Cowboys GC and Raven GC have revised the processes around their beverage carts to now offer on-course F&B that is safe and satisfying.
As clubs continue operations under social-distancing rules, beverage carts offer a strong potential revenue stream to not only help keep members quenched while on the course, but also mitigate losses from banquets and events.
Like most reopening procedures, operating beverage carts in the time of COVID-19 requires adaptation.
Beverage-cart attendants at Cowboys Golf Club (Grapevine, Texas) and Raven Golf Club (Phoenix, Ariz.) are required to wear masks and gloves at all times. Both clubs have adopted virtually contact-free best practices for payments.
“Carts are equipped with Bluetooth credit-card swipers that allow the guest to insert their card just once at the beginning of the round to start a tab,” says Jessica Salinas, Director of Food & Beverage at Cowboys GC. “This is the only payment option, as we have gone to a strict, no-cash policy.”
At Raven GC, attendants are following strict social-distancing rules and staying six full feet from golfers.
“We have social-distancing signs on the carts to reinforce this,” says Kevin Weber, General Manager. “The attendant has a bottle of sanitizer available for use after every transaction, too. Payment is contact-free, as the staff uses an iPad and manually enters the credit card for payment without touching it.”
Like Cowboys GC, Raven GC is not accepting cash during the pandemic.
More is More
Both Cowboys GC and Raven GC have expanded their beverage-cart selections to help encourage sales.
“We can bring a good portion of our food-and-beverage operation outside,” says Raven’s Weber. “Cart offerings include burgers, wraps, hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches and burritos.
“A stationary experience with elevated to-go options has also been created at our halfway house—now known as ‘6 Squared’ (see picture above)—which is operating as our second beverage cart,” Weber adds. “We added a smoker, which has become a very popular feature with members. We smoke meats throughout the day, providing an aroma that piques the interest. Samples are available to all members—and a tasting usually turns into a purchased meal.”
At Cowboys, Salinas says the strategy is similar.
“We have transitioned our beverage carts to be more ‘to-go centric,’ with the utilization of individually wrapped straws, individual sealed liquor bottles, and single portions of mixers, all in a ready-to-go bag,” she says. “We also provide two on-course grills to enhance the experience while lessening the demand for in-house dining. And our culinary team is looking to expand both food options.”
Both clubs have also seen increased profitability by expanding the offerings and availability of their carts.
“There has been a significant increase in beverage-cart sales, as we have pivoted to providing 100% of the food-and-beverage experience on-course,” says Salinas.
“Longer tee-time intervals may cause overall sales to be down, but dollars spent per round increase, because of the additional beverage-cart offerings,” notes Weber.