The Summer Reopening Opportunity – It’s Your Club’s Dining Program


The reopening challenge will soon be upon us as we move into the post-COVID summer. Who would have thought that a new coronavirus, a relative of the common cold Corona, would have us facing life or death club issues? And this virus is not going away until a vaccination or treatment can be developed by medical science. So it seems we will have to live with COVID-19 and learn how to control it, at least for the time being. As the government is now beginning the process of reopening the economy and relaxing limitations on people as the Wall Street Journal is forecasting, we must begin the process of reopening clubs. And this will almost certainly begin by making sure everyone entering a club’s premises is virus free by testing them every day, every time they enter any part of their club. This is not as difficult as it might seem to accomplish as banks, like Bank of America, are already doing a version of this controlled entry and it could easily include virus testing when the test kits are available.

So when, not if, we reopen to our members, it is easy to see how outdoor recreation activities can be provided. But the Club inside offerings that brings members together in social, connected ways, especially dining, drinking and enjoying one another’s company are the challenges. If we lose the ability to come together, we lose our clubs.Since dining is the glue making clubs work, we have to offer what we call “Favorite Place Dining” for our members in the safest possible environment, but still one that is fun and complementary to all other activities each club provides.

Clubs actually have a unique advantage of providing members a safe place to rejoin the normal world. But they must provide the area of refuge from the virus to the maximum extent possible. No public or commercial restaurant can do, or provide all the good things a club does in self-imposed controlled environment. This is our advantage. So let’s get ready for summer, develop your safety and testing program, and be ready to welcome back our members in a spirit of WE WILL OVERCOME.

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About Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA

Bill is a strategic, financial and architectural planning consultant to clubs throughout North America. He established McMahon Group in 1983 as an affiliate of the family architectural firm his grandfather founded in 1906. Over the ensuing years, the firm has expanded its club consulting services beyond clubhouse improvement planning to a full range of services for all aspects of private club challenges. To date, the firm has assisted more than 2,000 private clubs across the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. McMahon Group provides a unique approach to developing club facility projects first establishing design and financial feasibility so membership approval is achieved. Thereafter final design and construction firms are selected to build the member approved project.

Mr. McMahon is unique among club consultants in providing an integrated strategic, financial and architectural approach to solving club problems. His personal involvement with his own clubs in St. Louis (serving in the roles of president, board member and committee member) has allowed him to bring unparalleled experience to each client. Mr. McMahon’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Racquet Club Ladue (St. Louis), University Club of St. Louis, Spring Lake Yacht Club (Michigan) and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Mr. McMahon is a graduate of Washington University School of Architecture in St. Louis and holds architecture licenses in 44 U.S. states and in Ontario, Canada. He is a featured author in industry publications and a featured speaker at the annual conferences of the Club Managers Association of America, the Canadian Society of Club Managers, the National Club Association and the Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals. He serves as a visiting lecturer at continuing education sessions offered by regional CMAA chapters and at Michigan State University. Bill is a co-author of McMahon Club Trends®, the comprehensive research reports on strategic issues facing private clubs published with the National Club Association. He is also founder of the Excellence in Club Management Award.

Mr. McMahon is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and the National Club Association. He is a former president of the Missouri Council of Architects, AIA and has served on various charitable boards in the St. Louis area.

More articles by Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA
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