Food and beverage, for any club, goes beyond the menu, and even that aspect requires thoughtful consideration. Along with counterparts in travel & tourism, lodging and recreation, the food and beverage (F&B) sector is the largest segment of the hospitality industry. Therefore, it’s important to invest time and money into this amenity’s output and ensure its branding is in top form.
While many external and internal forces are at play with food and beverage, Troon’s experts can provide strategies to help your club make the most of what you can control.
External Factors Set the Scene for Today’s Food and Beverage Industry
Before COVID-19 hit, private club members ranked the importance of their food and beverage experiences higher than any other club amenity, including golf. Since then, the industry has faced plenty of adversity between labor shortages, wage pressure, supply chain disruption and social distancing.
However, the country club environment is highly sought after and, in many cases, preferable to the downtown restaurant scene thanks to the convenience of being in one destination for weekend activities and meals.
With most club members returning to a pre-COVID routine, eating on property after a round of golf is no longer the only – or best – option. Country clubs have to compete with food and beverage experiences offered outside the club’s gates.
One key point to remember is that the food and beverage amenity is likely the only club outlet used by every member. If executed properly, your club can continue to keep members on property, enjoying all that you have to offer.
Private Club Food and Beverage Operations You Can Control
The success (or failure) of a food and beverage operation primarily comes from within. According to our Troon food and beverage experts, club managers have considerable power in controlling these operations, thus providing a sustainable and high-quality experience.
The trick here is to recognize that the food and beverage operations go beyond what’s served at the table; it articulates the club brand and overall commitment to customer service.
After collecting and analyzing the data behind members’ food preferences, internal processes and so on, it’s time to map out how the experience will go, from reservation to departure. Knowing your overall goals and detailed distinctions will keep your club’s offerings at the forefront of members’ minds. This can be as big-picture as the type of food you offer down to the wording on a menu.
After all, curating a menu is a science and an art and is one of the most important expressions of a hospitality experience. With a definition of success in mind, club managers can logically plan process efficiencies and the chefs can leverage that knowledge to produce delicious dishes that will keep members coming back.
All these factors lead to a comprehensive brand and messaging opportunity that will help make your club – and your food and beverage offerings – stand apart from the crowded field of hospitality options available to your members.
Food and Beverage Helps Define Your Brand
A club’s brand is the perception of the experience in the eyes of its stakeholders – the staff, the members, their guests and the community. It encompasses the concept, the experience, the signature elements and touchpoints and is expressed through the outlet name, the visual look and feel and related messaging.
When executed well, branding leaves a memorable impression in consumers’ minds and can be seen throughout the club’s amenities, especially a successful food and beverage operation.
Once you know how you’d like your club to be perceived, you can manage your food and beverage program’s inputs, such as budget allocations, systems and procedures, training and even the smaller details like uniform selection and tabletop decisions. Food and beverage marketing is also critical to your club’s consistent messaging and ties the entire experience together.
This proven process guarantees the delivery of an extraordinary hospitality experience even before a member steps foot on property and is mainly under your club’s control.
How Troon Can Help Your Golf Course and Food and Beverage Offerings
Our various teams are experts in their fields, from golf course management to food and beverage. As the largest club management company in the world, we can confidently say we know golf and all its complementary amenities.
While our food and beverage team will conduct an audit and build a custom strategy based on your club’s offerings and needs, we have a few general tips we’ve learned over the years.
1. Think Inside the Box
Yes, you read that correctly. We’ve found thinking inside the box first is the best way to think outside of it.
Some of our most valuable resources are right under our noses and are living out your club’s current processes every day, from serving food, tending the bar, writing schedules and more. Troon has found that engaging with those in the trenches and gaining their insights is the best inspiration for thinking outside the box later.
2. Ask Better Questions
In a world as ever-changing as hospitality, it’s important to pause and re-evaluate your goals, processes and offerings on a regular basis. When you begin thinking about those differently, you start to ask better questions that will beget better answers, getting you closer to your objectives.
The following sample questions can take your reflection one step further and open opportunities that haven’t come to mind before:
How does membership view your dining operations?
Do your food and beverage operations reflect what you’re trying to deliver?
What is the one thing members get from your club’s dining experience that they can’t get anywhere else?
What is your role as a general manager, sous chef or restaurant manager?
How have these roles changed, or should they change?
What are the key metrics that will determine the success or failure of your efforts?
How do I increase productivity?
How do I reduce my labor load?
How do I make it easier for my current team to execute consistently?
Our list of these types of questions is endless. Our point is that a different perspective can lead to a different path to success.
3. Define Success
In this case, “success” and “excellence” can be interchangeable. Hitting that premium level of service and offerings is what will garner you the success you’ve set out to achieve.
The hospitality industry is defined by excellence, and managing your club and team’s definition will deliver that experience to your members.
4. Welcome New Ideas
It’s easy to remain complacent if your current processes perform relatively well. However, avoiding innovation will only hurt your club in the long run, making it crucial to question practices and welcome new ideas consistently.
Whether it’s a different approach or a new path, staying open-minded will allow you to discover new efficiencies, redefine member experiences and evolve the food and beverage industry standards.
Trust Troon to Enhance Your Brand
While some factors are uncontrollable – like a pandemic – there are plenty of opportunities within grasp to make a difference in your club’s dining experience. Troon is here to help you build a strong brand through data analysis and years of expertise so your members continue to choose your country club food and beverage offerings again and again.