Video: Dick's Drive-In is 55 today

SEATTLE - While some pretty powerful Seattle area companies are ducking for cover in the volatile economy, one just keeps doing what it always has - cooking burgers, quickly, at a good price.

Dick's Drive-In celebrated its 55th birthday Wednesday.

Its business model is low-tech. Workers manually slice blocks of cheese. They hand scoop and blend milk shakes. They spend twice as much time doing things by hand that fast-food giants let the machines handle. They even make their own french fries from fresh potatoes.

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It's Dick Spady's way. The right way, he says. The way he started 55 years ago.

As he inspected the kitchen on this big anniversary, Dick shared with us the four responsibilities he followed to stay in business through good and bad times.

His first responsibility is to the business.

"You have to make a profit, you have to survive," he says.

The next responsibility is to treat his employees and suppliers fairly.

"We start at $9.50 an hour and after 90 days, they go to $10," said Dick.

Dick's workers also enjoy full medical coverage, management training and even college scholarships for workers and their families.

The third responsibility is to the immediate community.

"And that's what Change for Charity is all about. We're trying to help the homeless," said Dick.

Finally, Dick says he feels a responsibility to the common good to build toward a sustainable community.

"And you help wherever, whether you help the city, state, national or international level. You do what you can do," said Dick.

You may not taste all that responsibility in your next burger, fries or shake, but Dick says it's in there and it's a recipe he's willing to share with any business that cares to listen.

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