An iconic burger restaurant is a landmark in its Seattle community
Nov 07, 2011
In the early 1950s, America was on the move. The country’s entrepreneurial spirit was turning into high gear as life was becoming faster. Cars were ubiquitous and the modern American fast food restaurant, due to its convenience and price, was born, rivaling the formal, sit-down meal.
Returning from the Korean War, Dick Spady recognized that people wanted on-the-go, quality food at an affordable price. Spady was the first in his family to attend college and employed his entrepreneurial spirit in 1954 to open Dick’s Drive-In, a full-service drive in restaurant with a simple menu — burgers, fries and shakes. Over the next 20 years, Dick’s only deviated twice to add a few burger styles and substituted soda flavors. Today, Dick’s has five restaurants and 120 employees in Seattle, but they have not added a new location in 37 years. Four generations of customers have identified strongly with Dick’s as a place to hang out and get the best food in the area.
According to Dick Spady’s two sons, Jim and Walt, the time is ripe to build, expand and create jobs. As a customer- and community-centered business, it was only fitting that the customers choose where the next restaurant would be. Jim and Walt leveraged social media and used an instant poll on the Dick’s website to receive more than 110,000 votes in three weeks. The city of Edmonds, just north of Seattle, was the lucky winner.
Jim and Walt needed help financing this new location. They talked to banks big and small, but no offers were as competitive as Bank of America’s.
“Bank of America wanted the business,” said Jim Spady, Vice President of Dick’s Drive-In. “They were supportive and really wanted to help a small business grow and support jobs.” Bank of America gave Dick’s a line of credit for the new location, and also maintains its checking and treasury management services.
Dick’s has already been recognized as having one of the best compensation and benefits packages, including a 401(K), full health care, an educational scholarship program and management opportunities. The new location will not only add 30 jobs, but also enhance the benefit to other local businesses and organizations that Dick’s Drive-In is working with. Their “Change for Charity,” program allows customers to drop their change into donation boxes to benefit local charities. So far, $300K has been raised for charities that fight homelessness and organizations that offer relief to natural disaster areas.
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