An Ocean of Opportunity: A Q&A With Ed Doyle, President of RealFood
Surﬁng the skies on a regular basis, Ed Doyle and his team support more than 600 Troon-managed properties worldwide. As a key member of the Troon food and beverage leadership team and president of Boston-based RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design, we asked Doyle to share his perspective on the role of dining in a golf-centric universe, the secret ingredient to today’s engaged service team, and the shifting tides of consumer expectations.
TROON: What role does dining and drinking play in a golf-centric environment?
DOYLE: A huge role, best supporting actor. The breadth and range of our portfolio is expansive, from municipal courses to the most renowned private clubs in the world. At Troon, we live by the mantra: We strive to make every club the best version of itself. This means we have to bring customized solutions and resources in order to help each individual club. If you want to talk about prime porterhouse steak or the best roller hotdog, we will. And they’re both just as important. This idea reminds us that we need to listen more than we talk … understanding a club’s stakeholders and trusting in its governance, we focus on making sure we’re aligning the expectations of food and beverage with the club’s strategic initiatives.
How is Troon raising the bar in food and beverage?
We want the club to be your favorite place. We’ve illuminated this idea across our portfolio. Like your house, when you spend enough time in it, you’re like, “we’ve got to brighten this place up.” If we’re doing a good job, members and guests are at the club a lot. This means we’re constantly after better food, beverage, and brighter experiences. Our number one strategy is to make members and guests really, really happy.
Do you encounter any common “club dining” misconceptions?
In general, all of us, as consumers, have ever-elevated expectations. By design, with club dining, we are dealing with an audience who have set high standards for themselves — they know what great is. So the question is: How do we exceed their expectations on a daily basis? Restaurants aren’t benchmarked on the granular level that our audiences benchmark us on; diners don’t visit the same restaurant four to ﬁve times a week like our members do. If our objective is that every time it’s better than the last time, the more you come, the harder it is to achieve that goal. Each visit becomes a little step in the trajectory to what’s considered a great experience. As club professionals, we not only must accept this, but embrace it. When we adopt this philosophy, that what you did yesterday is no longer good enough, we need to constantly be striving to execute, innovate and elevate. The misconception is … that clubs are behind the times.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Doyle has worked in some of the finest kitchens and food service operations across the industry. He brings more than 35 years of extensive operational expertise to the broad portfolio that Troon and RealFood serve.
How do you achieve this daily drive toward greatness within clubs?
We surround ourselves with the best of the best. Whether hiring or developing, our goal is to propel the people delivering the experience.
At the recent Golf Inc. Summit in La Quinta, Calif., my colleagues and I talked about ways to deliver the wow factor. This year, it was about wow-ing the wow-deliverers, the hospitality teams behind the magic. Starting here, with the right people and the right culture, the team will consistently deliver those little moments of hospitality that no one wrote in a training manual or on a to-do list, because we have fostered that kind of culture.
What is something you do every day to achieve that drive yourself?
I take a minute to make sure I connect with what’s really important in my life. For me, that’s my loved ones, remembering that no matter how important what we do is, we have to keep it all in perspective. ▪