Friday, November 09, 2012

Family Cupboard, Lancaster, PA Up For Sale

I have written about the Family Cupboard Restaurant and their buffet many times on this site. The owner of the restaurant has announced that he has the restaurant up for sale. I have commented that there is a connection between the family that owns and runs Family Cupboard and the family that owns and runs Dienner’s Restaurant, also in Lancaster. It turns out that the father of the man who owns Family Cupboard is the owner of Dienner’s and this connection leads to the reason why Family Cupboard is up for sale.

The owners of Family Cupboard are John Dienner and his wife. John’s brother has been working with their father and mother to run Dienner’s Restaurant on Route 30 in Lancaster. John’s brother will be leaving the business and John has said that he feels that it is only right for him and his wife to leave Family Cupboard and go and help run Dienner’s. So, Family Cupboard has been listed for sale.

One thing that John Dienner is looking for is someone that will buy the restaurant and keep it running as it is – including keeping all of the employees. This restaurant has a very close family feel and one reason for that is that the employees are treated like family. For that matter their guests are treated the same. I do hope that they find a buyer who is willing to do this. So many new owners have their own ideas and want to do things their own way. On one level you cannot blame them, but when buying a successful operation, as this is, it is a road to failure if they do not continue what made the location successful before.

 Some of you who are regular readers will recall, that a number of years back Family Cupboard was the “new name and location” of a restaurant called Harvest View – owned and operated by John Dienner and his wife and many of the employees who you will find at Family Cupboard now. They wanted to move the restaurant to a location that would be more visible than the back road location in the middle of the farm fields. Harvest View was taken over by an absentee owner who was not from this area and had no idea about what would make this restaurant/buffet work – and allowed it to slip until it went out of business. And it went out of business with good reason. (See some old articles here that will show you why.) My fear is that will happen again here at Family Cupboard. It is extremely important that the new owner be a local and someone who appreciates this restaurant for what it is – as it is. Sadly, with business, you often get into a position when you have to sell that you just sell. I hope that this does not happen here. There is another restaurant, unrelated to Family Cupboard, that was the Leola Family Restaurant which also had a small buffet. That restaurant was sold to Greek owners from the “big city” who ran this country farm cooking restaurant with a semi-Greek menu and while it took some time for the restaurant to close – it did close and is sitting empty after quite some time.

 I have written about Dienner’s. The buffet menu is close, if not sometimes, just the same as Family Cupboard. My personal preference has been Family Cupboard but Dienner’s is good. The only problem at Dienner’s is their hours. They are only open until 6:00 pm for dinner except for one day – Friday when they are open to the same 8:00 pm as all of the other local and buffet restaurants. My great hope is that John Dienner when he comes to Dienner’s increases the dinner hours to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday – as they were at Family Cupboard. This would certainly get me there more often – and while Dienner’s is always crowded, it would increase income from customers who find dinner before 6:00 pm just too early – and that income is nice for the owners too.

I have an idea for John Dienner and I hope that he reads this article. Don’t sell Family Cupboard. Hire an operating manager who you can trust to run the restaurant and buffet just as it is. While the restaurant continues in the family it is almost a guarantee that their employee family and the good food and service that Family Cupboard is known for will continue.

John Dienner will start full time at Dienner’s Restaurant in January 2013. This Thanksgiving will be the last Thanksgiving Buffet served at Family Cupboard as it is now – and that Thanksgiving buffet, I hear, is fabulous.

I also hope that John Dienner continues his seasonal newsletter only now to the customers of Dienners. I look forward to seeing this and read it right away when it arrives by email. It used to be mailed out until postage got expensive. It really does give a feeling of family and often contains news and tidings about the employees and their families. This is something that you just don’t get at most restaurants – in fact, in my experience, at any restaurant!

It was very sad news for me to learn that Family Cupboard is up for sale. I wish John Dienner all of the best and I know he will bring greater things to Dienner's. 

Family Cupboard is located at 3029 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505 and the phone is (717) 768-4510. There is a website and it is linked at the side of this page. There is also a link there for Dienner’s which is located at at 2855 Lincoln Highway East in East Ronks, Pennsylvania (This is US Route 30). Their phone number is 717-687-9571.

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