Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Danny Ehle of Culver’s Berwyn
Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!
Hometown: Lyons, IL
Current Residence: Berwyn, IL
All About Danny: Born and raised in Lyons and Berwyn (my Grandma raised my Uncle and Father in Berwyn), I spent my summers in both towns and attended BPRC as a child. I am currently the 3rd generation in my home in Berwyn and raising my daughter Ella as a 4th generation Berwynner! I attended Robinson School, George Washington Middle School, and Graduated from Morton West High School with class of ’04. After that I went on to Serve in the U.S. Navy from ’05-’08 as a Boatswain’s Mate with a 7 ½ month tour to the Middle East.
Once out, I decided to pursue my passion in Culinary Arts and went to Robert Morris University to complete my Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with minor of Culinary Arts. I then continued my education and went into my Bachelor’s program for a Major in Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality. Through my Bachelor’s program, I was able to participate in a 10 week study abroad program in Florence, Italy, where I was certified in Italian Regional Cuisine; I also completed an internship at a local restaurant. Afterwards, I took 5 years off of school and focused on my newly born beautiful daughter Ella! I decided I was feeling stagnant with expanding my knowledge and decided to go back to Robert Morris University to complete my M.B.A. which I did on April 22, 2017.
Some of my hobbies include spending time with my daughter, working out, reading (Lee Child is my favorite author), and cooking for family and friends.
The Business Side: On July 18, 1984, the first Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurger restaurant opened for business in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Craig ran the restaurant, remembering one of his dad’s many sayings: “Don’t mess with the quality.” Through this wisdom, guidance, coaching and teaching, the business started to thrive. As with any new business there were some successes and learning opportunities along the way. In 1990 the rights to a Baraboo, Wisconsin, restaurant were drafted and sold. The first successful franchised restaurant opened in December 1990. In the years that followed, a speckling of new restaurants opened throughout Wisconsin and then expanded beyond the state line.
In an effort to support the growing restaurant chain, Culver Franchising System, Inc. (CFSI) was created. The goal of CFSI is to ensure that franchise growth coincides with proper training, education, and personal and professional growth. In 1999, CFSI opened offices and a Learning Center in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, just a mile or so from the original restaurant. In 2009, CFSI opened a new 47,000-square-foot support facility in Prairie du Sac. Culver’s strategic growth plan includes restaurants from the Midwest south to Texas, west to Arizona and Utah, and east to South Carolina and Florida. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Culver’s is the largest frozen custard chain in the United States.
Culver’s is proud to call Sauk City home. This is a place connected to the farms that produce the dairy and grow the food that has made Culver’s a family favorite nationwide.
My own Culver’s journey started with Guy Hollis, a Chicagoland-area franchisee, in 2009. Our journey began with the opening of Guy’s second location in Lyons in 2009. When I first met him he complimented my hat and I responded “I wanted to own a Culver’s.” It was business partnership at first sight! I worked my way through the ranks and showed him I meant business. He helped me through the Mentor to Ownership process and I went from Fryers to Franchisee and was an approved Franchisee by Culver’s in 2013.
Describe yourself using 3 words and explain why you chose those words.
Ambitious: I believe that I am an ambitious individual because I know that one can always strive to be just a little bit better than they were yesterday. I strive to do so every day.
Detail-Oriented: The military taught me attention to detail and now I would consider myself to be extremely meticulous. Not only that, but in serving food and operating a restaurant, one has to understand that this is a world of many, many, many, small details and that every one of them is just as important as the other.
Impactful: I always try to teach what has been taught to me so that others can grow to be successful. We teach life skills at Culver’s so that individuals can be successful in their life journey. Whether it is with Culver’s or on another path, we take pride in setting them up on the right direction.
What inspires you?
People and helping make their day with a smile inspires me 🙂
Tell us something that people might not know about you.
I talk in my sleep, a lot!
What is your fondest memory?
I remember when my mother asked me, “Danny, how do you make all of your dreams come true?” This was after I finished my degree and advanced with Culver’s. I replied “I wake up and I get to working on them!” I hold that close to heart and remember the conversation every morning after a great night of sleep.
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about making people smile and I found I can do that through my passion for food. There is nothing better than walking out of the kitchen, whether at home or work, and see a dining room full of smiling satisfied guests!
What is the meaning of your name?
The name Daniel comes from the Hebrew word “daniy’el” which translates to “God is my judge.”