Delicious! The Collegiate Farm Bureau welcomed Jessie Kreke as the guest speaker at the February meeting. Those who were lucky enough to attend left with a coupon for free custard.
Jessie Kreke is the senior marketing manager supporting Culver’s franchise restaurants. Jessie has been with Culver’s since 2011, she started managing digital media such as the website and mobile app. She has a background in agriculture and grew up on a farm. “Claim to fame, I was a high school rodeo queen,” said Jessie. She currently has a small farm with two horses. Jessie currently works with Culver’s “Thank You Farmers” project.
The “Thank You Farmers” project was debuted in 2013. The Culver’s brand essences was refreshed in 2017, but the story and values are still the same. Jessie showed a brief video highlighting the Culver’s story. “Small town values are why we support America’s farm families,” the narrator in the video said, “Small town values are what make Culver’s what it is today, a family restaurant.” The “Thank You Farmers” project has raised over $1.75 million for FFA and other agriculture-related organizations. Culver’s also works to spread awareness of agriculture through their iconic blue barns and wearable merchandise.
In addition, Culver’s has updated their image of a farmer in coloring pages and other materials to provide a more accurate, truthful, and honest picture of agriculture. Culver’s has worked with over 33 corn mazes to increase recognition by growing or cutting corn fields into a Culver’s “Thank You Farmers” pattern. This will also be the third year Culver’s is working with agricultural influencers online for #FarmingFridays. Throughout the year on Fridays, agriculture influencers are highlighted on Culver’s social media pages.
Culver’s has a rigorous franchise training program. Potential restaurant owners work in a Culver’s for a week. After that, they spent 16 weeks at Butter Burger University that teaches every position in a restaurant from marketing to financials. It’s essential for potential owners to come to Sauk city, Wisconsin and experience the true culture of the Culver’s franchise.
Culver’s has 650 restaurants in 24 states. Last year Culver’s opened over 40 restaurants. “Being a restaurant in a small town, you really had to be able to please everyone from the grand-kids to the grandparents,” said Jessie. This has contributed to the variety of items on Culver’s menu.
It takes 6,000 head of cattle per week for Culver’s famous Butter Burgers and 44,000 pounds of chicken per day for other menu items. 1,200 cows are busy year round to produce butter fat for Culver’s famous custard. Culver’s has relationships with suppliers that span more than 30 years.
It takes 6,000 head of cattle per week for Culver’s famous Butter Burgers
Just like the Collegiate Farm Bureau, Culver’s is an advocate for agriculture. “What really gets my blood going is hearing the myths about what people think happens on a farm versus what actually happens on a farm,” said Jessie. There are lots of examples of fearful information on social media about agriculture. Because of this, Culver’s considers agricultural education critical for consumers. “Farmers are seen as credible sources,” said Jessie, “they need to be able to tell their story as well.” Jessie emphasized the importance of connecting to consumers through emotion.
Jessie ended the talk thanking the farmers and the customers at every Culver’s restaurant.