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A Small Town Restaurant

I found a writing by Tim Woodward that I thought I would share with you and then make an application at the bottom.

“A small town restaurant had been in business for many years. It had a reputation in the community for consistently serving good meals. As the community grew, so did business at the restaurant. The restaurant employees were always friendly to long-term patrons and visitors alike. Folks were met at the door and taken to a table where they were greeted with a menu and a friendly conversation. Almost everyone was greeted by their first name, and a newcomer never made it to a table without sharing his name, occupation and place of residence.

A few years ago new cooks came to the restaurant and some new items were added to the menu. The food was great! Word spread quickly throughout the community and business really began to pick up. The crowds at the restaurant were so big that parking attendants had to direct traffic in the lot and temporary tables and chairs had to be used almost every day. Everyone was excited about the increase in business.

The restaurant employees tried to greet everyone and maintain the warm, friendly atmosphere that had been their trademark for years. But there were just too many names and faces to remember. And the cooks were struggling to maintain the quality of the food while producing the volume required to fill all the orders. The quality of the restaurant began to suffer. Something had to be done!

The restaurant managers called a meeting to discuss the problem. Although it seemed that the biggest problem was the size of the building, it was decided that the keys to the success of the restaurant were food, service and atmosphere. They decided to focus on the quality rather than the size of the restaurant. Size would have to be addressed eventually, but not until the quality of the restaurant had improved.

It was decided that food quality was everyone’s responsibility. All the employees were asked to know more than just the menu items. They must also know the ingredients. Everyone was to help in the kitchen.

The employees were asked to serve every customer as if they were serving a Thanksgiving meal in their own home. And they must be well-rested and mentally prepared to serve before coming to work each day.

It was decided that the atmosphere must be warm and friendly. Customers should be greeted by their first names. There were too many customers for any one employee to know everyone’s name, although one of the cooks did know most of their names. Each employee was asked to know a small group of customers of the restaurant and members of the community.

In the weeks that followed, the quality of the restaurant improved dramatically. Business has continued to grow, and it won’t be long until a new building will have to be considered.”

This story touched me because I believe churches suffer the same kind of changes. We try to fix it with programs doing this or that and ignore the main ingredient. That ingredient is people. When we come into this assembly, we should serve everyone in the room, as if we were waiting on tables in this restaurant. Every person should give and get attention from another. Make it special. Know the menu. Let others know what you are learning and how it affects your life. Do not miss a single opportunity. We feast on the riches of God’s Word and that is a great menu.

I loved this story and I have seen it many times at eating establishments when this approach was taken and have also seen it when it wasn’t. We can make this place something really special. I’m in. How about you?