W’bago’s Flip-n-Shake now open
“You build it, we flip it.”
That is the company motto of Winnebago’s new fast food restaurant, Flip-n-Shake.
Tuesday, June 5, marked the first day of business for the establishment. According to restaurant owner, and Winnebago city councilman Scott Robertson, the local support for his new business has far exceeded expectations.
“I’m really humbled by all of the positive feedback we’ve received,” Robertson shares. “It has been tremendous so far.”
Being involved in the food service industry is nothing new for Robertson and his family. Back in 1965, Robertson’s father Jim, and mother Pat, now in her late 80s, owned and operated the Dairy Queen in Winnebago, which, ironically, was located in the same exact building as the current Flip-n-Shake. Robertson says his mother thought it would be wise for him to get back involved in the old family business.
“She was hesitant at first, but the more she got to thinking about it, within a week or so she thought it would be a good idea because I know how to do it, and it’s in my blood,” says the long-time Winnebago businessman.
The Robertsons held the family business for about 10 years before moving on to other opportunities. However, Robertson still recalls childhood memories from his parents’ Dairy Queen establishment. On many occasions, the future entrepreneur was required to work in the family restaurant while his friends enjoyed other pursuits such as sports.
“Back when I was nine years old, it was a walk-in restaurant,” Robertson says. “It was a real small shop and the menu was very limited. We had three sandwiches, a barbecue, a hot dog and a Polish sausage. I’ve actually still got the menu for it.”
Since Robertson’s parents sold their business in the 1970s, the area farmer and owner of Precision Concrete explains a host of other business owners have been unsuccessful in their plans to revamp the once promising site. As a result, Robertson, a Huntley native, believes Flip-n-Shake will provide a unique opportunity to help stimulate the local economy.
“What bothered me was that in the last four years, this building has been sitting here and floundering around. This place has had several owners and nobody could come in here and own this and run it,” Robertson says. “With the Dollar General next door, and being right off of Highway 169, I think this is a happening end of town. I went to First Financial Bank and met with (CEO) Bill Erickson and we came up with a plan to get this thing up and running again. Everybody at the bank has helped us 110 percent in this whole project.”
In addition to help from the local bank, Robertson also credits Royer’s Plumbing and Heating in Winnebago, and Ron’s Electric for their help in renovating the building.
Particularly, fellow Winnebago businessman Bob Weerts was instrumental in getting the fast food restaurant up and running as soon as possible.
“He had a whole building full of restaurant equipment like benches, and things you wouldn’t even think of, like a slushy machine,” Robertson says. “He just opened his doors and was willing to help us out. I owe Bob a lot of credit for that.”
Flip-n-Shake’s menu includes burgers, chicken sandwiches, shrimp dinners and chili cheese dogs, and is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. each day.
With a food service staff of about 12 employees, Flip-n-Shake has the help of business partner Donna Strehlo, who also serves as the lead cook at Maple River East Elementary. Meanwhile, shift manager Brent Yackley, 27, also has experience in the food service industry. Robertson believes his experienced staff will help to deliver superior customer service.
“I want to put out a good product, that’s our main goal. We want to be as fast as we can, while also providing good food at a reasonable price,” Robertson adds.
When coming up with a name for the new restaurant, Robertson received a plethora of suggestions. So how did the name “Flip-n-Shake” come about in the first place?
According to Robertson, fellow Winnebago city councilman Paul Eisenmenger came up with the moniker after a quick Google search in between recent council meetings.
“He just Googled new fast food restaurant names, and he found Flip-n-Shake,” Robertson laughs. “We can incorporate flips with different things on our menu, and it’s an easy thing to remember. Then I looked up different phone numbers for the business, and 893-FLIP was available, so we took it.”