I stopped at the diner last evening to find only a couple of tables in the middle of dinner time. This time of year can find business a bit sparce at times. With nice weather, people are out doing things. And we, ourselves, had just gotten back from a car show in Terrebonne and the air show in Madras.
It brought me to an article that I had just read on how casual diners are struggling right now to keep their share of customers due primarily to the state of the times. People just cannot afford to dine out like they used to. It was an online article and I always read the comments afterward, most of which validated the article. Such things as people remarking that they are eating at home as they just do not have the spendable income that they used to.
I drove away from the diner, processing in my head just how much we were losing that night. We had just about as many crew members as we did customers. I jotted down on a post it note in my head to check and recheck the numbers. The dining business can be a very fine line at times.
As I drove down to a 7-11 store to rent a movie for the night, I began to ponder on all of the up and coming benefit events that take up alot of our time. Are we overcommitting our selves there? After all, the business has to make a profit to survive.
This Wednesday is our End of Summer Car Cruise for the High Desert A's. We turn over the profits that evening as a sort of thank you to the group that has become a sort of family to us. They eat at the diner every Wednesday morning and once a month in the evening. We do so many things with the group also, meeting up with some of them at the Terrebonne car show.
On the heals of that, we recently agreed with the Central Oregon Council on Aging to do a benefit breakfast for Veterans on Sept 11. Now, that one does bug me a bit as I found out last week that they are charging for the event. What was suppose to be a benefit for veterans seems to be one for the organization. I logged down another thought post it to talk to them next week about that. If we are providing a meal free of charge, then at least veterans should be free.
The very next day, on Sept 12, we are doing another meal for veterans at Vince Genna stadium. This is a end of summer BBQ for the Band of Brothers. This one seems to have it's stresses of it's own in that we are not sure and will not have a final count until a few days before causing Jim to worry a bit about the processing of the food. If the numbers are high, it will tax him a bit especially with the breakfast just the day before.
On the heals of that, will be the annual Holdem for Habitat World Series event. Our weekly tourney culminates in the first week of October with a two day event. The winner of the second day gets a trip to the Oregon coast complete with a Marine Discovery tour in Newport. By my figures which are not as accurate as they used to be has us at raising over $28,000 with these weekly fun poker tournies. Besides providing the facility and part of the cost of the large prize, we also give away two meals a week to this event. I quickly process that $20 per week times 52 weeks and come up with giving away over $1000 per year.
Then there is the main event of the year, Thanksgiving. We are working with the Central Oregon Council on Aging to take this one to the next level. Actually taking over the Senior Center for the day and turning it in to a sort of mini resort for Seniors who don't have family close by for the day. If it all goes well, seniors will be able to just come in and hang out with volunteers, having their meals at prescribed times and being entertained by local artists. Meals on Wheels would take on the deliveries thus helping keep them nice and hot for the more shut in seniors.
As I drove into the parking lot and parked in front of the redbox machine, I beguin to ponder and fret a bit about it all. How much is too much? Are we overdoing this especially since I had just drove away from an empty diner. Should I be concentrating more on the profit side as after all, without it there would be no events.
And then the dark thoughts began to grip and scratch at my mind. "Just who cares?", I thought to myself. After all, if the diner does not survive and becomes a thing of the past as so many other businesses do, who will remember us? The little devil sitting on my shoulder said, "No one will remember you when you are gone.".
As I got out of my car, a man walking out of the store came over. "I know who you are and what you do.", he said, "Thank you for all that you do for the local veteran's.".
As I waited for the lady and her son who were picking out their movie, I had my head down a bit, processing what the man had just said. Deep in thought, a hand rested on my right shoulder and I looked over to see a young lady smiling at me. "Thank you for all that you do for Habitat for Humanity", she said, "Because of you and people like you, I will be getting my own house next month.".
As I picked out my movie and made my transaction, a warm feeling flushed over my body. And I said my own little thank you. "Thank you, Lord, for reminding me why.".