Since educators everywhere and on all levels are now using heightened technology to create virtual classrooms, YouthCUE is offering the following online course as well.





Lesson 2 – The Dexterity of Excellent Fast Food Establishments


A cool and engaging hobby is to study how successful businesses run and how their passion for excellence – or lack of it – shapes every aspect of what they do.

Fast food is of special interest because, in this enterprise, there can be found such wide, wide variance in effectiveness. Nothing can be quite as convenient, helpful, and pleasant to the average person as fast food done right. Executed well, fast food provides a significant public service. Inversely, nothing can be quite as unpleasant, gross, and distasteful as fast food poorly executed.

For fast food to really be successful, at least four dynamics come into play and stay engaged over and over again. They are:

Cleanliness – Yes, the cleanliness of the place is next to godliness, particularly in the age of COVID-19. The constant, constant, CONSTANT and effective policing of the public areas is where many fast food establishments fail.

The quality of the food – Is it good, quality, fresh food to begin with? Is it reasonably healthy? Is it prepared well in a pristine-clean environment?

Delivery of the food – Is it served promptly? Are the things that are supposed to be hot … hot? Are the things that are supposed to be cold … cold? Does it “present well” or does it appear to be thrown together at record speed by a ten-year-old?

Service – This issue deals not only with friendliness, promptness, and courteousness, but it has a lot to do with plain old competence and the continual refining of the protocols of service. Is there a great system in place to keep things clean and sparkling, to deliver the food attractively and promptly, to clean up afterwards, and to meaningfully communicate with customers, without overdoing it and getting on everyone’s nerves?

For the customer, those are the four things we care the most about. However, in order for those four things to occur, an enormous amount of behind the scenes education, practice, and training will be constantly reinforced and tirelessly fine-tuned.

When COVID-19 came crashing into our lives a few weeks ago, the fast food industry had to respond quickly and jump high. Many of these businesses had already fine-tuned to a very high level the art of drive-through service. In the past few weeks, these businesses have taken quantum leaps forward and are now performing these operations seemingly on steroids.

Yesterday, I joined a double-drive-through line of a total of 17 vehicles. Within 30 seconds, a person with a hand-held device had taken my name and 40 seconds later, captured my order and method of payment. The line kept steadily moving forward as if on a conveyor belt. Fifty-five seconds later, someone else wearing gloves was walking towards my vehicle carrying a crisp-looking paper sack in one hand and a drink in the other. “Hi there, are you Randy?” she asked with a smile. She handed me my order and, after a very short pause to wait for the huge SUV packed with at least six people ahead of me, I drove back out onto the busy street. Two minutes and 25 seconds is all it took to drive up, order, pay, receive the order, and drive away – 145 seconds flat! And the other 16 vehicles in my line had the same experience at the same time! Not bad, huh?

When I got to my destination and opened the bag, everything was in perfect order. What was supposed to be hot was hot. What was supposed to be cold was cold. Consuming my healthy, well-prepared lunch was quite pleasant.

I’ll leave it to you to guess which fast food establishment pulled off that feat. And they do it over and over again with the same efficiency, friendliness, and speed, and so do others. In doing so, they provide an important service to people and entire families on the move.

As leaders in general and student choir leaders in particular, we have a responsibility to be no less professional, passionate, competent, prepared, and personable than the best eateries in our communities. After all, we are serving up meals, too … nourishment and sustenance in the way of texts, art, theology, community, and service to others.

We, too, must have our acts together to be eternally effective.

Randy Edwards




  1. Notice above the four highlighted dynamics listed for the success of fast-food restaurants. What four dynamics would you list as the most crucial for the development of a great student choir ministry? Justify your list by description and personal experience.
  2. In what ways has COVID-19 heightened your awareness of the importance of your ministry with students?
  3. Name an anthem (title, composer, voicing, publisher, catalogue number) which has personally provided you peace and strength during these days of isolation.