How to Run a Successful Beverage Program at a Members' Club
Any restaurant manager can tell you that a good beverage program is a crucial profit center. A clever wine list, an eye-catching cocktail selection, and a finger on the pulse of craft trends can build a restaurant brand. It engages repeat customers, upsells beverage choices, and creates serious buzz. Consider the Manhattan, invented a century ago at the club by the same name, or the Frozen Negroni that’s got NYC’s Alta Linea in the current spotlight.
For private members’ clubs, the stakes are high. A limited, repeat clientele that pays a membership fee and a monthly F&B minimum presents distinctive challenges:
- Keeping an inventory of off-menu items in case of special requests or past menu items that members remember
- Stocking a solid collection of top-shelf spirits and classic wine styles to suit the gin-and-tonic, Napa Cab set
- Always having something new, creative, or seemingly spontaneous at the ready to engage more intrepid sippers
- Offering items that are unavailable elsewhere, whether rare, old vintages or secret-recipe cocktails
Does a dedicated, repeat clientele mean clubs can take more risks with introducing new cocktails, wine styles, and craft beers - or fewer? When members have a choice to go to their clubs or to any number of public restaurants, how does a successful beverage program help retain and attract members?
New York and London both have members’ clubs in spades, from staid suburban country clubs to edgy urban drinking dens. To read tips from beverage directors from across the Atlantic, read the full article at Foodable Web TV.