Winston-Salem restaurant offers discount for displays of gratitude

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Customers who pray, meditate, or simply say ‘thank you’ before eating are getting a nice surprise on their bills at Mary’s Gourmet Diner — 15 percent off.

Owner Mary Haglund says she enjoys watching the moment of quietness some customers show before eating.

“It’s a gift to us to watch them appreciate our food,” Haglund said who co-owns the restaurant with her daughter.

Whether a bowed head or a few seconds of stillness, Haglund tries to notice all displays of gratitude.

She has been offering the discount for the past four years at the restaurant on North Trade Street.

“We don’t tell the people they’re getting a discount,” Haglund said. “We’ve never promoted it.  We just present the ticket.”

It’s a ticket presented to all customers no matter who or what they believe in.

“This is not a religious thing,” she said. “This is a thankful thing.”

The discount isn’t a set policy or rule. It’s up to the server’s discretion.

Some choose to give the discount, others don’t.

“My wait staff is under no obligation,” Haglund said. “Some people I have that work here are kind of opposed to it and that’s fine.”

After a recent customer who got the discount posted her receipt on Facebook, the news went viral and so did criticism.

“A lot of people on the Internet right now have a lot of negative things to say about it,” Haglund said.

“It’s Christian, or it’s this, or it’s that,” she said. “It’s not. It’s just an attitude of gratitude.”

It’s an attitude some customers say brings a different energy to the restaurant.

“There’s just an atmosphere here of an open-heartedness,” said one customer.

“I think it’s a reflection on the ownership and what they feel and value as important,” said Curtis Hodge, a customer.

11 comments

  • Curious

    Why did they have to water it down? Was this in response to atheists? The vast majority of Winston-Salem residents are Christians and would not be “meditating”, but saying Grace. There are few things as all-American as saying Grace before a meal.

    • 98% Hipocrites live in churches

      The vast majority in Winston Salem is Christian? Man your fkn stupid, Christians don’t judge others, Christians don’t criticize others in church, Christians don’t go out and brag about praying and pray just so others will think they are Christians, A true Christian, Is someone that has their own personal relationship with God, When they pray or talk to him they do it in private, They don’t sit in judgment of others because they don’t live the same lifestyle. That’s why I don’t go to church anymore, Because there are more hypocrites in church than there is anywhere in the world

  • Jeanie Nelson

    I pray before or after I eat and where ever I eat. This Diner is offering people a time of silence is what it sounds like not Christian just a time of silence which is very common in society.

  • FaithC

    Everyone should take a moment before every meal to be thankful for that meal. It does not have to be a religious thing, unless you choose it to be and it does not matter what religion. People just need to be thankful they have a meal when so many in so many places are going without one.

  • Ken

    Thanks for your wonderful gift of acknowledging gratitude, I am amazed that anyone would have an objection. If everyone had an attitude of gratitude the world would be a much better place.

    Ken Vanhoy Rail Fence Farm

  • Helena

    He is not making everyone pray,just the ones that don’t think they are the ultimate & greatest beings. Don’t fight the good fight the evil. Don’t be afraid of God.

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