Frozen treat chain Bruster's Real Ice Cream announced two grand prize winners of its first restaurant Extreme Makeover Contest. The winners: Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania, franchisees Mario and Brenda Leone and Tom Ely, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, franchisee Stuart Kirby. Each received a $5,000 check.


The Extreme Makeover Contest is part of Bruster’s revitalization plan, introduced in May at the National Restaurant Association Show. Developed to grow sales and recruit franchisees, the strategy includes a new “four-seasons sales” approach with innovative new products, a new building design, and the introduction of “treat theater” exhibition-style service.


The contest served as an incentive for current operators to remodel their shops. The winners were chosen after making upgrades that included new landscaping, tables, benches, umbrellas, outdoor music, signage, paint, parking lot improvements, and the addition of fun customer activities like the bean toss, hula hooping, chalk drawing, horseshoe tosses, and others. The Hopewell restaurant now features a stunning patio garden, complete with waterfall. The Bowling Green shop’s appeal has been enhanced with the addition of an eye-catching hotrod pickup truck featuring the Bruster’s logo.


Rounding out the top five finalists are restaurants in Knoxville, Tennessee, Greenville, South Carolina, and Middletown, Delaware.


Bruster’s, which turns 25 next year, has revamped its business and franchise model. The new model includes frozen “pump style” yogurt and fresh smoothies. It also has developed a new prototype, which represents a significant savings from a free-standing model, the only option previously offered by the brand.


Bruster’s was one of the early premium treat players, and consumers continue to love our ice cream and other specialties,” says chief executive Jim Sahene. “The level of enthusiasm and excitement our franchisees showed in this contest demonstrates their commitment to reshaping Bruster’s and preparing it for the next 25 years.”


According to Sahene, the participating franchisees’ improvements will help to keep their shops true community gathering spots. “Virtually all of our restaurants are locally owned and operated, and this contest showed just how much pride these franchisees take in their businesses.”

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