Golf club tees up fine dining
A championship par 72 golf course in Georgia has teed up fine dining.
Last month, after decades spent successfully attracting athletes to its fine, bentgrass greens and first-class conditions, the operators of the Woodmont Golf & Country Club threw open the doors to The Summit, a destination restaurant open to everyone.
“The decision was made because we wanted to improve the level of service and the quality and variety of food we offered,” says Food and Beverage Director Robert Gilbreath. “Though we offered a good food service for golfers, we wanted to improve our foot traffic for weekends, lunch, et cetera. So, we rebranded our restaurant specifically for dining and relaunched on March 1st with a slew of changes.”
In this week’s Q&A interview with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand, Gilbreath describes the effort.
Q: Why did Woodmont decide to launch a full-service restaurant?
When the Woodmont Golf and Country Club opened in 1999, it was Georgia’s first championship par 72 course designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
It’s been an amazing place to golf ever since, and features bentgrass greens and first-class conditions. It plays from 5200 to 7200 yards in length amid rolling hills, lakes, streams and old hardwoods.
When I started here as food and beverage manager a year ago, I was aware of its proud history as a golf and country club, and I wanted the food service to become as appealing as Woodmont itself.
Q: What important changes accompanied the new opening?
When we relaunched our dining service, we rolled out a slew of changes, from new uniforms, menu covers, glassware and hardware. But our changes also went deeply into our menu offerings and our staff. We rolled out a new dinner, dessert and brunch menu, and our chef Brian Charles, who’s been here and does a great job, turned over the staff and brought in talent more experienced with fine dining.
Q: How has the role of food and beverage changed in your industry?
For a long time, food and beverage was considered to be an amenity at golf courses and other clubs. And if the department broke even at the end of the year, that was considered just fine. The only mantra was not to lose money.
But, over the course of the last decade, clubs have started to rethink their dining service as a possible revenue center that can turn a profit. So far, it’s going really well. We’re a month into it and the reception from our members has been extremely positive; we’ve received nothing but compliments. Our sales are up, our check numbers are higher, and our diners are ordering more wine and dessert. We’ve seen an increase in traffic on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for dinner, which is really exciting.
Q: What’s your most popular menu item?
Our broiled 8-ounce steak with grilled zucchini strips, our pork Osso Bucco with a barbecue rub, and our southern shrimp and grits are by far and away the most popular items on the menu!
Q: And would you mind telling us how Boxerbrand menu covers fit your plan?
We went with a classic leather product, and we’re all very happy with it. Sincerely, everybody who sees it comments on how beautiful it looks, and there’s a great foil-stamp on it. The colors look very nice and the high quality is obvious. It wasn’t the cheapest menu cover out there, but that’s fine; I have no problem paying for the quality. The service we received at Boxerbrand, from the front-end sales made us feel very comfortable. And my thinking was that we wanted our menu covers to represent us and the high level of service and fine dining we plan to deliver to our guests.