Clubhouse Challenges and Corrective Action |

Clubhouse Challenges and Corrective Action

By Bob Mariani,

General Manager

Clubhouse Challenges and Corrective Action: Since the Clubhouse opened, the operation has been a challenge for several reasons. I was advised by a number of individuals involved in the Clubhouse that opening the food and beverage operation as soon as possible after completion of construction was a high priority. A prompt opening is understandable, yet it resulted in a lack of proper training, hiring, procedures, menu pricing and other issues, which has resulted in a constant game of catch-up.
Regardless of those circumstances and although there is considerable positives about the Clubhouse service, quality of food, entertainment and environment, the Board and Management recognize that the membership financial contribution to the operation is not acceptable.
As a result of this recognition and acknowledgement that we must improve the bottom line, a number of corrective actions have and are taking place. Before delineating those activities, it’s worth mentioning that when comparing dollar-for-dollar revenue with the old clubhouse, the new clubhouse is actually performing slightly better financially. The correction that is needed is to assure that the additional current volume and revenue results in financial efficiencies rather than the continued loss ratio to revenue.
Now on to what is being done to improve the bottom line:
1. Securing Product: It was recognized that a large portion of the foods and beverages were not secured properly and were subject to pilferage. In an effort to correct this issue, additional lockup measures were taken, distribution of keys to secure areas was substantially reduced, additional cages were purchased to secure product and more frequent review of camera video was implemented to identify theft.
2. Improving Inventory Accuracy: Inventory had been taken in a haphazard manner, resulting in numerous errors. Corrections were made by consolidating some storage areas, organizing the inventory sheets so that they are directly aligned with the products on the shelf, using a buddy system on occasion to best confirm accuracy and implementing additional technology to best assure accuracy.
3. Purchasing: The vast majority of food has been purchased from Sysco, a major purveyor. No bidding has been done until recently when pricing was secured from US Foods. This competition and serious discussions with Sysco resulted in the implementation of a two-percent rebate on all purchases, Sysco providing a consultant to review our overall operations, assistance with a more efficient ordering process, provision of additional technology to more accurately and quickly cost menu items and provision of additional front- and back-of-the-house training.
4. Menu Pricing: More attention has been paid to properly price menu items to best ensure that our cost of sales will meet or beat budget. Through more accurate costing, it’s been recognized that several of our menu items were priced too low, resulting in a cost of food that is well over budget. This more accurate menu costing has and will result in a number of menu price adjustments. With that stated, even with these adjustments our menu pricing will be below the vast majority of comparable restaurant operations in Grass Valley and Nevada City.
5. Operational Costs: Although cost of food and labor have been the primary concerns, operating costs have also been excessive. When these high costs were recognized, alternative vendors were evaluated and new procedures were put into place. For example, costs for linens were substantially reduced by changing vendors, so much that the linen expense is far lower than in the past, while at the same time adding linen tablecloths to the tables on weekends. Another example is that employee uniforms were rented at a very high cost and that was changed to purchasing a few uniforms at a far less cost and having employees launder their uniforms, which has been well accepted.
6. Banquets: The lack of profitable and consistent banquets has been a major issue. Due to one issue or another, there have been four Event Managers over the past year. This unfortunate turnover, along with being behind on menu development, has resulted in missing out on profits that can be a saving grace for a club or community operation such as ours. In an effort to improve and increase the banquet operation, our new Events Manager is working closely with the staff and membership to provide excellent service for our Members, with the goal of increasing Member banquets. At the same time, a banquet marketing program is finally being implemented. This plan will not only reach out to the Membership but also to the general community, with the goal of reaching friends and associates of Lake Wildwood Members who want a fantastic venue in which to have business functions, anniversary/birthday parties and weddings that will result in a substantial profit for Lake Wildwood.
7. Lunch Operation: It has been recognized that overall lunch is slower than desired and this is especially true on Monday and Tuesday. In recognizing this fact, the first measure that will be taken is to serve only in the 19th Hole and Terrace on Monday and Tuesday, offering the bar menu and two or three other items. The change will still offer a wide variety of menu items, while reducing both server and kitchen labor. At the same time these changes are made, additional evaluation will be underway for possible adjustments on other weekdays and marketing efforts to help increase lunch volume.

Although the above measures are the primary actions that have or are taking place to improve the bottom line, continual evaluation of the Clubhouse operation is underway to best assure that a high quality operation continues or improves and that the Membership financial contribution is reduced.

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