Many people in Billings think it would be great to get an In-n-Out Burger, a Smashburger, or a What-a-Burger. Don't even get me started on the Chick-fil-A we're allegedly getting at some point in the next century. I stopped holding my breath on that one a long time ago.

If you talk to residents who are originally from the Midwest (and there are many in Montana), they'll often tell you how much they wish Billings would get a Culver's restaurant franchise. Our editor Rachel is from Wisconsin (you betchya) and she raves about the burger chain.

Culver's supports agriculture.

The company is a big supporter of local agriculture in the United States. A 2021 story in National Restaurant News reported that Culver's has donated over $3.5 million to ag-centric organizations like FFA as part of their Thank You Farmers campaign.

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Credit: Culver Franchising System, LLC
Credit: Culver Franchising System, LLC
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The chain was founded in Wisconsin in 1984.

According to their story page, husband and wife Craig and Lee Culver, along with his parents, founded the first location in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984. They now have over 700 locations across the US (the nearest locations to Billings are Spearfish, SD, Williston, ND, or Cheyenne, WY).

The rapidly expanding chain has received a number of accolades. An Insider foodie called their signature ButterBurger the best burger he's ever had and they won top honors for their frozen custard. Apparently, Mitt Romney is also a fan (as seen in the file photo below) stopping by a Culver's in Utah for a campaign stop a few years ago.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Campaigns In Wisconsin
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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Here's what it takes to open a Culver's in Billings.

I searched their "coming soon" function on their website and unfortunately didn't see any results in Montana. However, we are listed as "future markets" on their franchise availability map.  If you want to open one, here are some rough ideas of what it will cost to get started.

  • $55,000 individual franchise fee for a basic, 15-year agreement.
  • A minimum of $500,000 in liquid assets to qualify for ownership of a Culver's franchise
  • A minimum of $750,000 in liquid assets if you choose to own the real estate, building, and equipment
  • Owners are required to work full-time, on-site at the restaurant.

These are minimums and are probably on par with other franchise opportunities. I'm sure costs can vary dramatically depending on location. You can find out more about opening a Culver's franchise HERE. I've had their food and I'll vouch that it's quite tasty. Do you think they'll ever come to Montana?

KEEP READING: 13 Businesses That Should Open a Location in Billings

It's not news anymore that Billings is a great place to start a business. Just look at the new businesses that have popped up in the last two years, and businesses are continuing to start or expand here. Even though just about any business would be great to have in our community, there are a few that we think Billings could use.

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