Pal's Sudden Service, normally called Pal's for short, is a regional fast food restaurant chain located in northeast Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, with stores concentrated in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee metro region. The first Pal's opened in 1956 in Kingsport, Tennessee a year after the founder of Pal's, Fred "Pal" Barger, attended a National Restaurant Convention in Chicago and met Ray Kroc and Fred Turner, observing the construction and equipment they used for the first McDonald's restaurant.
Pal's is notable for their unique organizational culture. Pal's training is unique and includes pop quizzes and over 200 hours of training for employees, which results in significantly low turnover for the industry. As of 2004 only four managers had voluntarily left the organization in the preceding 15 years. In 2005, Pal's reported that order accuracy at Pal’s Sudden Service stood at one mistake for every 3,360 transactions, a vast improvement over the rate of one in every 450 transactions which is the standard in the industry. In addition, Service time—measured from the time a car stops at the hand-out window to the time it begins moving again—is 18 seconds at peak periods, which is 49 seconds quicker than the next fastest competitor in a third-party analysis. Due to these rarities the organization is often studied by competition and used as a case study for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists.
In 2001, Pal's won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, becoming the first restaurant company to receive the award.
Pal's CEO is Thom Crosby.