The spring edition of Golf Business Canada included a story about food and beverage trends. Chef John Curtis who is Clublink’s corporate chef used Agri-Food Canada, Restaurant News, Nutrition Unplugged, Culinary Trends, and Huffington Post information combined with his own experiences to give Golf Course owners and operators some great insights into what will be hot in 2013.
Our take on the trends
Since we seem to spend a great deal of time in restaurants and like to spend even more time writing about them we have expanded on a few of the article’s ideas about what is important for success in 2013.
Tapas – Snacking, as Chef John describes as a tendency to eat smaller, more sporadic meals is definitely on the rise. But so is sharing. These two trends go hand in hand. If you have small items on your menu that are a good snack for one, a number of small items together make a good and interesting snack or even a meal for four. People want more options – on everything from news to TV to clothing to food – which is why so many of the new restaurants opening in Vancouver focus on Tapas.
Prepared Meals – We can 100% attest to the importance of prepared meals that are high in quality ingredients and taste. This is not your grandmother’s TV dinner. There are now so many options in our neighbourhood that even though I do love to cook it happens less and less when we are really busy with work. But the key here is that most people are not willing to give up quality for convenience. If you go down the prepared food road make sure you test and test and test. Test your food, how it travels, test your containers, test how your food tastes re-heated, after one hour, after one day. Right now I am aware of only one golf course in BC that offers this service and has a stocked fridge in the clubhouse with a selection of home-made daily soups and family size entrees. It is a great idea if you do it as well as they do.
Health – I have not yet seen a golf facility that posts nutrition information on their website but this is coming soon. Do not be afraid that you will lose customers if they know that one of their favorite soups has 18 grams of fat. People want to know. And if the soup is good they will not stop eating it. The Informed Dining program is a voluntary nutrition information program for restaurants developed by the Province of BC. Participating restaurants provide their guests with nutrition information, that is easy to access and understand, for all standard menu items. And this is not just for fast food restaurants. A few of our favorite restaurants in Vancouver are part of this program.
Service Training – What can make a great quality meal not so great? Less than stellar service. In the golf course industry this is even more important than in a regular restaurant. Your food & beverage team is often the last part of your operation that the golfer sees before leaving. An outstanding golf experience can be dampened by a poor food and beverage one at the end of the day. Service training (including product knowledge, service standards and proper POS training) is difficult especially if your business is seasonal. But you really only get one chance to get it right – the first time a customer visits your facility. A great experience breeds loyalty and an imperfect one does not. We have ‘written-off’ more than a few restaurants in downtown Vancouver this spring because of poor service, not the quality of their food.
Jeff & Tara Ciecko of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs on their website, one is their 19th Hole Blog where they share personal experiences and the Biz Blog where they share business best practices and golf industry related opinions. They have owned CK Golf Solutions for 5 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries.