Thursday, March 31, 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
I love working downtown.
The people, the atmosphere, the palpable authenticity of local mom & pop restaurants going up against the Goliath-themed chains.
One thing I can't stand though...is trying out a new place, only to be 'gouged' by short-sighted owners trying to take advantage of a captive audience; their new customer.
This very thing happened last week as I paid for my lunch with a customer and noticed a $2.95 charge for iced tea on my bill. Plain old Lipton? Yes, but I think the menu did say, 'freshly steeped each day', but $2.95? Deliberate decisions like this make me never want to come back despite an otherwise good experience.
In the fight to gain and retain members, clubs do things like this more times than not it seems. Beer, for instance, at my old club after service charge was $4.53 per bottle! Buy a six-pack - $27.18. And no, this wasn't the triple-filtered stuff made with hops imported from some 'sustainable' farm in the mid-west. This was good ole' Coors that you could buy at six convenience stores on the way to the course...and not surprisingly, that is what many did (you don't want to know what a beer with three adjectives cost - trust me).
Unlike the number of restaurant choices on a given street, to some degree, members do have a choice. If you've ever interviewed a resigning member, chances are it wasn't one thing that made them decide to leave, it was death by 1,000 cuts. Sensible pricing shouldn't even be an issue.
"But our F & B typically loses _____________ per year, we have to make it up somewhere".
If this is the reality at your club, chances are there are a lot more burgers and chicken sandwiches being eaten on the way to the club, than at the club. Ditto that for 'smuggling' that inevitably goes on when your club throws common sense out the window.
One thing everyone talks about, outside of the otherwordly conditions, manners, and civility a day at the Masters tournament provides, is the indelible impression the Augusta food and beverage pricing leaves. Contrast this with the NFL, NBA, and MLB who often charge three to four times what Augusta asks of their patrons.
In the club world, be Augusta.