Fast Food Points: What a Jeweler Learned From a Burger Joint

How a Tennessee jewelry store found inspiration and ideas for improvement from a surprising source More than a few times, Chris Jordan sat in awe as he waited in the drive-through lane of his ­favorite restaurant. Regardless of day or time, a line of cars curled onto the road. The windows and landscaping looked immaculate. His order was filled correctly, and the staff—most of them hourly employees or teens with no interest in a food service career—served him with warmth and attentiveness. “How do they do it?” Jordan wondered about Pal’s Sudden Service, a 1950s-style hamburger joint with 29 locations scattered across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. As co-owner of Dempsey’s Jewelers in Johnson City, Tenn., Jordan constantly hunted for ways to advance his family’s 26-year-old retail store. Located amid more than a dozen local jewelry shops, and facing the chall

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