A new TV ad campaign by regional burger chain Pal’s Sudden Service celebrates its focus on consumer satisfaction. The campaign celebrates the chain’s national leadership in both the speed of its drive-thru service and its accuracy in fulfilling every customer’s order.
Pal's Sudden Service
What do Dr. Dre’s Beats audio products company and an Oregon doughnut brand have in common with Pal’s Sudden Service, a regional burger concept? They are on the list of Inc. magazine’s “25 Most Audacious Companies.”
The list defines the companies as “bold, courageous, and even heroic. They see a better way to do something and work to make it happen, fearlessly committed to not only making their vision a reality but also spreading that vision.”
The best drive thrus run like machines. Simple goals are met over and over: Orders go out quickly, the food is delivered fresh, and the right orders get to the right cars. But in the drive thru, pressure can run high and the smallest mistakes can prove catastrophic, backing up lines and spelling disaster for both customers and the restaurant’s bottom line.
One of Canada's fastest-growing quick-service restaurant chains, with more than 700 restaurants, has significantly reduced its drive-thru service times by 33 percent using what was learned at Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (BEI).
As a result, A&W Canada has increased drive-thru sales by approximately $45 million dollars over the past few years since implementing procedures learned at Pal’s BEI.
On a recent visit to shop his competition, operator Thom Crosby saw disappointment after disappointment in the drive thru. Bad customer service while placing and paying for his order, poorly dressed employees, and backed-up cars plagued operation after operation.
But to Crosby, the experience was more than just a bad lunch. It epitomized all that can go wrong with a broken drive thru.
Now that social media has become a ubiquitous part of society, a simple click of a button from an unhappy customer can tarnish the reputation of any business.
The same is just as true for a displeased or untrustworthy employee. As such, ensuring employee satisfaction, security, and training has never been more important.
Gaining insight into what makes their competitors tick can give quick-serve executives valuable strategic advantages. But while sharing competitive information might seem counterintuitive to the industry’s top CEOs, some companies have found that throwing open their doors and inviting rivals in can have its benefits.
A Tennessee-based burger brand has been doing this for more than a decade. Pal’s Sudden Service introduced its Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (BEI) in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 2000 after it won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Most businessmen study the leaders of their industry to gather tips on growth strategies. But many national quick-service chains are seeking advice from a regional burger chain populating rural towns in East Tennessee.
And the advice they’re getting seems to be working.
Pal’s Sudden Service has become something of a legend in the quick-serve arena, and for the last decade has shared its strategies with nonprofit organizations and businesses—including other quick serves—through its Pal’s Business Excellence Institute.
Thick, crispy bacon is the latest addition to the menu of world famous Pal’s Sudden Service. The move is the first menu addition since Pal’s launched its Apple Fritter dessert in 2010.
“We are very selective in adding new items to the menu,” says Thom Crosby, Pal’s president and CEO. “We are confident that our bacon is a cut above the competition in flavor and crispy goodness.”
As the credit crisis continues to hound franchisors looking to expand their brand in a sea of potential franchisees, one burger chain is using a no-money-down alternative to expansion.
“We don’t sell franchises,” says Thom Crosby, CEO of Pal’s Sudden Service. “We make all the capital investments and take the right leaders and place them in business for themselves, but not by themselves. All they need is a desire and the skills to run a world-class operation.”