Were There Once More Val’s Rapid Service Restaurants in St. Cloud?
Were there more Val's Rapid Service Restaurants in St. Cloud or in the area at one time? The question comes up because there was a statement on a website that said that Val's is the last of a regional franchise.
The website is referring to a story we did earlier saying that Val's Rapid Service is an odd roadside attraction in Minnesota. (it's not odd, by the way). But the website, which is atlasobscura, made this statement:
This lone survivor of a regional franchise still slings delicious burgers and colossal servings of fries.
Well, that brought up the question... where were the other Val's restaurants? I did a little research to find the answer. What I found was that there weren't necessarily more "Val's" restaurants, what there were was other "rapid service" restaurants.
The official name Val's Rapid Serv was an attempt by area independent drive-in owners to organize a no cost regional franchise. The limited menus offered by the Rapid Serv restaurants gave them an instant identity and increased their purchasing power to compete with the other regional franchise restaurants. (Sandy's, Henry's, McCarthy's) When the national franchise chains began to expand the loosely formed regional franchise units fell apart and soon closed. (McDonalds, Burger King, Hardees) Many Rapid Serv restaurants were located in central Minnesota but Val's Rapid Serv is the only known survivor. Today the St. Cloud landmark is simply called "Val's".
It wasn't very hard to find this answer. It's right on the Val's website - about Val's. You can get all of the history of the restaurant, which is really interesting. So I'm glad that people were asking the question, because I also wanted to know, and now we all know. I'm glad it's still around, as a lof of people in the St. Cloud area are. It's an iconic and historic restaurant with the same menu that they have had for years. You can always count on that, and lots of fries!
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