NAME: DAVID LIPE
Job: Owner, DQ Grill & Chill at 1776 Lebanon Ave. in Belleville (277-9983) and 302 E. U.S. 50 in O'Fallon (632-1600)
Outlook: "It's not your mom and dad's Dairy Queen."
David Lipe has recently renovated two metro-east area Dairy Queens and owns a third DQ across the river in O'Fallon, Mo. But he said he wants to do more than serve quality food and ice cream. The Fairview Heights native said he is also focused on being a good servant to the community. He recently sat down with business writer Will Buss to talk about his new businesses:
What did you do with the renovated restaurants?
"The Grill & Chill format has been around for about 10 to 12 years with Dairy Queen, and I wanted to bring that concept and modernize the Dairy Queen. As I always tell people, it's not your mom and dad's Dairy Queen."
"We offer more food items and we expanded the chicken strip line a little bit. I see most folks, especially in this general area, I've been with DQ for almost 10 years and I think for this particular store we're selling a lot of food and getting a lot of compliments. People are actually thanking us about how nice the store looks. And really we just wanted to create a whole new environment and different experience, a family experience. You can see with our interior, we just wanted to set the bar a little higher."
What else do you think will separate your renovated restaurants from others?
"I think our service and our cleanliness. We will also be very involved in the community."
How will you get involved with the community?
"With school fundraisers and churches, anything we can try to do to provide services to folks, we are going to do it."
How did you get involved with Dairy Queen?
"I've been with DQ almost 10 years. My first DQ Grill & Chill is in O'Fallon, Mo., but I'm from this area and I live in O'Fallon, Ill. These franchises here were taken, but when they became available, I tried to jump on them and that's basically what got me here. It wasn't the kind of Dairy Queen that I was used to and I really wanted to change that. I thought there was a great opportunity here and Belleville, I thought, was a great opportunity and I thought that it was really under developed and it was really bad, to be honest with you. I thought this corner in Belleville and this whole area in the community wasn't how I would run a Dairy Queen and we're making it how I would run it."
What is your background before Dairy Queen?
"I've just been in business my whole life. It's just what I did. I decided not to finish college and I started working. I worked for Amoco for a long time and was in the convenience store business for a long time. I wanted to do something a little more family oriented and I fell in love with the Grill & Chill concept. This concept is awesome."
"It's just awesome. The concept is just different. We have Orange Julius now. We also offer more food items, more grilled burger items, more things like quesadillas. It's not a lengthy menu, but it's a little nicer."
What else do you want local consumers to know about your businesses?
"I just want to stress that it's new ownership and we're here to be involved, we're here to make a change. I think you're going to find us to be very friendly and courteous and be very involved with the community. We're just here to run a really great Dairy Queen. That's really what it comes down to."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.