|Monday, January 14
Updated: January 15, 5:42 PM ET
Another blizzard of publicity for Dairy Queen
By Darren Rovell
Mark Cuban won't get fined for a broken promise.
The Dallas Mavericks owner was fined $500,000 last Tuesday by the NBA for his criticism of game officiating, saying Ed Rush, the league's director of officials, "might have been a great ref, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen." Dairy Queen thanked Cuban for the blizzard of publicity, then challenged him to dish up DQ desserts at an area restaurant for a day.
Cuban will arrive at 10 a.m. for a quick, crash-course training session before taking orders for fast food and frozen treats during the store's lunch-time crunch. "He says he's a quick learner," said Dean Peters, director of communications for International Dairy Queen.
While the 15 employees of the store will be wearing Dallas Mavericks shirts and hats, Cuban will be wearing a Dairy Queen shirt with the name "Tony" embroidered on it, Peters said. Cuban said having the name on the uniform would be funny, so Peters ordered the shirt for him on Monday.
"I don't have time to respond" for comment, Cuban wrote in a late-night e-mail Tuesday morning, "I'm pulling an all-nighter reading the employee manual."
The NBA's maverick owner might realize that managing a Dairy Queen is harder than he thinks, said Parrish Chapman, owner of the Coppell Dairy Queen and a Dallas Mavericks fan who offered up his shop when he heard Cuban accepted the challenge.
"The hardest place for him to work would be the drive-thru," Chapman said. "You have to take the order, place it, make it and give the customer change. He's going to have to be good at multi-tasking."
"And sometimes it takes three months to make our trademark curly top on top of the cone," Chapman said. "We've had employees quit over that."
Chapman said Cuban, who reportedly is worth some $1.8 billion, could be paid $8 an hour, the average pay for employees at the Coppell restaurant. But Chapman warns that Cuban should eat a big breakfast before coming to the work on Wednesday. Chapman doesn't permit his employees to "graze" on products while serving customers.
Cuban said he is a fan of the "Blizzard," DQ's milkshake-type frozen treat with toppings. Chapman said he plans to come up with special Mark Cuban menu items before his arrival.
To capitalize from the media blitz, Chapman said he will have a 150-foot-tall climbing wall, an 18-foot inflatable Dairy Queen cone and is trying to book "Curly Top," the restaurant chain's mascot.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com