The Dining Survey

Better Increase Club Dining Graph

Our survey research has shown that among all types of private clubs, member dining is consistently ranked as the most important club activity to members.  Even at traditional golf and country clubs, member dining ranks up there with golf in its importance to members. Our research has also shown that there is a very strong correlation between overall member satisfaction and their satisfaction with the dining experience.  In conducting over 2,000 surveys at private clubs, we have yet to come across a club that had outstanding overall member satisfaction but poor dining ratings.  Having an exceptional dining program is among the toughest nuts to crack in a private club, but when it is cracked, dining becomes a great source of pride to a club’s membership.

The Targeted Dining Survey

While McMahon offers comprehensive surveys that address all Club activities at once, we also frequently assist private clubs with targeted surveys specifically designed to receive member input on individual club activities.  The targeted dining survey is designed to achieve two objectives:  1) Determine member satisfaction with all aspects of the existing Club dining experience (facilities, ambiance, food quality, service, menu, etc.), 2) Find out what, if anything, would attract members to dine at the Club more often, and if dining is achieving favorite place status.

The dining satisfaction survey results provide us not only with percentages for each item (satisfied versus dissatisfied), but mean or average ratings that we’re able to compare to our national database of private clubs, which gives perspective to the results, as shown in the chart on bottom left.

When asking members what would encourage them to dine at the club more often, a very telling option from this list is “Nothing – I already dine at the club as often as I care to.”  Analyzing the results of this question by demographics can be very informative.  We frequently see that only 10% to 15% of club members under age 46 already dine at the club as often as they care to, compared to over 50% of members over the age of 65.  

On the flip side, 75% of members under age 46 may say that an improved poolside dining venue would get them to dine at the club more often, compared to only 10% of those over age 65.  Below right is a sample of results from a typical member survey.

If you’re looking for a way to improve member satisfaction with your club’s dining experience and also significantly improve overall member satisfaction with the club, a good first step may be a targeted member dining survey. 



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About Bill McMahon

Bill is a private club planner providing strategic planning, member research analysis and facility planning services for private clubs across North America. Bill joined McMahon Group in 1999 and has worked with over 200 clubs helping to solve their strategic and facility needs.

Bill is Co-Editor of Club Trends, a quarterly report published with the National Club Association (NCA). He has written for many private club publications like The BoardRoom Magazine, Club Director and more, and has been a featured speaker at national conferences, local chapters and other associations serving the private club industry. He is also on the NCA’s Communications Committee.

Bill has been instrumental in developing and enhancing the McMahon Group online presence. He created and runs Clubtopia® ( – an online business directory of firms and companies serving the club industry.

Bill’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Glen Echo Country Club (St. Louis) and the Missouri Athletic Club (St. Louis). He has served on the Boards of Cinema St. Louis ( and the Tennessee Society of St. Louis (former President).


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