MONTAGUE — In 1953 the first Dog n Suds Drive Thru opened in Champaign, Ill, and at the height of the brand’s popularity there were over 650 restaurants. Now, there are only 13.
In Michigan there are only two Dog n Suds left, and Montague has one of them. The other Dog n Suds is in Muskegon.
Part of the Montague location’s success may come from the community, but another part of it may come from upgrades that have been made to the facility over the years.
“I think that we have a really good system in place, that has been perfected over a lot of years. We’ve made upgrades to our technology that has allowed us to innovate and keep up with other stores,” said co-owner Jason Jaekel.
Jason and his wife, Misty Jaekel took, over operations of the Dog n Suds in 2015. They took over the business operations from the previous owner David Hosticka who continues to manage the Muskegon location.
Misty Jaekel said at one point she had even worked for Hosticka.
“I worked for Dave for about 10 years, so I guess that relationship that we had previously allowed us to step in here because I knew Dave. I don’t know if we’d have been able to take over otherwise,” said Misty.
They both said that for some drive-thru owners, finding someone to take over can be difficult. This could be one reason why some go out of business.
The Jaekels believe Hosticka has played a huge role in their success, and he has helped to mentor the couple. Misty said Jason talks to Hosticka about once a week to touch base.
The Muskegon and Montague locations even offer similar types of food which isn’t necessary for Dog n Suds locations to do. Misty said that most locations have their own unique menus, but there are some items like root beer, coney dogs, and Texas burgers that are standard.
The Montague Dog n Suds is a seasonal restaurant. It is open from April to the end of October, and employs mostly high school students.
The Jaekels said they can have as many as 24,000 people come during their season.
What they love most about running the restaurant are the memories people make there.
“I think the best experiences for me is that you have a grandparent that comes and tells you that everything tastes the same as it did when they were a young teenager,” said Jason.
“People come back because it (Dog n Suds) is how they remember it,” added Misty.
For more information about the restaurant visit: http://dog-n-suds.com/montague/.