1. Watch two of Pal’s commercials. What do they emphasize? After watching two of the commercials for Pal’s you see that they emphasize a lot on how fast their product is made and how popular their food products are too many people including old to young. Pal’s product line consists of a focused group of food, hamburgers, ham and chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, French fries, and breakfast biscuits and beverages, soft drinks, tea, coffee, milk shakes with a unique flavor profile designed to meet their customers’ taste requirements. Pal’s has developed the ability to effectively integrate manufacturing, service, and retail into its operational systems. They have also learned to apply world-class management principles and best-in-class processes that cause other companies emulate to our systems.
2. What type of waiting line model is found at Pal’s drive-thru restaurants? Pal’s drive-thru facilities have been designed to be efficient and effective. The equipment, facilities, and technologies that Pal’s uses to meet customer needs are components that serve our manufacturing, service and retail needs through ongoing use of our Benchmarking, Innovation and Product/Service/ Process Introduction processes. Their process layout is designed so that raw materials enter through a delivery door and are worked forward through the store with one process serving the next process in the processing/assembly/packaging line until a finished product is handed to an external customer. The major technologies involved are order taking, cooking, holding, filtering, order delivery, and packaging. They have developed proprietary state-of-the-art technology to achieve product and service quality and to provide efficient product flow.
3. What waiting time do you think is acceptable at a drive-thru restaurant? What order accuracy? I would think that anytime from 5-7 minutes would be acceptable wait time for a drive-thru restaurant. I did some research and it said that in 2011 Wendy’s is fastest once again with an average time of 145.5 seconds, while Taco Bell is second at 146.7 seconds and McDonald’s has the longest time at 184.2 seconds. Though the benchmark brands have not increased their speed over past years, all the operators who commented for the study say they are working to improve the efficiency of their drive thus so that the speed can improve. Order accuracy should be almost always correct. By getting customer orders correct it will make them have a good experience with your company and they will be happy with your business, making them want to come back.
4. From the Baldrige award data, what is the average order speed at Pal’s and at its best competitor? What other things does Pal’s measure? In customer satisfaction, including food quality, service, and order accuracy, Pal’s is outperforming its primary competitor. For example, customer scores for quality in 2001 averaged 95.8 percent, as compared with 84.1 percent for its best competitor. Pal’s order handout speed has improved more than 30 percent since 1995, decreasing from 31 seconds to 20 seconds, almost four times faster than its top competitor. Errors in orders are rare, averaging less than one for every 2,000 transactions. The company aims to reduce its error rate to one in every 5,000 transactions. In addition, Pal’s has consistently received the highest health inspection scores in its market and in the entire state of Tennessee. Pal’s aims to provide the “quickest, friendliest, most accurate service available.
5. What influence do you think Pal’s name has on customer expectations of service? I believe that the name of a company has a lot of influence on how customers think about them. If you are known for your fast service and good food your name will be popular and be advertised a lot which will help your business grow. If you have a good name you want to keep it and make sure to keep customers satisfied and happy with your service.
6. What factors associated with order completion time are beyond Pal’s control? Pal’s is exhaustive in its pursuit of useful data, the basis for sound planning and decision-making. Owner/operators also maintain a communications log. They record what they have learned about sales, expenses, customers, staff, products, services, equipment, and suppliers, and they list ideas for improvement. Weekly logs are sent to senior Pal’s executives, who comb the entries for issues and opportunities to be addressed at formal monthly management reviews of organizational and business results. Data are gathered systematically at all levels–process, shift, individual store, and entire business. The company’s enterprise resource planning system, SysDine, is a key tool, generating store-level and company-wide data on sales, customer count, product mix, ideal food and material cost, and turnover rates. This information supports daily operational decisions. It also is used to update Pal’s Balanced Scorecard of Core Performance Measures, which links directly to its key business drivers: quality, service, cleanliness, value, people, and speed. Managers regularly review the value of the data collected, and the company employs an outside statistician to evaluate the type of information tracked, how it is used, and how it is collected.
7. How does Pal’s “drive-thru only concept” affect speed of service? The quick-service restaurant business, the facilities and equipment must be capable, reliable, and sanitary. The drive-thru facility at Pal’s has been designed to be efficient and effective. The equipment, facilities, and technologies that Pal’s uses to meet customer needs are components that have been determined to serve the manufacturing, service, and retail needs by our staff through ongoing use of our benchmarking, innovation, and product/service/process introduction processes. Pal’s has created an environment that promotes continual improvement. Pal’s leadership supports this environment by being a role model for its systematic evaluation and improvement processes. Because of the management-led and organization-wide focus on continual improvement, major results are improving.
8. What are Pal’s core values? How does employee training differ at Pal’s? The company’s Business Excellence Process is the key-integrating element, a management approach to ensuring that customer requirements are met in every transaction, today and in the future. Carried out under the leadership of Pal’s two top executives and its 17 store owner/operators, the Business Excellence Process spans all facets of the operation–from strategic planning to on-line quality control. Every component process, including those for continual improvement and product introduction, is interactively linked, producing data that directly or indirectly inform the others. Developed with the aid of benchmarking studies, the company’s training processes support improvement in operational and business performance. Owner/operators and assistant managers have primary responsibility for staff training. They use a four-step model: show, do it, evaluate, and perform again. Employees must demonstrate 100 percent competence before they are certified to work at a specific workstation.
Initial training for all employees includes intensive instruction on effective listening skills. In addition, in-store training on processes, health and safety, and organizational culture is required for new staff at all facilities via computer-based training, flash cards, and one-on-one coaching. Cross training is required of all store-level staff to ensure their complete understanding of all production and service procedures as well as quality standards. Recognizing that most of their front-line workers are first-time entrants into the labor force, Pal’s management believes it has responsibility to help its workers develop knowledge and skills that can be applied in future jobs. This approach, along with competitive wages and financial incentives, has made the restaurant chain a desirable place to work for high school and college students. Pal’s has leveraged its reputation by implementing a statistically controlled, talent-based hiring system that helps managers identify applicants with attributes associated with effective job performance and customer satisfaction.
9. How does Pal’s use technology?
Pal’s Leadership Team members partner with three information technology firms to maintain awareness of currently available and emerging technologies and methods for making information and data more reliable, accurate, available, and usable. Input from these partners is considered during strategic planning where their data capabilities and requirements are aligned with their business objectives and action plans. At Pal’s, they ensure that hardware and software are reliable and user friendly by using established standards and specifications in the selection of each of the computers and point-of-sale terminals they use in all operations. Their standards and specifications include strict criteria to review reliability and user friendliness.
They also test new systems in advance before installing them in all of their stores. During use, they measure and review mean time between failures on their systems components, and we routinely assess whether they have sufficient redundant backup. To help assure the reliability of the software, they also have strict controls over who can make changes in the programs. Changes are tested and verified prior to being used on a production basis. They review the way their systems perform within operations with the people who actually use the equipment and programs. They also keep abreast of technology changes through their partners, trade shows, and publications. During strategic planning they use this input to analyze how their systems are meeting all current user requirements. They also assess what is needed to support our strategic objectives and action plans.