May 13, 2004
Cordele--Two partners in crime try to avoid running into each other in the cramped little shack that's been a Cordele landmark for decades. "Get out of the way or you're gonna get your feet stepped on," says Donna Stripling.
She and Cathy Childs gave up careers as Crisp County deputies to run Carter's Burgers. The work is hot and non-stop, but Donna and Cathy wouldn't have it any other way. "Cause we love people. We love dealing with the public," Childs says. "Got a really good crew. They work hard. They take care of the customer," Stripling adds.
That friendly treatment is Carter's Burgers trademark. "We believe in customer service," Stripling says.
Step outside during the lunch rush and you'll see a line of cars in the drive-through lane, and you'll meet Carter's version of the drive-through speaker. "Let me see if yours is ready, baby." That's Rose Epps sweetly hollering at a customer. She takes every drive-through order personally.
"As long as I'm here, we won't ever have a machine out there," Stripling promises. The system's pretty simple. Rose writes your order on a paper sack, hands it through the window, the cook fixes your food, and puts it in the sack. It's as basic as the old fashioned southern hospitality you'll also get here.
"Where was you at breakfast this morning," Stripling asks one customer. "Where's your baby," she asks another. Corny as it may sound, the customers are like family to the workers. "We know what they want when they drive up," Childs says. "They'll drive across town just to see us because they know they'll get 'how's the baby doing, how's the puppy doing,'" Stripling says.
The secret to their success really is no secret at all. Stripling says, "We got the best food around. We got a chicken recipe second to none. We got a hamburger you can't get anywhere but Carter's. And look at the smiling faces begging to take your order." Food and friendliness dished out by a couple of former law enforcers now dedicated to provide and serve some of the best fast food around.
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