MANATEE -- The Culver's restaurant at Cortez Road and 37th Street West will open to the public for the first time at 10 a.m. on June 29.
Franchisee Jim Rhodes said all has gone according to plan to prepare for the opening. The location is finished with its initial hiring of 77 employees. The week before opening will be spent training employees.
The location will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Seating is available as well as a drive-thru.
A grand opening celebration is planned for July 15, when co-founder of the restaurant chain Craig Culver will be present. Guests to Culver's on Cortez can expect to catch Culver if they arrive close to 10 a.m., Rhodes said.
Culver used to be the CEO of Culver's, but retired and handed the company over to Phil Keiser on June 15. Keiser was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Culver's.
Grand opening deals will include reduced prices on food and a raffle for a gift basket with Culver's mer
chandise, such as coffee mugs and coolers.
Rhodes wouldn't disclose the cost of his Cortez Road restaurant, but said it was between $1 million and $2 million.
According to the International Franchising Association, the number of franchise quick-service restaurant establishments such as Culver's increased by 1.5 percent compared with last year, and employment in the industry grew by 3.2 percent.
Rhodes said franchising is growing quickly because it's a gateway to the American Dream.
"I think it makes people's possibility of living the American dream actually achievable," Rhodes said. "I started when I was 16 working the grill and I made minimum wage at $6 an hour. I loved my job and I was good at it. The foundation is set for growth and opportunity."