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 Tom Strutz

Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Tom left sunny Southern California at the ripe old age of 17 to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.  After graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering, he spent 11 years on active duty in the Army and then another 11 years in the Army Reserves, eventually retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  Along the way, Tom earned a Master’s Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Florida International University in Miami.  During his 22-years in the Army, he had a chance to see the world, with assignments in South Korea, Germany, the Pentagon, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Alabama, Maryland and Washington state.

Tom has been with the McMahon Group since 1990, serving as head of the survey and market research division.  During that time, he has worked with over 1,500 private clubs on a wide variety of survey and research projects, achieving the rank of “Survey Guru” at McMahon.

Over the years, Tom has been a jack of many sports – golf, tennis, racquetball, squash, water skiing, snow skiing, running – but a master of none.  His current pastime passions are gardening, cycling and nature photography – often combining the latter two on rides at a lake near his home in suburban St. Louis.

Tom and his wife Marlene have two children in their 20’s.  Katy is an artist working at an animation studio in Portland, Oregon, and Marcus is studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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