Friday night my wife and I went to Cheeseburger in Paradise. At first glance you would say that it is a themed restaurant and it will probably not have the best food but you will enjoy something different in the atmosphere. I mean come on, I like mine with lettuce and tomato… I will let you finish the song. When we pulled up we noticed the crowd. A wait was about to happen, but is it going to be worth it? Now I will say that a wait is worth it only when the food is great. With the number of restaurants that are out there waiting should only be a necessity for the best. So, when the hostess told me 40 minutes, I am hoping and praying for the best burger in Cincinnati. I do understand this is a chain and the best normally does not come from a chain, but I had hope. We waited. We checked out everyone as they came through the door. Made fun of the ladies in the pink hat society. Yes, it was pink and not red, they are starting their own movement. We laughed at old people on their first dates. We were amused by drunk people at the bar. These are all normal things to do while you wait. Then we sat down at a table. The menu was simple. The drink menu was more complex. I just wanted good lemonade and I got it. We both ordered burgers. My wife got the “mini’s” with a toss salad and I got the “not so precise” with fries. The tossed salad came out and it was not typical. You know the typical, lettuce, carrots, one cucumber slice, and one cherry tomato with dressing on the side. This was far from typical. It was a real salad. Different types of lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, asparagus, and all around goodness. So far so good… The burgers come out and they are delicious. I will have to say the best burgers in Cincinnati. There was a salsa ketchup on my burger that was incredible. The mini’s were juicy, again not typical for a mini burger. Cheeseburger in Paradise is batting 2 for 2. We look back at the menu and notice that they had something different for desert. There before us was the phrase Chocolate Nachos. Living in Texas for 5 years we knew about nachos, but not about chocolate ones. So we tried them. It was awesome. Here came a plate of homemade nacho chips that had chocolate in the batter. On top of the chips were strawberries, sprinkles, and a heavy chocolate sauce. Don’t picture Hershey’s, picture almost hot fudge. Next to the chips is a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s for dipping. Three different flavors of ice cream for us to enjoy. Boy did we ever enjoy. We stuffed our faces to the point of no return. It should have been shared with 4 but with persistence on our side we finished it. Cheeseburger in Paradise hit a homerun for $25. Not bad for a themed chain.
I think as churches we could learn a lot from the restaurant business. I believe people will only stick around if you are serving the best. I also believe people should get more than what they expect from church. People should be blown away. They should be writing blogs about you and your ministry the same way I write about Cheeseburger in Paradise. Serve the best in town and I bet they will be. Don’t let your children’s ministry settle for second. Your menu should be that of excellence, quality, and something special that is not expected. You have more than just kids coming… You have customers, critiques, and yes even sometimes you have parents.