Having attended the Clubs QLD conference in Cairns recently I learnt that there are many challenges the sector faces, the most urgent and arguably something all food service and entertainment businesses face, not just clubs, is the need to continually evolve and remain relevant and attractive to younger generations.
The proliferation of social media as the 'new black' in communication to, amongst and from club customers has meant venues now face a level of transparency and accountability never seen in prior generations. Choice has never been so endemic to a fickle, hyper informed, demanding consuming public flush with options to the point of overload.
Stepping back from this noise and looking at it dispassionately, club venue budgets now need to go further, last longer in impact and make a very real difference in the experience of patrons and the new patrons they wish to make lifelong members. Digital marketing is the new frontier for every service and entertainment business and as differentiation becomes more important, more need be spent, more often, to stay ahead of the curve and avoid being left in wake of the 'next new'.
Food quality, variety and a sensory experience is the main game setting the leading clubs and venues apart from the rest. Kitchens are expanding, new fusion menus are being developed, new equipment with greater energy efficiencies and cost savings are now more important than ever. Being nimble, agile is the 'new black' in food experience.
Kitchens now reflect the changing customer sentiments and tastes and change in layouts, features are happening more often than ever. Equipment innovation is rife, wholesalers and dealers too are constantly changing, improving, finding savings in size, weight, energy consumption, all of this adds to the operating cost saving for venues freeing up precious cash capital to spend differentiating themselves and give their existing customers are compelling reason to keep coming back.
So as we look out toward 2020, clubs will evolve into entertainment experiences, offering world class facilities and catering to greater diversity reflecting our community as it changes. Being nimble, agile and quick to change will be the new normal and critical to prosper, even survive. Cash budgets will and should be spent above line, on marketing for the new age, front of house aesthetics to allow members to immerse themselves in a wondrous space and lose themselves for a while.
Back of house, the kitchens will become agile functional spaces with ever changing equipment as cost savings grow with every upgrade and feature invented on the next new model. The operating lease and concept of renting equipment that Silver Chef offers, knowing change happens regularly, will begin to make absolute sense to progressive clubs positioning for the long play into 2020 and beyond.