Club Food and Beverage Operations Alert: “The Future has arrived, are you ready for it?”

By Bill Wagner

Back in the day, Private Clubs were all about fine and formal dining. Coats and ties were mandatory, and tables were reserved for the entire evening. Serving and cooking tableside was not uncommon. Life was good in the world of clubs. The member’s names and preferences were known to all because the staff rarely turned over. That was then, and this is now.

In many clubs, there is a more severe dress code on the Golf Course, than in the clubhouse and dining areas. Smart phones are seen and used on a regular basis. Members don’t dine as much as they tend to “eat and run”. Takeout food has become increasingly popular. Even private clubs are not immune to the multi-tasking culture of today’s world.

The number one dining complaint at many clubs is “the slow speed of ala carte service.” Even if a club hires more staff, there are practical limits to increasing both service and production speed in the kitchen while still maintaining a high quality. A buffet is also not always a good solution, depending upon the club’s culture.

So, what is the solution?

High Volume Chain restaurants have had monitor screens in their kitchens for several years and a growing number have hand held ordering modules to speed orders from the table into the kitchens.

Private Clubs are more complicated and much more personal than chain restaurants.

What about a system that is created just for the Private Clubs of the World?

A system with built-in business intelligence that would contain the information of every member and their family. That information would include billing preferences, allergies, menu preferences, pictures of the family members and would fit in a server’s palm. The system (a 7” tablet) would contain the complete menu including a scrolling wine list with descriptions that would make a Sommelier proud, plus the bar menu. The drink and food orders entered into the tablet would be transmitted to the bar and the kitchen instantly.

The kitchen monitors would display the order and track it until it leaves the kitchen on its way to the table. Each order would be timed in and out of the kitchen and the data could be displayed individually and cumulatively by meal period. This system would save many steps and increase the overall efficiency. Less time, fresher food, increased accuracy equals happy members.

Imagine a scenario where a member complains about the previous night’s slow speed of service at the dining room. The club staff would have access to the exact time the tableside order was placed to the time the order left the kitchen. That is an instant comparison of “member time” to “real time”. If the member is correct, the club staff have a problem to solve.

Northstar has the above described Complete Dining Operation System with the Tableside POS and Kitchen Display System (KDS). This game changing technology has been successfully deployed in many clubs and is helping clubs reduce ticket times by 4-8 minutes per order, increasing the accuracy of orders and enabling the club to make better decisions about dining operations with the help of analytical tools.