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How to improve your food and beverage operation with a few easy steps

6 min read
Jun 27, 2024

For some golf course managers, the club's restaurant might feel like a burden. However, prioritizing this can prove to be valuable, and we've received assistance in understanding why and how. Christina Green is the Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run, and she knows better than most how to run a successful food and beverage operation.

Golf clubs all around the world, besides being venues for a round of golf, also serve as social and culinary hubs where golfers can meet over a meal or a drink. This is where the clubs' food and beverage operations shine. They are here to satisfy the hunger and thirst of golfers after having conquered their favorite course – pun intended.
Golfers naturally expect to be served a delicious and fresh meal of the same high quality as the excellent course they just played. But how do you make sure that your food and beverage operation doesn't become a drain on money and a duty you do only for the golfers, without it contributing to the positive development of the club, because it doesn't live up to expectations?
This is something we intend to explore, especially after previous survey data have shown that . Moreover, compared to those who are dissatisfied with their dining experience. 
These findings give a clear reason to create an excellent food and beverage operation, as it can prove to be crucial for the club's financial health.
So, we have sought advice and guidance from an expert in the industry, and we have been fortunate to ally ourselves with one who excels in service & culinary work. 

High expectations for most aspects of food and beverage 

First, it might be important to understand what the key figures actually find essential when considering what makes a good experience at the golf restaurant. And by key figures, we are, of course, referring to the golfers.
They are the ones who know what is important and meaningful when they need a meal or a refreshing drink after a long day on the course.
To gain insight into their opinions, we have reviewed results from our Guest Survey in the US over the past three years. With nearly 200,000 responses, the survey provides us with a solid indication of how and what American golfers prioritize regarding food and beverage services. 
Source: Players 1st data, based on more than 190,000 survey responses throughout the past 3 years in the US
Our dashboard shows that all survey , including service and menu, significantly influence the
This means every touchpoint is closely linked to perceived satisfaction, with the NPS indicating how satisfied and loyal your members or guests are, and while the quality of offerings may appear to be the top factor, all elements within the "Food & Beverage" service area greatly affect the NPS. In other words, it is essential to consider all factors to ensure golfers have a great experience at the restaurant or bar. 

Actions needed to improve your golf course restaurant  

Now, back to the advice and guidance we've sought to better understand how to execute a great food and beverage operation in practice. It's easy to claim that you provide high quality and ensure top-notch selection and service levels, but what does that mean in practice, and how do you make sure it is evident to your customers?
This is where Christina Green comes into the picture. She is the Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run in Silvis Illinois, and their work with F&B has not gone unnoticed in our unique golf course restaurant benchmark feature, with the club being among the top restaurant performers among over 200 clubs in the US.
So, we’ve reached out to them for their expertise to help us gain deeper insights into this area, and as a result, we have made a list of valuable tips and recommendations from one of the best in the industry. Let's dive right in.
The clubs Midway Grille between holes 9 and 10. Source_TPC Deere Run
The club's Midway Grille between holes 9 and 10. Source: TPC Deere Run
The dining room at TPC Deere Run. Source_ TPC Deere Run
The dining room at TPC Deere Run. Source: TPC Deere Run
Happy employees in the clubs food and beverage team are among the reasons for its great success. Source_ TPC Deere Run
Happy employees in the clubs food and beverage team are among the reasons for its great success. Source: TPC Deere Run

Communication is key 

The title may sound like a cliché, but according to Christina Green, it's crucial for a well-driven Food and beverage operation, and this holds true on several fronts.
At TPC Deere Run, they've experienced great success by making sure their golfers are always informed about the available offerings for the day. They've made sure to highlight this in multiple places, so guests are being informed upon arrival, when receiving the tee sheet, and when visiting the pro shop. 
Our guests shouldn't head out onto the course without knowing when and where their next service opportunity will be.
Christina Green, Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run 
Communication between departments on the golf course is just as crucial as that with the golfers, especially regarding food and beverage. Weekly meetings with those responsible for the club's other departments are key, so they can assist each other in creating the best possible experience for guests.
This includes streamlining information, so all staff know what the restaurant offers in case there are any additions, sold-out items, specialty menus, or other updates from the restaurant on that particular day.

Consistency in service level 

Guests of the golf restaurant drop by throughout opening hours, and sometimes it's random and difficult to predict when tables will be busiest, although most experienced operators have a rough idea of peak times. Despite this, Christina Green states it's crucial that all guests receive precisely the same experience, regardless of business levels when they stop by. 
Even though two golfers may play at different times, the service and quality level must be consistent all the time, so you offer all your guests the same opportunities and experience. For example, it doesn't work if the Mic-Ultra turn is closed for our afternoon tee times, leaving those guests to feel they did not receive the full experience for their rate.
Christina Green, Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run

Christina Green doesn't care about what each guest paid in green fees to play the course. For her, it's about ensuring that everyone leaves the club, having received the same great food and beverage experience. 

Know your guests 

It sounds simple, doesn't it? And it actually is. To offer the best possible experience to all guests it requires understanding who your guests are and what their needs are. 

At TPC Deere Run, they excel at being flexible in their food and beverage offerings, making their restaurant accessible (and affordable) to everyone who visits the golf course. Christina Green and the rest of the team make a point of tailoring the menu and offerings, and she pinpoints specialty menus based on events and guests as game changers for a successful F&B operation.  

If we are hosting a tournament with several spectators and families with children attending, we know our grille menu may not necessarily cater to their needs. Instead, they will drive off course and go to a fast-food restaurant to get a better bargain, so we make it a point to have a budget friendly specialty menu during these events to cater to our captured audience.
Christina Green, Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run

The message is to be flexible and adaptable so you can provide all guests with what they need. This also ensures you don't lose potential customers in the restaurant. 

Use feedback solutions 

TPC Deere Run has been a consistent user of the Players 1st Guest Survey since 2019, and it has proven valuable for them; not only on the golf course itself but also in the surrounding facilities, including the kitchen, where they've benefited from this tool in several ways. 

Beyond using the survey tool to identify potential areas for improvement, they've also used the dashboard comment feature to provide feedback to their employees. There's nothing like a well-deserved pat on the back after a job well done, and Christina Green has certainly found this to be true as the leader of a well-functioning food and beverage operation. 

When guests leave comments in our guest survey about positive experiences with our food and beverage team, we are generous in sharing them with our skilled teammates. This way, they can see that our guests noticed their excellent work, and it serves as a motivator for everyone.
Christina Green, Director of Food & Beverage at TPC Deere Run

Don't forget the perhaps most important element 

These tips aim to equip golf club managers or restaurant managers to prioritize resources and hopefully increase guest satisfaction. But before we wrap up, Christina Green has three quick points about service and how managers can elevate it, as service is, unsurprisingly, one of the key aspects that the service industry is heavily judged on. 

And of course, there are many ways to demonstrate a high level of service. But what does service really mean, and how can a few tangible actions make a big impact, so restaurant guests truly feel the excellent service? Below, we’ll share some of Christina’s tips on where you can start. 

How to improve your food and beverage operation with a few easy steps
How to elevate your service level as a golf course restaurateur. Source: Christina Green




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