March Face 2 Face Recap with P. Terry

The Austin Business Journal led-series, Face 2 Face, didn’t disappoint this month. Colin Pope sat down with Patrick Terry, co-founder of our beloved local hamburger stand, P. Terry’s, to talk about his business practices.

According to Terry, “The idea of P. Terry’s is very simple because I’m very simple, honestly. The idea of making a milkshake and handing it to someone makes me really happy. “

The philosophy behind that simple idea has grown into more than nine P. Terry’s locations with four more planned in 2015, all in the Austin area.

Patrick and his wife, Kathy, are proud of the quality of product they are able to offer for a value price. They charge below three dollars for an all-natural Angus beef hamburger, complete with a specialty bun baked fresh by Mrs. Baird’s. If you add a side of fries, you can dine with confidence, knowing that they use all-natural Idaho potatoes. P. Terry’s also offers a vegetarian-friendly burger and has a vegan burger in the works.

When asked if it is a sound financial move to charge so little for premium ingredients, Terry said, “You should work really hard to make good food and people shouldn’t be penalized…If you want a business to sustain through thick and thin they’ve got to love you. Give people a value where they feel good about what they just did.”

“If you want a business to sustain through thick and thin, they’ve got to love you.

Give people a value where they feel good about what they just did.”

Aside from the quality of food, Terry also spoke to the quality of treatment they offer their employees, including higher starting wages around nine dollars and a 10 dollar monthly bonus for every month that employee stays with P. Terry’s.

P. Terry’s also makes a birthday cake for each employee on their birthday and provides no-interest loans to employees who fall on hard times.

“If someone needs to borrow money for a car or an apartment, we give a no-interest loan. That’s the kind of thing that changes your life. We have thousands of dollars out in loans – there is a loyalty there because most businesses don’t do that. I need my people to be able to get to work! It’s good business in so many respects.”

At United Way for Greater Austin, we know that so many of our friends and neighbors who live paycheck to paycheck are perhaps one major setback away from financial insecurity. Business practices like these help the community by allowing some of the working poor to continue to sustain basic needs while they get back on their feet.

In addition to the special care for food and employees, P. Terry’s also makes customer experience a top priority.

“We go to incredible trouble to build beautiful buildings and buy high-quality ingredients. If a person walks through the door and we don’t greet them, we wasted a lot of time and dropped the ball!”

P. Terry’s is also incredibly philanthropic, donating profits from a Saturday (their biggest sales day) to a different nonprofit organization four times a year.

“The people of Austin have been incredibly kind to us… the idea is to give back something of value.”

Interested in attending next month’s series? The featured speaker will be Michael Hsu, Principal Architect of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Visit ABJ’s Face 2 Face page to learn more. 

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