Thrasher’s French Fries
August 8, 2014
We have just returned from our family vacation to Ocean City MD. And of course what trip down the shore would be complete without making that annual pilgrimage to the mecca of the french fry – Thrasher’s French Fries? This year as I waited in the customary long line for our “bucket” it struck me the importance of going deep – doing that one thing better than anyone else – most of all your competition. Thrasher’s has always known this – they do one thing better than anyone else – they don’t deviate and they don’t add to their products / service offerings. Thrasher’s does french fries and they do them better than anyone else.
Below is the story of Thrasher’s French Fries.
In 1929, a Georgian known as Mr. J.T. Thrasher introduced a unique concept into the business community of Ocean City, Maryland. This creative Southerner proposed a food stand concession which would specialize in only one product: the noble French fry. Meeting with skepticism, Mr. Thrasher, an extremely religious man, forged ahead with his fledgling enterprise. His idea? Simply to produce the best tasting French fry ever eaten – past, present or future. He did.
The process Thrasher originated was based upon quality ingredients, hard work, and above all attention to the perfection of each cup of fries. What a discovery! Of the product itself, Thrasher found that only the highest quality potato would suffice. This meant that potatoes had to be bought from different regions, if not states, for different times of the season. Only the best would do for this hard-hosed professional.
For labor, Mr, Thrasher relied upon a group of hard working girls from a Christian affiliated school in Georgia. The operation was run by these dedicated young women for many years. Boss Thrasher would house the girls in a dormitory above the present Bank of Ocean City.
Thrasher’s had been located in the breezeway of the Ocean City Amusement Pier. When forced by his failing health concerns to sell the dearly local business, Thrasher shopped for a buyer who would adhere to his high standards of quality and expertise. This buyer was the legendary Ocean City businessman, Franklin “Crip” Hastings, a self-made entrepreneur who had a good nose for a profitable deal. Hastings moved Thrasher’s to the boardwalk location where it is presently located. Yet through the process of automation and mechanization, the original process and recipe were never altered. There was no deviation from quality, no deviation from tradition.
In 1974, Charles R. Jenkins purchased Thrasher’s following the death of Mr. Hastings. Again, Mr, Jenkins refused to alter the original secret recipe or the cooking process in the slightest way. While improving and refining certain aspects of the operation, tradition was adhered to. Thirty-four years later, Thrasher’s French Fries are still under the same management. Quality is still the ultimate goal and only through painful and perfectionist management techniques has the fry retained its superior taste and appearance.
Through five generations and eighty years, Thrasher’s has changed hands only twice. Tradition rules and quality reigns supreme. There will be no deviation from original procedures or original recipes. Only experience and exquisite attention to detail have allowed Thrasher’s to grow and flourish as few businesses have, nowhere will more emphases on quality be found. Nowhere will be a better fry be found – anywhere!