P. Terry's Burger Stand donated $1,000,000 to local charities, and they sold a lot of hamburgers, too.
Anyone fortunate enough to know Patrick Terry and his wife, Kathy, will tell you that they are the kindest, most humble people you’ll ever meet. It is no surprise that they have built one of the most successful brands in Austin: P. Terry’s Burger Stand.
Their story begins when Kathy read Fast Food Nation and was inspired to provide quality food at affordable prices––without having any previous experience in food. But over 14 years, they’ve grown from one single 800 square foot drive-thru into 15 P. Terry's and 2 Taco Ranch locations, hundreds of employees, and have donated over a million dollars to charity.
Their success and reputation has been built upon a solid foundation of quality food and, as Patrick says, “doing the right thing.”
From sourcing only the highest quality ingredients to delivering a birthday cake to every single employee on their special day, P. Terry’s never compromises on their commitment to putting people first, which has earned them a cult-like following.
Fun fact: on the application, potential employees actually include their favorite cake and then, on their birthday, an employee at P. Terry’s actually bakes and deliver these cakes!
This interview doesn’t even scratch the surface of the incredible brand and culture that Patrick and Kathy have built. Their success is a testament to their gigantic hearts and lives impacted along the way.
This interview with Patrick A. Terry, the Founder of P. Terry's Burger Stand, is part of Inspirations, a regular series that asks extraordinary founders, executives, and rising stars in the growth-oriented food industry about their why.
Who or what inspires you and why?
The hundreds of employees at P. Terry's who work so hard everyday to make our business a success.
What types of people do you work best with and why?
I want to work with people who are smart, decent and don't take themselves too seriously. This is important because you and your business begin to reflect those that surround you.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far and why?
When you begin a business from scratch it's purely an entrepreneurial endeavor. When you grow your company to multiple units and hundreds of people the daily challenges change, and the job becomes more managerial than creative. That's a big change and adapting to that change isn't always easy.
What’s something you’ve worked on that you’re proud of and why?
Our mantra at P. Terry's has always been "do the right thing". We've lived by that saying from the beginning and I can't recall one time when we veered from that statement, even when it was a hell of a lot easier to go the other way.
What’s been one of your greatest rewards in business and why?
At the end of this year P. Terry's will have donated a $1,000,000 to local charities. These are organizations that we have spent time researching, making sure the money we give gets used in the way it's intended. More people compliment me for our philanthropy than our hamburgers. How great is that?
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self and why?
Give it all you have everyday and then unwind and enjoy the night. Repeat until you're ready to stop. I don't turn it off very often... make that never.
What's the one word that describes you and why?
Dedicated. You've got 100% of me everyday.
What’s one company, brand, or individual that you admire and why?
Southwest Airlines and Herb Kelleher their former Founder and CEO. Herb took an idea to create a small airline in a highly competitive field and grew the company to an enormous business without changing the culture very much. It was an extraordinary feat in my opinion.
What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year and why?
I'd like to spend more time in our stores and less time in the office. The heart and soul of our company lies in the P. Terry's and Taco Ranches we operate everyday. I need to see our staff and our customers more often to get a better pulse of our business.
What is one book that you think everyone should read and why?
I just read Bad Blood about a company in Silicon Valley that was entirely made up and yet had investors clamoring to put more money into the business. I think everyone should read the book, it's a great wake up call to stay in reality and not let your hopes guide you into making such bad decisions.
At ClearPath, we value relationships over everything because we know that great people are the secret sauce to success. We serve as ambassadors for growth-oriented brands in the food industry — connecting them with the leaders they need to build their businesses and change the world. Our collaborative, tenacious, and modern approach to talent acquisition empowers us to surface the right candidates — faster.