K&N Management, owner of the Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q Austin franchise and the creator of Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes, today became the first restaurant group to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE).

To celebrate receiving the state’s highest recognition for quality, Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes will have in-store celebrations and offer free “champagne” hand-dipped shakes made with peak-of-season champagne mangoes, with no alcohol, at all three locations beginning Tuesday, March 30–Friday, April 2, from 5-8 p.m.

Recognizing the highest level of quality, the TAPE award is an annual recognition of Texas organizations that excel in performance and the application of quality and customer service principles. The award is given to role model organizations that demonstrate exceptional performance in all areas of management including leadership, customer service, work force focus, process management, data analysis, business results, and strategic planning.

“This recognition is extremely important to K&N Management because it affirms our 10-year journey towards achieving a world-class level of excellence,” says Ken Schiller, co-owner of K&N Management. “Being regarded as the first restaurant group to receive the TAPE award is the highlight of my professional career. It is a testament to the quality of individuals that make up our organization.”

The nonprofit Quality Texas Foundation, which administers the TAPE award, was founded in 1993 by the Texas Governor’s Office and was originated by Governor Ann Richards to encourage and recognize excellence using a “Baldrige-based methodology” for organizations to achieve and sustain world-class performance. Applying the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria in order to apply for the TAPE award is a rigorous process that begins with a 50-page application submitted by K&N Management. Then, a team of eight certified examiners conducted a comprehensive site visit, spending four days verifying every aspect of the application and assessed K&N’s quality approach and processes. Assessment, feedback, education, training and recognition are components of the comprehensive criteria.

“Receiving the Texas Award for Performance Excellence is tremendous validation and we are extremely honored,” Schiller says. “The actual process of applying for the award gave us the opportunity to fine tune every aspect of our operation.”

Only 35 companies have received the TAPE award since its inception. Prior to K&N Management receiving this award, most award winners have typically been in the health, education, and industry sectors. Past recipients include Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine, Northwest Vista College, Dell Computer Corporation, and John Deere Company, Dallas. Many recipients of the TAPE award go on to win the coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Texas has more Baldrige winners than any other state.

According to Schiller, K&N Management’s journey in excellence doesn’t end with achieving the 2010 TAPE award; rather, it further accelerates the company’s passion for applying the Baldrige criteria. As part of continuing excellence, TAPE award recipients are given the opportunity to share their best practice performance processes with other organizations that are looking to apply the Baldrige criteria in order to seek a higher level of quality and operational excellence.

K&N Management will formally accept the 2010 TAPE award during the 17th Annual Quality Texas Awards and Quest for Excellence Conference, June 7–8, 2010, in Rockwall, Texas.