Sunday, June 17, 2018
News Roundup

Q&A with Dairy Queen CEO John Gainor

ST. PETERSBURG — John Gainor, CEO of Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen, visited All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine on Thursday to publicize the company's Miracle Treat Day, when it gives $1 of every Blizzard sold to a hospital in the Children's Miracle Network. Last year the company, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, raised $37,500 for All Children's. It has donated a total of $455,000 in 30 years.

Gainor, who has a house in St. Pete Beach, sat down with the Tampa Bay Times.

Warren Buffett recently made headlines when he ordered a Blizzard while dining at the Four Seasons in New York. Did this spike sales?

Unfortunately, when Warren was in New York, we had not yet opened our first store in Manhattan. It would be good to say we saw a spike after, but I'm not sure. Warren is definitely our biggest fan.

What's his favorite treat?

At the annual meeting every year, he comes in and gets a Vanilla Orange Bar.

Did you expect the headlines you garnered in May when you said that raising the minimum wage isn't a completely negative concept?

The key in our business is great employees. We have to make sure we have well-trained people in our stores. Operators spend a lot of time hiring their employees, so we want to make sure it's a desirable place for people to want to work.

(Brooksville DQ franchisee Dan Byrne said most employees with a year's tenure at his store make about $10 an hour.)

What's the sales split between desserts and meals?

It's probably about 55 (percent) to 45 (percent) treat versus food. It varies by regions. Some locations sell more food than treats.

As the frozen yogurt craze continues, have you thought of bringing back a yogurt concoction like the Breeze you served in the '90s?

The Blizzard brand (generates) $900 million in sales a year. We are really focused on our great soft serve. Our soft serve is reduced fat.

Are you opening any stores in this area soon?

The greater Tampa Bay area is a target market and is an area we have focused on for development over the next several years. (DQ has more than two dozen locations in the bay area.)

Why don't employees hand over Blizzards upside down these days like they used to, to show how thick they are?

In 26 out the 27 countries we are in, we turn the Blizzards upside down. We are now trying to promote to every operator to get employees to turn the Blizzards upside down because it creates a unique experience nobody else can do. We are a franchised system. These are not company restaurants. We are trying to work with our operators to do things that will drive that tradition.

Is there a Blizzard flavor that just flopped?

The Puckerberry (a mix of sour raspberry sherbet mixed with vanilla). Oh, geez.

The No. 1 Blizzard around the world is Oreo. The No. 1 Blizzard in Asia is green tea. We customize flavors to go into various countries. We have an amazing research and development staff in Minneapolis, and they may work years to develop a flavor and get it right. Or they can get it in a few months. We get to sample them all.

Comments
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., June 17, midday:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxSun., June 17, evening:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxFantasy 5Sunday...
Updated: 12 hours ago
They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

RIVERVIEW — It was the most routine of errands, shopping for a cooler and some shorts.Joel Jaca and Arelys Gomez, both 40, had turned an important corner, miles away from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.They had finally gotten out of their relief hotel...
Published: 06/16/18
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18

Published: 06/16/18
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Published: 06/16/18
Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

ST. PETERSBURG — At his installation as spiritual leader of Tampa Bay’s Catholics, Bishop Gregory Parkes promised to take time to get to know his people, listen to what they had to say and work to discern a plan for the future.On Sunday, 17 months la...
Published: 06/16/18
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

For the second time in barely more than a year, an Indonesian villager has been swallowed whole by a python.Wa Tiba, 54, left her home on Muna island to visit her cornfield on Thursday night, according to the Jakarta Post.The field was about a half m...
Published: 06/16/18