Franchisee Pays Employees $144K Out of Pocket After Fire Destroys Restaurant

2 min read

When a fire burned down a Culver's Restaurant in Platteville, Wis., last November, employees assumed they'd be out of work. Instead, their boss came to the rescue.

Bruce Kroll, who has owned the restaurant for 19 years, continued to pay his 40 employees out of pocket while the restaurant was being rebuilt, reports local station WISC-TV in Madison, Wis. While his insurance paid for the first 60 days of employees' payroll, Kroll ponied up almost $144,000 of his own money over the remaining four months.

Kroll says that paying employees was not only the right thing to do, but a wise business move. It seems to have paid off in employee loyalty: one employee reports he's planning on working at the restaurant for another five years purely because of the owner.

Related: Massachusetts Hikes Minimum Wage to $11

While Culver's was closed, Kroll asked employees to volunteer their time to help the community. Employees served Christmas dinner at an area church, volunteered at camp and held a fundraiser in honor of the local fire department, according to the report.

For Kroll, who also owns a Culver's in Dubuque, Iowa, business is all about the people involved. And his business is whole again: exactly six months after the fire, the restaurant reopened on June 16. Despite briefly closing again after a near miss with tornado the next day, Kroll and his loyal employees are here to stay, and serve as a reminder of what really matters.

Related: Franchise Players: From Making Minimum Wage to Running the Show as a CiCi's Pizza Franchisee

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources
Make sure you’re covered if an employee gets injured at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business
Use code CAREER2021 through 4/17/21 to save on our collection of recommended career books, including:
  • Career Rehab
  • Entrepreneur Voices on Careers
  • The New Employee Manual
  • And more

Latest on Entrepreneur