Food service veteran takes reins at Fairmont Dairy Queen

Scott Vaubel, center, pictured with his sons Andrew, left, and Alex, right, is the new owner of the Fairmont Dairy Queen.

Scott Vaubel, the new owner of the Fairmont Dairy Queen, appreciates the patience of his customers.

Trying to fill a steady stream of orders is challenging by itself, but the task becomes more strenuous when staff is learning the quirks of newly installed equipment and working around new fixtures being installed.

“Right now, we’re starting fresh with everything — new equipment, new employees,” Vaubel said.

Updated indoor seating was installed this week. There will be a new grilling machine, counters and other fixtures. The new cash register system is still a month in the future, and much to Vaubel’s frustration, the replacement for the garbled drive-thru speaker is still about six weeks away.

Vaubel is a Dairy Queen veteran. He has owned the DQ Grill & Chill, a year round restaurant, in Sleepy Eye since 2007, but his experience in food service dates back to his teenage years.

His first job was as a member of a staff of 11 that prepared meals for funerals and weddings at a large Hennepin Avenue church in Minneapolis. After graduating from Edina High School, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout, planning to study for a career that would have kept him behind a desk. He quickly realized that such a job was not for him.

“I just could not handle sitting still,” he said.

While he was in college, Vaubel worked in the university’s food service, putting in so many hours he was required to join a union. When he returned to the Twin Cities area, he worked at various franchises, including Little Caesars, Domino’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, and spent summers as a food vendor at Valleyfair.

His last job in the metro area was at one of the original DQ franchises in the Twin Cities, across from the old Metrodome in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. While he was there, he heard the owner of a DQ store in Montevideo was going to retire and close.

Vaubel bought the Montevideo store and ran it until a Department of Transportation project required the store to be torn down. He then bought the Sleepy Eye DQ restaurant, a store he still owns.

Customers at the Fairmont location might not notice the new equipment, but they will enjoy an updated menu featuring an extensive number of items approved for Dairy Queen franchises. The menu includes the traditional soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, Blizzards and Peanut Buster Parfaits, and the new dipped Dreamsicle cone.

Barbecues are still available, but they are not made with ground beef.

“Barbecued pork sandwiches are what we offer,” Vaubel said.

Ice cream cakes remain a popular item, but Vaubel hopes to add a new concept by May 1. The Fairmont store will be able to add one of 11,000 trademark decorations available. These include sports logos from the NFL, NBA and MLB as well as other copyrighted brand names.

Vaubel also recommends that customers download the DQ app on their phones. It enables a customer to order ahead and pay online.

“Then just walk in, grab and go,” he said.

Special promotions and contests will be advertised on the store’s Facebook page, Fairmont Dairy Queen.

The Fairmont DQ is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The phone number remains the same, (507) 235-5005.