elfspotting This Holiday Season

Sprinkling magic into this holiday season, Culver's is inviting guests to share photos of themselves with the ultimate holiday merrymaker, an elf, for a chance to win a $25, $50, or $100 Culver's gift card.

Culver's suggests Elfspotting sleuths search for the magical creatures in malls, while out shopping, or even in their own home (garden gnomes count).

Culver's Unveils New Fall LTO Menu

Culver's is updating its menu this fall with the introduction of six new limited-time-only menu items.

The new Colby Jack Pub Burger makes its debut and Sweet Potato Fries make a return visit.

The new line-up continues on September 10 with the Asian Crunch Salad, Pumpkin Cheesecake Concrete Mixer, Pumpkin Pecan Concrete Mixer, and the Pumpkin Spice Shake.

New Culver's Website Adapts to Any Device

Culver's launched a new website,, to offer every guest a handcrafted Culver's experience that reflects and communicates the “Welcome to Delicious” brand story. The centerpiece of the new website is food photography that highlights Culver's menu, from ButterBurgers to Fresh Frozen Custard. Culver's new Web design also adapts to any device, from desktop to tablet to mobile, to deliver an elegant visual experience regardless of the size of the user's display and the capabilities of the device.