How Achieving “Favorite Place Status” Drove $20 Million Club Improvement Project

Quiet Dining

In 2014, Country Club of New Canaan surveyed its members, which exposed opportunities for growth in upgrading facilities, programs and services.

They then developed a club improvement master plan to upgrade their facilities; but, there was a problem. Over the years, the Club’s membership had not been very happy with their experiences in a la carte dining, which the survey reported was one of the most important reasons members stayed at CCNC. Why invest money for upgraded facilities if the Club, today, cannot get their member a la carte dining and social experiences right?

The Club’s governance, member committees and management circled their wagons.

They determined that the best chance to fix CCNC’s service delivery problems and achieve “Favorite Place Status” was to listen to the membership’s concerns, involve them in the solutions and communicate both effectively and often with them so their (members’) expectations were aligned with the capabilities the Club can deliver. Management then established procedures and systems that would consistently deliver the expected products and services the members now anticipate receiving. This was instrumental in turning around and enhancing both CCNC’s member a la carte dining experiences and members’ enthusiasm with their Club.

Today, CCNC is enjoying a renaissance with its a la carte dining program.

“We knew we had a longstanding issue with member satisfaction in our dining program. Richard Lareau was instrumental in helping us identify the deficiencies in how our Club’s governance, management and chef communicated with each other both tactically in day-to-day operations as well as strategically in setting longer-term goals and objectives. Richard confirmed to us the talent of our chef, helped our management re-evaluate all our best practices and workflows, and he helped guide us as we instituted a series of corrective actions. We relaunched our new culinary program earlier this year to very positive reviews from the members, as well as a subsequent substantial increase in morale in both the front and the back of the house.”

Bill Pratt, President
The Country Club of New Canaan 

The Club also recently received a 90% membership approval to move forward with their $20 million club improvement project. Congratulations to the Club’s leadership, member committees and management for coming together and aligning their mission and vision with consistent execution to achieve “Favorite Place Status”.

If your Club delivers inconsistent and unsatisfactory a la carte dining experiences, scheduling a complimentary Dining First Impressions Visit is the first step to achieving “Favorite Place Status” at your club. Please click here to schedule a First Impressions today!

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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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