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  • 8/17/2019 club food.pdf



      10Club Food and Beverage Operations

    This chapter was writen and contributed by Catherine M. Gustafson, Ph.D., CCM, CHE, University of South Carolina; and Jack D. Ninemeier,

    Ph.D., CHA, Michigan State University

    All clubs off er some type of food and beverage service to members. Some clubs have just one food and beverage outlet, such as a dining room off ering a la carte menu selections for one or more meal periods. Other clubs provide their members with a wide array of dining venues that, within the same club, not only cater to discriminating members who desire fine dining, but also to children who simply want a snack at the swimming pool.

    There are many similarities, but also many diff erences, between club food and  beverage operations and their counterparts in other segments of the hospitality industry. In this chapter, you will learn about the importance of food and beverage operations to clubs. We will discuss the organization of club food and beverage departments, and explain why, for any food and beverage outlet, it all starts with the menu. We will take a look at food and beverage staff  issues before examining fi

    nancial aspects of club food and beverage operations. Finally, the chapter con-cludes with a look at trends that may aff ect the future of club food and beverage operations.

    The Importance of Food and Beverage Operations in Clubs

    People join private clubs for a variety of reasons: for business or social reasons, for access to high-quality recreational facilities, for the exclusivity the club off ers, for the personal recognition and service that clubs provide, or because of family tradi- tion. Most members likely did not join their club for the sole purpose of having access to its food and beverage services. However, there is no doubt that food and

     beverage facilities are important for atracting and keeping club members.

    A club must have members to exist. Every club must satisfy their members to obtain their business. Food and beverage operations in clubs of all types are very important to the clubs’ success, for a variety of reasons:

    First , excellent food and beverage operations help to atract new members. Consider, for example, the positive impressions that are formed by a member’s

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    guest when he or she enjoys a meal or dining experience at the club while atend- ing a family or business occasion.

    Second , a club’s food and beverage services are important for member reten- tion. Members’ expectations about all aspects of their club are very high, and excel- lent food and beverage facilities go a long way toward keeping members happy with their club.

    Third , a club’s food and beverage operations must atain the financial goals set for them and therefore contribute to the financial health of the club. Club manag- ers should establish revenue targets for their food service operations when they are creating the club’s yearly budget. In addition, they must control the signifi- cant costs incurred in this department. The financial goals of most clubs are seri- ously aff ected by the fiscal success—or lack thereof—of their food and beverage operations.

    Fourth , when the club’s food and beverage staff  consistently delivers quality food and exemplary service, club members are more likely to see the club in a positive light. What food and beverage managers and staff  do (and don’t do) has a considerable impact on the perception that members have about their club.

    How Club Food and Beverage Operations Compare to Other Hospitality Segments

    To set the context for the study of any food and beverage operation, some writers make a distinction between commercial and non-commercial food service opera- tions.1 Commercial food service operations such as free-standing restaurants exist primarily to generate profits from the sale of food and beverage products and ser- vices. In contrast, non-commercial food service operations, such as those in edu- cational institutions or hospitals, may or may not seek to generate a profit. Non- commercial food service facilities operate within a larger host organization whose primary business is not that of providing food and beverage services.

    Clubs, along with cruise lines, casinos, amusement parks, theme parks, and a wide variety of other segments in the hospitality industry, do not exist primarily to provide food and beverage services. However, they must do so in order to meet the needs and desires of their members. Commercial and non-commercial operations are both market-driven; that is, managers of both types of operations must keep the needs and desires of the users of their products and services in mind when making decisions. Managers in both types of food and beverage operations have financial goals; those in commercial properties want to maximize profits, while those responsible for non-commercial facilities typically strive to minimize operat- ing expenses, although some seek to make profits as well. Managers in both types of operations must work hard to meet their financial goals without sacrificing the

    quality requirements that are driven by the markets their operations serve. How are club food and beverage operations similar to their counterparts in

    for-profit commercial operations? Some of the basic similarities are as follows:

     All food and beverage operations must be responsive to their markets. They are called members in clubs, guests in hotels and restaurants, patients in hospitals, and

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    students in educational facilities. Regardless of what they are called, however, consumers of food and beverage products and services are the basis upon

    which all decisions are made within any successful food and beverage oper- ation. You will find club managers and chefs discussing such questions as: What do the club members need or want? What is their definition of value? What gives this operation an edge over the competition? These are among the questions that must be addressed to position any food and beverage opera- tion and make it successful.

     Menus must be developed that represent the planning team’s best assessment of the  food and beverage products and services that are desired by the markets being served. The menu for each club food and beverage outlet is developed keeping the club members’ wants and needs in mind. The menu, in turn, drives the devel- opment and implementation of basic processes and procedures that govern the purchasing, receiving, storing, issuing, producing, and serving of the food

    and beverage products.

    Numerous procedures are required to e ff ectively facilitate the work of the many sta ff   members who must manage and operate the food and beverage facilities. Food and bev- erage operations are labor-intensive. Technology has not replaced the need for people when it comes to producing and serving food and beverage products.

    There must be an ongoing concern for the health and safety of consumers and sta ff   members. Foodborne illnesses and even death can occur when food products are handled unsafely. Safe food handling procedures do not vary by the type of operation—microorganisms do not care whether they are in a commercial or non-commercial operation! Injuries and deaths can also occur when pro- cedures to ensure the responsible consumption of alcohol are not in place or are not followed.

    There must be an emphasis on quality to be successful. Quality can be defined as the consistent delivery of an operation’s products and services in a way that meets the operation’s standards; these standards are set to meet or exceed consumer expectations. Managers in club food and beverage outlets as well as other types of food and beverage operations must establish standards that are driven by what their consumers want and expect. Furthermore, managers must develop ways to ensure that these standards are consistently achieved.

    There are also ways that club food and beverage operations diff er from their counterparts in other segments. An explanation of these diff erences will drive much of the discussion in the remainder of the chapter. Diff erences between club food and beverage operations and other types of food and beverage operations

    include the following: The most signi ficant di ff erence between clubs and their commercial counterparts (large hotels and casinos being prominent exceptions) is that clubs must prepare food and beverages for many di ff erent outlets, usually out of one kitchen. Many clubs have eight, ten, or even more food and beverage outlets. Many variables change

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    from one outlet to the next, such as menu, style of service, volume of covers , and service timing expectations. You can imagine the complexity of an opera-

    tion that must simultaneously provide food for a snack bar or a bar/lounge (very quick service), banquets (specific times of service), and formal dining (where a meal can be a two- or three-hour event).

    In clubs, food and beverage products and services are delivered in an organization that exists, in part, for the social a ffi liation of its members. Most club members are frequent consumers of the club’s food and beverage products and services, and they tend to know each other and the club’s managers and staff . Club members have higher expectations than consumer