Through our member survey, we really try to define ourselves in aspects of an operation such as food and beverage.
There are a couple of things that I’ve learned over the years. I’ve always made sure that the membership gets what it want at a decent price.
We’re not the highest-priced place and we’re not going to be the lowest-priced either. We’re going to be somewhere in the middle.
There’s also a fine line between what your members want, what your chef wants and what you can actually provide.
Over the last few years, we’ve been able to define ourselves by the size of our kitchen and the length of our line. It’s a restaurant lounge. We don’t have a formal dining room. It’s a 114-seat lounge.
I used to think that the more things you can do to keep your chef engaged was important. They’re like artists and they want to create, but we have someone who is very down to earth in Chris Thompson.
It’s okay to say, “Here’s all we can do, Let’s do it well.” He doesn’t mind cooking a burger, but the important thing is to make it your own. Put a flair to it. Put a signature on it that demonstrates that creativity.
Also, we have a Nine and Dine that’s very popular and it gives him the chance to showcase his talents.
Our member survey showed a couple of things from the members’ perspective that we need to focus on, along with a very important consideration from an operational standpoint.
Members want consistency. If I’m a member who plays 60 rounds, there’s a good chance that I’m going to have a particular meal twice or more.
If I come in and have a meat lover’s pizza one night and have the same thing two weeks later, my expectation is that it will be the same, so consistency in product is one thing that’s important to members and so is wait time for a product.
From an operational standpoint, my big thing is controlling labour hours.
Some products you have to make from scratch, but there are others that you can source and not make from scratch and they’re just as good, if not better. All of a sudden, you’ve knocked 20 per cent off your labour hours when that happens.
So, the two things the members focused on were consistency and wait times and the big thing for me is labour hours.
The important thing is defining yourself in your own eyes and in the eyes of your members, then going out and doing a really good job at whatever you decide is your best option.