The following article is taken from the March 18, 1981 River Parishes Sun article Business Person of the Week: Jim Toler, writen by Ellen Cooper.
When your bread and butter depends of hamburgers and french fries, you have to keep one step ahead of the lunch crowd.
Jim Toler, the owner of the Frostop Drive-In Restaurant on Airline Highway in LaPlace, had learned the ins and outs of the drive-in business by trial and error. A remodeling project on the restaurant is the latest attempt by Toler to keep up with his growing clientele.
Toler said recently the purpose of the remodeling which included enlarging the kitchen area, adding new cooking equipment and laying 2,000 square felt of Formica, was to accommodate a growing community. "It (the restaurant) was old and working us to death," Toler said. "This major renovation will help us to serve this community (LaPlace) as it grows." "Our customers enjoy a clean atmosphere. We put 2,000 square feet of Formica down in the kitchen area, even on the ceiling, because it's so easy to maintain and keep clean."
The restaurant has recently re-opened after being closed since Jan. 18. Toler says he has already noticed an increase in business.
"We had to re-learn the entire operation," he said. "So far, it has worked out well. We have enjoyed an increase in business since we re-opened."
Toler, who works at the restaurant seven days a week, said he and his manager, Elain DeBautte, made the decision together to make the renovations and bring in the new cooking equipment.
The original building of the restaurant was built in 1958. Previous owners added the dining room and office area.
Down through the years, however, the original Lot-O-Burger hamburger has remained. Toler said the serving of drinks in frozen mugs has also not changed. But, more menu items have been added in the years. The menu today includes hot dogs, po-boys, several types of sandwiches and dinners.
Toler says the full range of menu items accounts for the full range of people who frequent the restaurant. The menu suits the tastes from the very young to the adult one, he added.
Toler and his wife, Evelyn (Terry), have three daughters, Terry, 11, Tiffany, 7, and Tracey, 3.
Terry is already helping her father by busing tables. Evelyn lends a hand during the peak rush hours. Toler says the two youngest daughters don't help - not yet anyway.
The trend of the Toler family is to help in the restaurant business. But, the trend started much earlier than with Toler's children and wife.
Toler's late father-in-law, Morris Terry, built the original Frostop building in 1958 as an investment. Toler himself, as a South Carolina high school student, helped his father run a small country drive-in. "Really, I just helped cook the hamburger and eat them", he said.
Since taking the Frostop Drive-In over seven years ago, the business has tripled, Toler said.
Toler must have learned more than just cooking and eating hamburgers at his father's drive-in. Somewhere, he learned how to sell them.
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This past June 2009, marked the Toler family's 36th year of running the LaPlace Frostop. This August, the LaPlace Frostop had its 51st anniversary.
Jimmie, Evelyn, & Terry Toler