The food-and-beverage feature in C&RB’s January issue, “The Joy of Not Cooking,” explored the ins and outs of some exemplary take-out operations at club and resort properties. But the idea stream didn’t stop after that issue went to press. We asked our LinkedIn Group (join us at www.clubandresortbusiness.com/LinkedIn) to share some of their additional takeout and to-go success stories.
Rob Marbs, Executive Chef at Glen Echo Country Club, Normandy, Mo., told of starting a “to-go platter” program at his club. Glen Echo members use this convenience when they host a party, or are going to one where they need to bring a dish to share. “I specifically picked a lot of items that can be served at room temperature,” says Marbs. “Selling food with no server labor is a win-win for the club. Also, when members come to pick up their order, they usually have lunch or a quick drink. We even load their vehicle for them. The trick is to make it as convenient and fun as possible.”
Alan Jacobs, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer at Fairmount Country Club, Chatham, N.J., also reported success with a Super Bowl Pre-order “Takeout” Menu. “We were closed for dinner that evening, so the takeout menu was very successful,” he says.
SaddleBrooke Country Club, Tucson, Ariz., has been using its kitchen to offer Pizza To Go almost every night. “In the month of January, we increased pizza sales by over $2,000,” reports Bernie Eaton, Director of Golf Operations.
Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Ark., has a dedicated delivery service for homes in its community that features the full dining room menu. “We do this every day for lunch and dinner, and we also deliver to our tennis club year-round and our pool in the summer,” says Ralph Edmonds, Executive Chef. “We charge $5 for home deliveries and all orders are subject to a 15% service charge. We also offer specialty cakes, pies, breads and custom orders.”
Takeout has in fact become a worldwide phenomenon in the club world; our LinkedIn Group also heard from Taiwan’s American Club about a program it started for its nearly 3,000 members. “Our F&B was capping out,” says General Manager Todd Bretzlaff. “The outlets were always full and we were looking to grow F&B further. We came up with a take-away menu of only items that traveled well. Then we purchased the necessary takeaway containers and secured a relationship with a delivery company that would guarantee to get this food to the members’ homes within 30 minutes.” The club charges a $15 delivery fee. It also set up a dedicated take-away phone number and operator to handle the calls.
One participant, Richard McLelland of the International Club Network, did address concerns for stateside properties over potential tax issues tied to offering takeout and to-go at 501(c)(7) clubs. While the IRS states that, to remain tax-exempt, a club must limit its investment and non-member income to a level not exceeding 35 percent of its total gross receipts, it has greater restrictions on a “de minimis” amount of “nontraditional” activity, which could include takeout sales to members.