Great Atmosphere, Mediocre Food, Poor Service

We went to a fairly new restaurant recently as a family…

It was new enough to have the opening bugs worked out, but still new to us…

We were seated quickly…which was a plus since we were hungry…

We instantly fell in love with the great atmosphere…

They had a nice menu…and the prices were reasonable…

We ordered…and waited…and waited…and waited…

We had a hard time getting our drinks refilled…

Our waiter never seemed to remember things we asked for…

The owner walked through the restaurant several times, but never smiled…never connected with anyone…

Overall, we had poor customer service...

Then our food arrived…

It looked decent…

But it had no flavor…

There was nothing memorable about any of our selections of food…

It was actually rather tasteless…to be kind…

What seemed to be reasonably priced now seemed overpriced…

So, bottom line…we had a great atmosphere, with poor service, and mediocre food…

Would you return?

This is a true story…

But it leads me to the conclusion I came to after this experience…

And possibly the reason for this post…

What can we learn from that illustration as it relates to our church…or organization?

Help me solve this riddle…

Share your thoughts…

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • My fear is far too many churches are like the restaurant that has the most incredibly-equipped and well-stocked kitchen in the world and has a wonderful menu, but won't serve anything but potato chips and water. People hungry to eat a real meal won't stay—they'll go to another restaurant! Worse, the "restaurant" has some customers who would LOVE to make a four-course meal for themselves and anyone else, but are not allowed to touch anything in the kitchen because they might make a mess or damage the pots and pans!

  • ronedmondson says:

    That's good.
    Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • ronedmondson says:

    Yes!
    Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • davepatchin says:

    Flash and style can get you in the door, but they need to deliver on the key concept to get you to return. A nice facility or great ambiance enhance the meal (ministry), they cannot replace it.

  • Peter_P says:

    I actually thought that you were describing a church you'd been to recently… in a parable.

  • ronedmondson says:

    Thanks Randy.
    Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • People check out a new restaurant for good food. Why do people attend church for the first time? I think it is to connect with God. They may not realize it but that's the real need they have. That connection with God doesn't come through good music or preaching. God touches people directly by His Holy Spirit and indirectly through His people. Based on my observations of newcomers at church, the human touch is the first one they recognize. If the church members and pastor act like your server and the restaurant owner, they will go away with a bad taste in their mouths. (Pun intended, sorry.)

  • That ……. content and execution matters !

  • Laurinda says:

    I wouldn't return nor would I have tipped!

    Also agree with Jon above! It's got to meet the needs of the people, but it can't be all things to all people.

  • Jon says:

    I think a good church should be like a good restaurant, a complete package is necessary to give a good experience. Not that it has to be everything to everyone, but if it fails at any of the core parts of it's mission, it potentially fails at all of them, or at least doesn't give the best experience. I'll use my church as an example. And I didn't realize that this was missing until I needed the help with my marriage.

    I think that my church is very sound Biblically. The teaching is top notch and the leadership take great care in the handling of the Word and in things the church gets involved in. Over all it's a good experience. But when I needed help in my marriage and when that situation became more of the square peg in the round hole, I really saw first hand where this church fails. That has colored my whole perception of the church. If my wife and I ever get this resolved, I'll probably be looking for a new church even though I think it has great points and we've been there for almost 30 years.

  • Randy Ongie says:

    Seems a lot like an attractional model church. Good show but no depth. No way for people to take a clear next steps on their faith journey and hard to find a authentic biblical community (care and growth). The difference is that it takes a "customer" much longer to figure out that they are not getting what they need. What they need is to find a place to grow and be encouraged to share their gifts with a lost and dying world.

  • At first, I thought you were visiting my in-laws.
    Settle down…I'm kidding! (Luv ya mom)

    Salt that loses it's flavor is worthless. As a preservative, salt was (and is) used to keep food from spoiling. If our actions and attitudes do not reflect the love of Christ, those folks who God puts in our pathway become agitated…leaving a bad taste.

    We are called to preserve peace by using our gifts and abilities in humility and service to Him. Doing that, we provide a pleasant atmosphere where others can be drawn closer to Him.

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