Royal Palm Yacht & CC turned an unused banquet space in a profitable casual dining outlet at a low cost and relatively quickly.
The well-appointed Royal Pub, at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., is a good example of the lively new casual dining areas that are now bringing members of all ages together at many club properties. And the story behind how the Royal Pub was created serves as an especially good illustration of how resourcefulness and responsiveness can combine to deliver what members now want in a timely and cost-effective fashion.
“In 2008, we surveyed our membership, to better understand what they wanted from their club,” says Donald Emery, CCM, CCE, General Manager/COO. “It was clear they were clamoring for a more casual dining space that still offered innovative fresh cuisine.”
It was also clear that Royal Palm needed to find a way to add a casual dining option within the walls of its current clubhouse at a low cost, and relatively quickly.
|THE GOAL: Provide the membership with a more
casual dining space that was identified as a priority in Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club’s 2008 survey.THE PLAN: Convert idle banquet space into a casual dining experience. To keep costs low, the room was transformed through internal maintenance staff.
THE PAYOFF: In 2010, a la carte covers were up 13,000 from 2009, despite 30 fewer memberships. Dining
The first step was to conduct an overall space analysis, to gauge the best uses for each and every area. “We were fortunate to discover that we had an idle banquet room that would better serve the membership in a casual dining capacity,” says Emery. That space was then earmarked for a complete transformation that would take it from underused to at-capacity almost nightly.
To keep costs in line, Royal Palm decided to use its internal maintenance staff to do much of the work, including demolishing the existing space, building the bar, re-staining wood, and painting. To keep everyone accountable to the schedules, deadlines and action logs, the club’s Maintenance Engineer monitored progress with daily and weekly meetings.
Ultimately, the renovation took about five months during the club’s off-season to complete, and cost just $101,000, reports Emery.
Now, the idle banquet space has been replaced by a rich wooden bar with a black granite top and a handful of sturdy stools. The walls are painted blue, to keep with the nautical theme of the club. The floor is hardwood in the bar area, with blue and white carpeting throughout the dining room that complements the wall color. The main window in the dining area was extended during the renovation to open up views of the pool and the tennis courts, and an additional door was added for easier access to the pool area. Five plasma screens and a pool table also help to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
“The Royal Pub is a great meeting place for members of all ages to congregate,” says Emery. “It has a warm, inviting feel and has exceeded the membership’s expectations.”
In 2010, the Royal Pub’s first full year of operation, 13,000 more dinner covers were served at the club than in 2009, despite 30 fewer memberships. The new casual dining space continues to be popular with members well into its second season.