How to Assure Your Dining Is a Favorite Place

Time and again though, the root cause of disconnect is that a club’s governance, membership and management all do not have a common understanding of what the promised product should be.

As the general manager, responsible for producing a highly desirable member experience they can’t get anywhere else, you’ve just learned that only 24% of your membership is very satisfied with your club, overall, when 35% is the club industry average. Additionally, you’ve learned that 92% of your members think the club should be one of their favorite places to dine, but only 45% say that it actually is. Your club’s a la carte dining amenity ranks highest in importance amongst all your club’s amenities with an importance rating of 4.8 out of 5 (5 being the highest). However, only 45% are satisfied with the food, only 38% are satisfied with how consistently the food is prepared and only 40% are satisfied with the product variety. These stats and ratios are actual ratings from a club surveyed by McMahon Group.

Rarely are these poor and disconnected ratings caused by blatant ineptitude on the part of the chef, his staff and/or the dining service team. Certainly, the ability to consistently execute delivering an understood and promised product is a key contributor to building high satisfaction ratings among members. Time and again though, the root cause of disconnect is that a club’s governance, membership and management all do not have a common understanding of what the promised product should be. It is impossible to be everyone’s favorite place to eat; but, your club can certainly be a consistently very good place to eat, drink and be merry if the environment is right and the product is defined, delivered consistently and at an anticipated quality and value level.

Being a good place to eat, drink and be merry (aka “Favorite Place”) requires a team effort.

The team is not just made up of staff and management who must have the ability, focus and passion to produce and deliver; it requires a partnership with your club’s governance and membership where goals are set, understood and agreed upon. It also requires making sure the club’s dining facility is capable of manufacturing and delivering the “Favorite Place” product and experiences everyone anticipates.

So, What’s a GM to Do?

  • Establish a Dining Planning Team made up of at least one Board member, several club members representing all club demographics, the Executive Chef, Chef du Cuisine, Clubhouse/Food & Beverage Manager and Dining Room Manager.
  • Establish a Mission and Vision for the club’s dining product. What are the club’s dining goals and aspirations? Who are we serving? What are we providing and at what quality level and price point?
  • Educate and train front and back-of-house teams on product delivery points, quality levels and service goals. Ensure they have the tools to be successful.
  • Communicate to the entire membership what products, service levels and value they should expect upon every dining experience.
  • Establish systematic, trusted and transparent methods for receiving member feedback and regularly encourage its use.
  • Focus on executing consistently and flawlessly. Learn to repeat success.

Managing strategically and systematically, engaging a team focus and process, having accurate data, research and feedback that shows where you are today and understanding your goals for the future will enable you to achieve success and establish your club as a “Favorite Place” where your members will dine often.

In our clubs, the goal should not be to have the best gourmet dining served at every meal. We just want to provide consistently good dining that members will use frequently because it is one of their favorite places to dine. For more information or to arrange a complimentary First Impressions Visit at your club, please click here feel out the First Impressions form 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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