GAYLORD, Mich. (FNS) -- The addition of a full-service Dairy Queen in a remodeled Glen's Markets store has made the independent's flagship store here a social destination for the entire countryside.
"The DQ has served as a magnet -- it brings people in and then they see what we offer inside," said Glen Catt, owner of Glen's Markets.
Added about a year ago in the chain's hometown, the Dairy Queen -- franchised to the supermarket -- already makes up 4% of total store sales. "We felt that having Dairy Queen would help create that psychology that supermarkets are a place to get ready-to-eat food," Catt said, adding that the operation broke black the past two periods.
Catt figured the Gaylord store was a perfect location for a DQ, because of its proximity to the local high school and the fact the nearest DQ was more than 20 miles away. "We get a line at DQ whenever there's a sports event or a play or something down at the school," Catt said. DQ's highest traffic is 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, serving students and movie-goers from the nearby theater.
The decision to add the franchise was made as the store underwent a major remodeling, worth $3.5 million, to become the area supermarket leader in food service. As part of the update, the store moved all its fresh departments to the front, quadrupling the size of the deli and tripling the size of the bakery.
The DQ, and a food court and coffee bar added during the remodel, now make up to 10% of store sales, according to Catt.
The food courts offer fresh meals for on-site consumption, or prepackaged for home. The menu includes lasagna; rotisserie pork, turkey and chicken; hand-tossed pizzas; sandwiches; a Caesar salad bar; and several side dishes. Glen's staff packages some of the meals made on-site at the store, and another retailer co-packs other meals at its own commissary, for delivery to Glen's.
In addition to the store's fresh-meals program, the DQ, which seats about 50, offers a menu that stretches through the lunch and dinner dayparts, into late evening. Chicken baskets, hot dogs, fish and a kid's meals package are on the menu, as are the chain's signature ice cream novelties. The average ticket for a value meal is $2.49, said Susan Roth, who manages the restaurant.
Recent successful DQ promotions included two hot dogs for $1, advertised in the high school newspaper. "Between the drive-up window and the sit-down, we've done phenomenally," Catt said. Its best seller, however, is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard, in keeping with the chain's most popular item.