This article originally appeared in BoardRoom Magazine in 2012.
In the hospitality business, we strive to fulfill the basic needs of a customer: to feel welcome, comfortable, understood and important. These needs are vital for both external and internal customers. However, we often overlook the simple signals our members and employees convey through their actions that, if addressed, would vastly improve their experience.
If you are planning a renovation or remodel of your club, keeping these simple signals in mind will help you put together a plan in an intuitive manner. Observing the behavioral patterns of your team and membership can provide valuable insight. Members and employees have a way of letting us know what they need to feel welcome and comfortable.
Members wear a path through the grass showing us that the beautiful cobblestone walkway put in is not their preferred passageway to a desired area. The furniture or lamps are moved to show us where they prefer to read the morning paper. You may find trash in an outdoor cigarette ash can or vice versa; showing what is missing for that space. You may find their golf clubs propped up in a corner that is convenient for them, but not the intended place for bag storage. They will even show you where they prefer to park as most members do not like inconvenient walks into the clubhouse especially for something done daily such as working out.
Look around at the workspaces of the staff; how have they adjusted their space to work efficiently and productively? These telltale signs are clear indications of what is needed to improve their space and will quickly clean up clutter and unsightly items. If you work to include these into your renovation plans, it will set you on a path toward success. You may see tray jacks with water pitchers set up in the dining room; menus sitting on top of a ledge; notices or memos tacked, stapled, or otherwise adhered to the wall; you may see an extra long phone cord or extension cords to power equipment or computers. Has a banquet table been added to a desk, in the locker rooms, outside of the golf shop or otherwise placed somewhere permanently? Kitchens have valuable hints for efficiency and productivity. Nearly every chef has made accommodations for lack of refrigeration, freezers, preparation and plating space. If you were lucky enough to have a kitchen consultant that felt a dishwasher wasn’t necessary on the same floor as the service area and main kitchen; you most definitely have bus tubs, linen bags, and trashcans in areas never intended, not to mention higher labor.
When considering a remodel, do your homework:
Keep the committee small and focused. Encourage members who represent a good cross section of demographics to participate.
The remodel must be a reflection of today’s needs but able to evolve over the next 5-15 years as members’ lifestyles change.
Study statistics on usage trends – how are spaces used; what is the revenue/cost ratio? Can it be improved?
What tools or resources are needed to increase efficiency and productivity?
What service, amenity, or product have the members requested? Do a ROI analysis to discover if this is a viable request to consider. Will it increase member usage, satisfaction and referrals?
Don’t be tempted to rebuild what you already have. Have a brainstorming session about space and programs needed regardless of current offerings. The architects will tell you if it is possible within the existing footprint.
Involve the operations team in programming and value engineering so that critical items for their success are not overlooked.
If you need help with managing a remodel, contact us! We can help.
Whitney Reid Pennell, president of the RCS Hospitality Group, is a celebrated management consultant, educator, and speaker. RCS, the creators of Food and Beverage Service Boot Camp™, specializes in operations consulting, strategic planning, food and beverage management, and training programs for private clubs, fine dining restaurants, and luxury resorts and hotels. For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at www.consultingRCS.com.