Tom McIntyre, VP Group Publisher of the Club + Resort Network, believes we must take time to reflect on how we can come back better from COVID-19.
I’ve been on the road for 30 years.
In fact, earlier this year, I thought to myself, “I’m traveling too much. I’ve missed a lot because I’ve been on the road so much. I need to slow down a bit. Life is too short, and I’m tired.”
Now I’m sitting in my home office saying the exact opposite. I can’t wait to get back on the road and be busy again.
I know that I’m not alone in my desire to get back to our pre-COVID-19 way of life. But I believe we’d all be foolish not to take this time to first reflect on how we can come back better.
This has been a painful time for our society and our industry. But everyone has creatively pushed through. In fact, many of the ways that you’ve responded (and that we’ve reported on, in this issue and elsewhere) have been downright inspiring. And because of how resilient and resourceful you’ve been, we’ll come out better than when we went into this mess.
Still, most of you entered into this profession because of your ability to be creative and productive under intense pressure. And many of you have been recognized, honored, and rewarded financially because of your ability to thrive in this environment.
But at what cost? Is the old way of doing
business worth saving?
I don’t think so. Members’ expectations
cannot be mutually exclusive to the changes you will want and need to employ as the “new normal.” That will take precise and laser-focused communication. And it has to be done.
We call our line cooks and dishwashers “essential” to our operation. But if that’s truly the case, shouldn’t we pay and treat them that way? Some of you give your dishwashers bus money to get to and from the club. Some of your line cooks are drowning in debt, but they are paid what a grocery clerk makes.
Maybe post-COVID-19, we can help those who have been hit hardest by this virus with a more sustainable paycheck, better hours, and a better work-life balance.
I’m not naïve. I understand P&L statements and balance sheets, and that dues-paying members expect a certain level of gravitas (and sometimes, unfortunately, a whole lot of ass-kissing, too). But I do believe their mindset will be different now, and perhaps we’ll see a more accommodating base that not only makes reservations, but adheres to them. And that might be a little more patient as you sanitize a station, even if that might slow service a bit. And that accepts a smaller menu with fewer choices, but still awesome food. And that might even accept a dues increase, or at least a slightly higher menu price.
If all of this can be communicated as effectively as you’ve been communicating while clubs have been limited to takeout and delivery, we will see the positive change that we desperately need.
The time to strike is now. Don’t wait to let your members know how your team struggles. Today is your best chance to propose and plan to deliver long-term goals for your team, and how you want your operation to look on the back side of this crisis.
We’ve all been talking about changes that we as an industry need to make. COVID-19 has given us that chance to effect change for the better—for our clubs, our teams, our members and guests, and for us individually.
What will you keep? What will you change? I would love to hear your thoughts. E-mail me at [email protected]