If you have ever been to the Dairy Keen, and most of Utah has, you can tell by the crowd that it’s one of the most popular burger, fries and shakes destinations in Heber Valley.
What it takes to serve that many people is nothing short of staggering. In a single day they can go through 20 gallons, yes that’s gallons, of fry sauce, 5 gallons of their homemade ranch, over a weekend they can go through 325 gallons of soft serve ice cream, and through the course of a year serve nearly 2 million people.
And the Mawhinny family, and the employees they hire, love it.
The Dairy Keen opened its doors in June of 1968. Back then things were different, shakes were thin, food portions were smaller and the restaurant was a window walkup. According to Jan Mawhinney Oplin, one of the current owners and managers, from that very first day they knew they had something special.
As the popularity of Dairy Keen grew, the family had to make changes and expansions. The original building was expanded on 13 times. In 1998, the family decided to construct their current location and since then they have added on an additional 4 times.
The Dairy Keen Success isn’t something that hasn’t come without a lot of hard working employees. Currently, Olpin employs about 110 people and is the first to recognize their loyalty and hard work that has made them popular.
“They are working very hard for us, and working very hard to make sure the guest experience is a good one so we want to reward that, without our employees we’d have no business,” said Olpin.
One of the ways they reward their employees is to be one of the higher paying employers and pay bonuses during the busiest times. It’s this type of care that has kept some of the employees around for over 20 years.
Still a family owned restaurant, the Mawhinney’s are eager to serve and give back to the community. Programs such as “Teachers at the Train” help raise money for local elementary schools. Last year alone this program raised $14,000 to go back to the schools.
“Our community is such an amazing place. We want to keep it a safe and wonderful place,” said Olpin.
The Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the Dairy Keen for all the continue to do to support the valley as the August Business of the Month.