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Servers sing for customers’ supper

Staff writer

Country Lakes Café has brought a little bit of Branson, Mo., to Marion since 2005. Owner Barb Smith was impressed during a visit to the country music showplace by how many restaurants included singing servers.

“I thought, ‘We could do something like that,’” she said.

Tabor College student Hanna Bishop has waited tables elsewhere, and she prefers singing while doing it.

“It’s a huge thrill performing for people,” Bishop said. “You sing to bring a smile to their faces.”

Singing while waiting tables does have one problem.

“It’s a lot more nerve-wracking by yourself,” Bishop said.

She thinks customers respond positively to entertainment. In her two months at Country Lakes Café, Bishop has found tips are better when she performs.

Her love of singing started at home, where music is a family tradition — her father is a band director. Bishop began singing in church at age 5 and currently performs in I268, a ministry worship band.

“But,” she adds, “it’s not really about the money.”

Marion High School student Caroline Collett began working at the restaurant about two weeks ago. She said waiting tables is harder than entertaining customers.

“It’s all a bit overwhelming, since this is my first job waiting tables,” Collett said.

Even the non-musical employees enjoy the environment singing creates. Dining room supervisor Vickie Fine isn’t among the performers, and she prefers it that way.

“I take it as it is. I am not a singer, and I accept that,” she said. “I like listening to them.”

The singing makes everyone a little more upbeat, Fine said. She has never had a day she dreaded going to work.

“It makes it easy to put a smile on,” she said.

Servers perform most often on Friday and Saturday, Smith said. Not every weekend includes singing, because many performers have other commitments.

Customer Mark Evans enjoys the singing, despite not knowing when to expect it.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “They don’t let singing get in the way of providing service.”

Last modified Aug. 20, 2009

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