A difference between the front and the back of the house

Before I was in ministry 18 or so years ago, one of my jobs use to be a floor manager for the Olive Garden. I really enjoyed the job. Actually one of the places I had the privilege of working was at a new store start up. How exciting! Everything is new and you get to hire a ton of new people. Cleaning at the end of the night is great as it is all new and easy to clean.

One area that may have been a bit challenging was that everyone was new. The team had not had a chance to work with one another and people were just getting to know each another. The habits of all the new people had to be molded to habits that the store needed. One of the big areas was to teach the difference between the front of the house (where the customers saw, sat, and eat) and the back of the house (where the meals were made, dishes washed, and break rooms were located).

I carry this habit of teaching, training and equipping all my teams the difference of back of the house vs. the front of the house habits into ministry. The back of the house people could often times dress differently, have a different volume in which they worked, and minute by minute organization looked differently as well. The front of the house team wore the ties, pressed their shirts, and for the most part performed a different part. Both front and back of the house were extremely important and were needed the same to have a successful restaurant. People came because both worked well together. They came if the food (back of the house) tasted good and the feel of the restaurant (the front of the house) made them comfortable.

In my check in counters for the kids ministries for example, I do not allow people to eat up front, do work at the counters, text, or even sit down while working check in. I train them to stay focused and talk with those checking in, making each person who checks in feel like they have come to the right place.

Then once they get checked in, they head back let’s say to the nursery. The volume changes a little, my team in the back of the house may be rolling on the floor with kids, we have some snacks back there etc. But to me the difference of having both front of the house and back of the house is vital. I would not want the two to get mixed up.

I feel the front of the house done right says to those who are coming, “Welcome we are glad you have chosen to come here today”. Then the back of the house done right simply says, “You have chosen right in coming here”.

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