My role here at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) has transitioned from being a chef in charge of kitchen operations to overseeing the entire Food and Beverage department. However, my culinary background remains a core aspect of my identity, and I still maintain a chef’s mindset despite its complexities. Three months ago, when I walked into Executive Chef Steve Penrod’s office with an idea, I envisioned how a situation like that would play out if I were still the chef.
I can confidently say that I would have firmly rejected the proposal. He didn’t, though. He’s a better chef than I was.
I proposed we begin changing the menu every two weeks. When I presented this notion to Chef, he approached it with an open-minded willingness to explore what that might look like. A local native from Mesa, Arizona, seemed like the ideal candidate to lead this initiative.
The idea to change menus more frequently stems from careful analysis of our member survey and product sales trends. Recognizing that our members frequent the club’s dining areas extensively, some visiting up to five times a week, we realized the monotony of a consistent menu could lead to culinary fatigue. A substantial portion of our sales was attributed to specials, indicating a demand for variety. Our challenge was to balance satisfying those who prefer a consistent menu with those who desire frequent changes.
In response, we introduced a solution two months ago: half of the menu changes every two weeks, while the other half, referred to as the “Superstition Staples,” remains constant. The “Staples” are the dishes our members consistently order, like Chicken Wings, Chicken Tenders, Gold Canyon Salad, Fish & Chips, and Meatloaf. The newly introduced “Seasonal Features” section enables our culinary team, led by Chef Penrod, to showcase their creativity using fresh seasonal ingredients, introducing new items that rotate every two weeks. This approach eliminates the need for separate lunch, bar, dinner, and specials menus, streamlining our offerings.
This substantial shift in operations required thoughtful planning. Given that most of our members vacation during the scorching Arizona summer, we utilized this downtime to lay the groundwork. We launched the new menu on June 1st, providing a three-and-a-half-month period for learning and experimentation before peak activity resumed.
Chef Penrod introduced a collaborative approach in the kitchen to ensure this change’s success. He designated an area for the culinary team to share menu ideas on a board, emphasizing their involvement and buy-in. Moreover, he recognized the significance of imparting cooking skills rather than mere recipe following, aiding the team in navigating the dynamic menu changes. We ironed out operational details before communicating anything to our membership, addressing training, menu proofing, testing, POS updates, and reprinting menus.
This transformative approach to menu rotation required meticulous planning and execution. But by introducing regular menu changes while retaining member favorites, we can now provide variety and familiarity while catering to diverse preferences within our membership base.
View Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club’s menus below: