Event Wrap Up: Pal’s CEO Thom Crosby

Thank you to Pal’s for hosting our March 24th lunch at their corporate headquarters in Kingsport! A big thank you also goes out to Tony and Teresa Treadway of Creative Energy for convincing Thom to host. Pal’s has been a Creative Energy client for over 25 years – a tremendous partnership that’s very different from most food/agency relationships.

Pal’s opened their first location in Kingsport in 1956. After a bit of espionage by their founder, Fred “Pal” Barger, and a chance meeting with McDonald’s founders Ray Kroc and Fred Turner, Pal’s has become the #2 restaraunt in the Tri-Cities and a unique cultural icon for our region.

The restaurant industry as a whole has a turnover rate of about 60%, but Pal’s have maintained a rate of only 18% through their unique training methods and their focus on Performance Excellence. They have 29 stores, owning all the land and buildings with no debts owed to anyone. Their leadership program (Pal’s BEI) has trained business leaders all over the globe from companies like Coca-Cola, 3M, NASA, American Greetings, and more. They teach their tried-and-true 8 step business excellence model, and Thom went through each of those steps with us:

  1. We only work on high value problems.
  2. Every standard is stated as a gap. We’re here, want to be there, how to we get there?
  3. Root cause analysis: ask “Why?” 3 to 5 times to find out the real problem. Any problem is really either a management, equipment, or process design problem.
  4. Create a pool of solutions and pick the best one.
  5. Implement
  6. Verify
  7. Once we know it works, we standardize it and create documents and training around this new standard.
  8. We then market it to everyone in the company.

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