New Trends in Club Dining: When is Old New Again?

The Royal Treatment

Early man, 350,000 years ago, discovered that meat cooked over a fire and eaten while hot was far more enjoyable than meat eaten cold and raw: so began the evolution of the art and enjoyment of dining.

The true beginning of the renaissance of the art in dining is attributed to King Henry II of France (mid-16th century). He was lucky enough to marry Catherine de’ Medici, the great-granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent of Italy. Lorenzo was the patriarch of the cultural renaissance in Europe. From Italy to France, Catherine brought the refinements of sauces, breads and pasta as we know them today. She also brought etiquette surrounding the dining table and the novel invention of ice cream. One hundred years later, King Louis XIV of France finished building Versailles and was responsible for formalizing the organizational structure of the palace’s kitchen. He assigned titles, rank, and acclaim to the various positions of responsibility that produced the various cuisines the Royal Court enjoyed daily.

Today, the environments and ambiances our members seek to enjoy a good meal and leisure time may look different from the days of old.

At some clubs, the ritual of today’s attire may be relaxed, or in some dining venues at other clubs than from the traditions of yesteryear. Regardless, the basic rules about what constitutes a great dining experience haven’t changed for a long, long time.

King Henry II, Catherine de’ Medici and King Louis XIV all enjoyed these consistent and reliable experiences 500 to 600 years ago. If your members, today, leave their club after a dining experience feeling anything less than the King and Queen of their Club Castle, they have been underserved and you are missing a big opportunity. The basics of great food, great service and an overall great experience today, are the same as long, long ago.

The Royal Treatment

  • Are your members always welcomed and greeted by name, and seated promptly at a comfortable, accommodating table of their choice?
  • Are your employees aptly in charge of your members’ dining experiences? Are they appropriately trained and fully aware of all the accoutrements that accompany achieving a successful professional dining outcome?
  • Is your hot food served hot, cold food delivered cold and is fresh, really fresh, consistently?
  • Does all food prepared consistently pass the test of deliciousness?
  • Is the dining service experience consistently timely and accurate?
  • Are members’ special requests easily and eagerly accommodated?
  • Are all member a la carte dining experiences consistently reliable, to the degree that members are excited to bring their special friends and business associates to the club on a regular basis?

The McMahon Process

McMahon Group has a strategic, systematic and multi-dimensional process to help you evaluate, formulate, implement and deliver a consistent, reliable and high-quality a la carte dining experience, making your club one of your members’ favorite places to dine. If you feel you are delivering anything less than a great dining experience for your members, please click here to e-mail Alison Duffy.

Share This Article

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.

More articles by Richard Lareau
Originally published in: