It is with heavy hearts we share the news that our president and CEO, Phil Keiser, has died. The Culver’s community is devastated. We hurt most deeply for those closest to him—his wife Betsy, his children Nate, Nick and Kelsey and his grandchildren.

Phil’s family extends far beyond those who call him husband, father and grandpa. Having worked for Culver’s for 20 years, he was the leader of 580 Culver’s locations in 24 states, with over 20,000 team members. He has touched each of us with his determination to do the right thing, his calm hustle and his encouragement to get it done.


For every restaurant you helped reach their best
For every team member you treated like family
For every farmer you championed tirelessly
And for every guest you made sure left happy
Thank you, Phil…for everything

– Your Culver’s Family



Phil touched so many lives.

From: Renee Zimmerman

Phil, you made people around you better people, both at and away from work. Your leadership has left its fingerprints all over our brand.

I met Phil in 1999 when he interviewed me for a job with Culver's. Phil was a GREAT leader, mentor, coach and friend. The October 2015 QSR magazine featured an article about Phil. This statement from the article leaves a lasting impression with me. "The ability to serve a guest or be of service to others you're working with is something I really enjoy and can't imagine doing anything else." Thank you Phil. You are missed.
From: Dave O'Brien

Phil, you made people around you better people, both at and away from work. Your leadership has left its fingerprints all over our brand.

I’ll never forget my interview with you almost 12 years ago now. We discussed why I was looking for a new career. You told me if I were to join the team, I would find myself a part of a family, something larger than one person, and I would see the results and successes of our work not just in new buildings, but more importantly, in people. You said your door was always open, and it always was. We also discussed what your best days at Culver’s looked like, and also the days that missed that mark. Since joining the team, I can say I’ve had my share of best days at Culver’s since joining the team. And unfortunately, with your passing, I now know what my worst day at Culver’s looks like.

You practiced what you preached with not only your own local community involvement, but also by encouraging us to spread our wings and be involved locally. But perhaps what I am going to miss the most will be the many times you took a break from “shop talk” to hear what was going on in my world. Some of your favorite topics seemed to be family, community, and even discussing tractors. You always listened. Somehow you had the knack for making a connection with everyone you met.

So long, my friend. You are missed.
From: Quinn Adkins

Teacher. Mentor. Role Model. Philosopher.
Philanthropist. Agrarian. Champion. Activist.
Husband. Father. Grandfather. Friend.
Leader.

You challenged and inspired us daily to be our very best, to cherish and defend the core values that set us apart, and to embrace the spirit of hospitality that you lived and breathed.
You will continue to be a guiding presence, the ‘moral compass’ constantly reminding us of our singular goal: Every guest who chooses Culver’s leaves happy.
Thank you for your wisdom, your humor, your insight and foresight, and the reminder that every person has worth.
You will be missed.
From: Tom Goldsmith

Phil, first. I am, as probably all Culver’s team members are, somewhat hesitant to put pen to paper for you, knowing that as you read our thoughts you are reaching for your red pen to make numerous edits. I hope that your English teachers know how well you learned under their tutelage.

Here goes. You welcomed Lisa and me into the Culver family some 14 years ago. Little did I realize at the time what a fortunate event it was for us and our family. The way you lived life, balancing your love and devotion to your family and Culver’s and numerous other interests will be an ongoing inspiration to us all. You could always quickly and sensibly cut through the untidy situations that occasionally occur during the development process. Your relentless focus on the “Main Thing” and keeping all of us close to the restaurants and team members is why a part of your legacy will be having led the #1 Franchise as evaluated by Forbes magazine. That’s not too shabby when that #1 ranking could have been awarded to one of the other 3,000 franchises that were available for consideration. You made sure we always remembered the bond of trust that we had established with our franchisees and the investments they had made to build their businesses. Your leadership and success in this regard is evidenced by our franchisees twice ranking us #1 when compared to other food franchisees surveyed by Franchise Business Review. You have left us in an extremely strong position and will be lovingly remembered forever. God bless you and your family.
From: Steve AndersonPhil Keiser was a great business man and a truly "good" person. He was a rare breed of a leader of a company who never lost sight of what is important in life. He could be tough when had to be, yet he was always reasonable and he had one of the biggest hearts of anyone who I have ever met. He related well to and was respected by everyone from CEOs to the cleaning crew. Through hard work and dedication Phil achieved remarkable accomplishments in his career, yet he never forgot his roots and he never developed an ego. And Phil was always so very proud of his family and it showed. Phil was one of a kind and I feel very fortunate that he was a part of my life. I miss you Phil.
From: Michelle Messner

Thanks for sharing this beautiful and touching tribute. My heart has been so heavy with sadness since the phone call that I received from Dale yesterday to let me know that Phil was no longer with us. Phil’s family is in my thoughts and prayers and pray that God’s insurmountable love, comfort, and mercy is upon them in their time of grief. I really am at a loss for words. Please share my condolences with Betsy, Nate and Phil’s entire family.

Having the esteemed privilege and pleasure of working under Phil’s leadership for little under 5 years, I can tell you that Phil had a way of making me feel as if I had known him for years, like I was family, and I will remember him very fondly.

With heartfelt sympathy,

Michelle


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