Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Outback Steak-Church

After a delicious steak dinner with our best friends the other night, I couldn’t help wondering what church planting would look like if done with the Outback Steak House method. How would you do it?

1. You’d limit your programming.

The Conventional Wisdom in the restaurant business is find a good location, operate as many hours as possible to spread the fixed costs, and keep the food costs as low as possible. The Outback Steak House breaks all three rules. When Chris Sullivan and Robert Basham started the chain they wanted to have some life beyond steakhouse management for their two interests: boating and golf. Figuring their managers should get the same, they determined the Outbacks would only be open in the evenings – one shift a day. They thought offering everything all the time would water down the product. They decided to open less hours and do it better. What they discovered was both their waiters and their pastor avoided burnout (industry average manager turnover = 35%; Outback turnover = 5.4%). The point: doing less and doing it better. The Outback Steak-Church would do a few things really well.

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