Pal's Sudden Service: The Right Recipe

21 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017

See all articles by Elliott N. Weiss

Elliott N. Weiss

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Pal's Sudden Service, a fast-food chain based in the southeastern United States, was nearly 10 times as profitable as its competitors—bigger, even, than the major national and international chains, which commanded superior economies of scale. Pal's was also the only food-service business ever to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for process excellence. This case explores Pal's operations and "recipe" for success, the elements of which are categorized according to Pal's approach to the "Four Cs" of a Lean transformation: customer service, process capability, controlling its processes, and coordinating the results over time as part of a long-term strategy.

Excerpt

UVA-OM-1506

Dec. 9, 2013

PAL'S SUDDEN SERVICE: THE RIGHT RECIPE

Pal Barger's father and mother had been in the restaurant business. So when he was discharged from the air force in December 1953, it was natural for him to lease the Virginia House in Marion, Virginia. In 1956, Barger sold his interest in the Virginia House for $ 10,000. Using that capital and a $ 10,000 loan, he leased lan (which he later purchased) and built the first Pal's Sudden Service (Pal's) location in downtown Kingsport, Tennesee (Figure 1). Pal's was a fast-food chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries. It was inspired by a restaurant called 2-J's that Barger had seen in Austin, Texas. Additional inspiration came from a chance meeting with Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago, Illinois. Barger brought the work ethic and dedication to positive cultural change and high performance that he had learned in the air force to that first Pal's store.

Figure 1. The first Pal's location.

Source: Goldberg Productions, Inc.

. . .

Keywords: service operations, lean, operations strategy, operational improvement, fast food, economy of scale, customer service, process capability, process control, four Cs, lean transformation, people, process, purpose

Suggested Citation

Weiss, Elliott N. and Goldberg, Rebecca, Pal's Sudden Service: The Right Recipe. Darden Case No. UVA-OM-1506. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2975008

Elliott N. Weiss (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=4375

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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