Dining Success Equates to Club Success


McMahon Group has been surveying club members for over 36 years, and the most challenging aspect facing managers is dining, and the rooms, outdoor areas, and kitchens which provide it.  Members want a good, consistent dining experience all of the time, not a hit or miss one that is inconsistent. To be clear, our reference to club dining refers to your Club’s a  la carte dining venues; the restaurants in your Club that compete with the public eateries in your community that your members frequent. 


McMahon Group member satisfaction surveys consistently show that 92% of Club members say their Club should be one of their favorite places to dine, yet only 43% say it actually is. Why are clubs failing to deliver wanted dining to the majority of their members? 

A  la carte dining at clubs is a different business model than your club’s special events and banquet dining. The McMahon Group has found that the clubs that struggle with delivering a consistent quality dining experience on a day-to-day basis lack a qualified, experienced professional who knows and understands the nuances of the a  la carte restaurant business. 

Other key departments at clubs, such as golf and fitness, have staff with specialized experience in their departments. A club’s golf department has a Golf Course Superintendent responsible for delivering course conditions to the club’s specifications. Your Club’s Fitness/Wellness department has specialists directing member experiences in Yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, and Nutrition. 


Your club’s dining journey must start with your Board and General Manager agreeing that achieving Favorite Place Status is crucial to the Club’s success. Secondarily, you must understand what your members want in dining by using focus groups and visiting restaurants your members frequent. Finally, your club must add a talented Dining Director who ideally has for-profit restaurant dining experience and understands the nuances that consistently make an everyday dining experience unique and memorable. Clubs that have the greatest success in dining are the most successful clubs overall.


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About Richard Lareau

Director of Member Experience

Richard has worked in private club management since 1992. His more than 24 years of experience as a Club Manager and Chief Operating Officer, achieving the highest levels of success in Board relations and as an operations specialist has garnered him well-earned acclaim in the industry. Successful management systems in team building, food and beverage, human resources, communications, marketing, golf, fitness, aquatics, and youth programming are all in the tool bag he carries with him when visiting clubs seeking help.

He has proven success in developing and implementing strategic plans along with master facility planning, kitchen and dining room design development, and construction management.

Richard is a Certified Club Manager (CCM) and Certified Chief Executive (CCE). He is the winner of the 2009 Mel Rex Award from the Excellence in Club Management® Awards (ECM); and, was awarded Club Manager of the Year by the Texas Lone Star Chapter in 2013 for his achievements and contributions to the private club industry. Richard is an active member of Les Amis des Escoffier, Chaine des Rotisserie, The International Wine Society and a lifetime honorary member of the Catering Executives Club of America.

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