Membership Professionals and Communication Directors are always seeking out a story or a fun highlight to recognize a group or individual within the club. One leadership position in the private club industry that is not represented as publicly as other hospitality leaders at your club is the Executive Chef.
Members enjoy learning about different aspects of their club and chefs love sharing new techniques, such as easy ways to peel a pomegranate or finding new flavor combinations they’ve experienced with other chefs and friends. Take advantage of these qualities and provide your chef a medium to connect with the membership and share their knowledge, expertise and passion for food.
A lot of clubs include a section within their newsletter or club communication, and some even add a section on the member-side of the clubs website. Wherever you decide to place it, make sure to capitalize on this exposure.
Chefs love to share recipes and are always seeking new ideas. By posting recipes, instructions and new techniques for the chef’s favorite dishes, whether on the menu or not, can create additional dialogue between the kitchen and members. Listing ideal wine pairings that the club has in the wine cellar will also complement the recipe.
“Where did you get this recipe? It is so good!” is easily answered with “The chef at our club prepares the best (insert signature dish) and they recommended this too.” With a chef’s recipe and suggestions, the friends and family have an already vetted recipe to experience.
With so many individuals having some sort of food allergy, diet restriction and/or new lifestyle choice when it comes to food, ordering on the spot can be a nightmare for both the member and the kitchen staff.
First and foremost, encourage the staff to write this information down. It is a lot more personal when the staff already knows and can recommend on the spot. This can allow the member to order in confidence knowing that a meal is being prepared with them in mind and they don’t have to announce it to the whole table.
Finally, the club can survey the members and ask them to help perfect the overall dining experience by providing feedback. On member dining specific satisfaction surveys, it is common to include the question, “When eating out which restaurants do you frequent other than the club?”
We all know that members have a lot of other options in the community when it comes to eating out. Enticing members with ‘special experiences’ and increasing the number of covers each week does not always need to be an elaborate event or process to get members up to the club.
Chefs network with their peers just as much as General Managers and others professions do. And, we all like to name drop. Have your Chef share recipes from his/her friends across the United States. For example: “Here is a recipe I received from my friend who is the Chef at Congressional Country Club in Washington, DC. They are known for their extraordinary Crab Cakes. I have his/her permission to share his/her recipe with my members. I have attached a link with the recipe for your enjoyment. Bon Appetite!”
Your members will not always dine at your club. But, you can have them enjoying a benefit of being a member at your club through the unique and exciting recipes for which your Chef provides to them throughout the year.