An Open Letter To Fast Food Chains Concerning Black Friday

To whom it may concern,
you don’t know me but i am a patron of your business. unless you’re arby’s (sorry…just not a fan), then i have been at each of your restaurants (franchise or whatever) recently. so as an active supporter and patron of your restaurants, i wanted to write this post to help you make some extra money and in turn help some people out (who, i just checked on, are hungry).

you see, it’s 11pm on thanksgiving night. i just got back from a movie (changeling if you must know) with my sister and we enjoy driving by places like best buy or the mall to see all the “crazy” people who start lining up at 6pm the night before black friday so that they can be the first ones to get their hands on the “hot items” of the year. as much fun as it is to go “people-watching”, i started thinking about these people and how long of a night that is. i realized that, because the line is shifting throughout the night, someone in each group or party that is sitting in front of these stores has to stay awake, unless they were to wake up farther down the line because they lost their place. i can’t speak for every store, but i can say for most best buy stores, people are there from 6pm on. that’s 12 hours of waiting. that’s 12 hours of NIGHT…waiting. when most people are sleeping, they are waiting in line.

what does this have to do with you?
simple answer…they get hungry but no place is open.

everyone knows that denny’s and ihop are always open, but these places are not takeout places or drive-thru places where they can come real quick and get back to their group waiting in the line. it makes no sense to me because more people are out on thanksgiving night and black friday between the hours of 10pm and 6am than you would probably get for lunch for the whole week. i can tell you, there is a serious demand out there, but for some reason…there is no supply.

my friend told me that where he grew up (palm coast) there was a starbucks open during these hours and they made half a million dollars in that one night just because they stayed open. now, i can’t prove that dollar figure and give documentation about it, but let’s imagine a bit. doesn’t that make sense? people want something warm and something to keep them awake. it makes sense that starbucks would make a serious profit that night. in the same way, people are hungry and if you were to have your restaurants open throughout the night (on this night), people would not only respond with money and sales, they would respond with gratitude…gratitude for serving them in a time of need. you see, people understand why you are closed. they understand that you let your employees off for the day and they think of you highly for that, for letting them spend the day with their families.

but i think i have a plan that would impress them more. so for no charge, here it is:

  1. leave your business open that night staffed by a team with high morale
    i would encourage you to open up your business on thanksgiving night somewhere between 6-8pm (definitely no later than 10pm). 8pm may be the best time. that way all your employees can celebrate thanksgiving with their families and even get some extra sleep…because they’re going to need it. but since this is a holiday, if your team doesn’t have an extra incentive to do this, you will be seen as a grinch or scrooge and the low morale will hurt you in the long run. my advice is to offer double wages for that night only (trust me, you will easily recoup any “extra” money you spend). have a talk with your team and cast the vision. focus on the need (serving people who are hungry) and the response they will have (thanks and money-both short and long term). i would suggest doing 2-3 hour shifts that night to keep the excitement and patience up. an eight hour work day is long enough without it being in the middle of the night.
  2. market in the lines
    while you’re open, send a couple people to the local mall, walmart or popular store where everyone is waiting in line. give them some cards that simply say “we’re open all night tonight in case you’re hungry or if you need anything”. people are used to not seeing any restaurants open, so if you want to be seen, you’re going to have to get out there. all of a sudden, people will be going to your restaurant to pick up stuff for their whole group…because i promise you, come 1am, there will be a mutiny if the group knows there is food somewhere and no one will go out to get it. lol
  3. lightly sell in the lines
    this one is going to take the permission of the store, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. maybe they will do a partnership deal or something. i would suggest sending a couple employees to wherever the lines are with a cooler filled with one of your products (ex. if you are chickfila, a cooler filled with chicken sandwiches) and then sell them for $2-3 a piece, cash. that way the people in line don’t have to leave (in case they’re by themself) and you still make money. i would strongly recommend that you do not overprice these products you’re selling. THAT will turn off your customers and though they may buy from you that night (for whatever reason), you will suffer in the long run.

i hope this helps. if some place were to do this, their testimony would change the face of pre-black friday morning. i hope it happens. if it does, i’ll stop in and say thanks. 🙂 your faithful young supporter, matthew manchester

Serve To Be Trusted, Trusted To Serve More

I don’t know what it is about sectional pastors’ meetings, but it seems like every time I go I end up with some challenging thoughts regarding servanthood and my life. This time, as I was playing keyboard for worship, I realized a reason why we serve. We serve to build trust. This is neither the ultimate reason nor the ultimate temporal goal. The ultimate reason is because He’s God and He has shown us His love and serving Him in any and every capacity is the least He deserves. Another reason is because we realize who we truly are without Him and His grace (“Serving God & Two Steps Away“). But another reason we serve is to build trust…with both man and God.

Luke 16:10-12 states:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much and whoever is dishonest with very little will be dishonest with very much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Now some people may say that passage is completely about money (and I do believe it concerns earthly finances), but the context and reality of those scriptures is all about serving and faithfulness. This is evident by what Jesus declares next – “no man can serve two masters”.

Jesus declares to the multitudes that we must show ourselves faithful in the earthly realm in order to inherit true eternal treasures. By living our lives now in the place of consistent faithfulness, we store up for ourselves glory and honor on that day. We gain our position (not salvation) in the end-time kingdom by making our lives like Christ’s – following the Sermon on the Mount, following the way of complete servanthood. The rewards we will receive in those days completely depend on our faithfulness now.

Likewise, we must show ourselves faithful in order to be trusted now. But the reward for our faithfulness now is not the same reward that we will receive from Him when He returns. The way God has set up His kingdom, both now and forever, is this: we serve to be trusted, and we’re trusted to serve more.

Jesus declares in Matthew 20:25-28:

…you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Even as I was typing that scripture I realized that Jesus never said “before you become a leader or become known as great, first you must become a slave and serve for a little while”. No, Jesus declared that if one wants to be great in His kingdom, both in the temporal and eternal, they must sell themselves as a slave and serve others completely, for the rest of our lives.

In the western church, we have followed the ways of the world by believing that we start off serving in the lower positions and then we move up the corporate ladder where we can stop doing those things and do more “honorable” things. That is the complete opposite of what Jesus talks about. The greater you become in the kingdom, the more you serve and the harder you work. The more authority you are trusted with, the more you are trusted to serve and lose your life for those you are over. Jesus’ example in John 13 is that the greatest among us wash the most feet.

This is the reason He declares that in the end, when it’s all said and done, the meek (not the strong and forceful but the humble and serving) will inherit the earth. The highest positions in heaven will not be given to famous people who traveled the world showing their ministry. The highest positions (like kings of actual nations in the millennial kingdom) will be given to those who didn’t blow their own horn but instead gave their lives and rights up to serve others.

God is looking for those who will embrace the way of the cross, the way of servanthood and death, the way of unselfish devotion to God and others. He will reward them with eternal treasures and positions when He comes. In the meantime, He offers them greater ways to die and serve. That is why I serve. So that He can trust me more so that I can serve more, even unto death, knowing that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).