Why Every Club Should Have a Dining Master Plan

Your members will spend more time at your club if they enjoy their dining experience.
Your members will spend more time at your club if they enjoy their dining experience.

One of the biggest challenges in master planning club facilities is differentiating the various dining offerings a golf and country club has to offer. For many clubs with a main kitchen facility, all or most of the food is prepared in one place with one culinary team. This often leads to all the food tasting the same, looking the same and being the same. The opportunity exists in almost every club to add diversity in menu themes, pricing and atmosphere to give members more reasons to use their clubs for dining.

Let’s face it, traditional mixed grills with their open bars have become obsolete and so has the food served in them. Private clubs have to innovate with new dining offerings if they are to compete with the plethora of trendy restaurants that are in the vanguard of where members frequent as their “Favorite Dining Places”.

Each club dining offering should be complementary to a club’s entire dining strategy, not a direct competitor. The goal of every club should be that of being “one of their members four or five favorite dining places”. Yet today only 42% of members consider their club’s dining offerings as a favorite place, while 92% want it to be. 

Every major club should be able to offer:

  1. The trendy casual grill for families with televisions, adjacent but separated bar/lounge, open kitchens and connected family alcoves for families with young children with more reasonable pricing.
  2. An upscale, more adult bistro dining offering.
  3. A Starbucks type coffee lounge gathering place for all day very casual dress adjacent to fitness/wellness facilities.
  4.  The most popular covered, outdoor casual dining offering used for a good six months of the year with porch fans, heaters and an adjacent bar area.
  5. The men’s grill as another special locker room place for men and similar facilities for women like in Texas.
  6. Halfway house and pool area snack bar dining offerings that have limited menus, quick food service offering specialty items (such as the best hot dog at Butterfield in Chicago and Bobby’s fried egg sandwich in St. Louis) and swimming pool food with some imagination in addition to a tiki hut place for adults to hang out, offering resort style poolside service.
  7. And while we are talking about club food, why not be sure the staff dining room has good food too. Afterall, it is the waitstaff which sells the food to the members.



Let’s become innovative with our dining outlets. For fifty years now we have been giving members the same mixed grill experience, and members are tired of it. Energize your culinary team to make what is arguably the members’ most important club offering truly one of their favorite places at your club. Let McMahon help master plan your dining concepts. 

Now it’s time to master plan your entire dining concept, not just its facilities. 

Read another Dining Article by clicking Here



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