As a release for the creative culinary mind, we have developed monthly pop-up dinners for our members. The menus and the experience at our pop-up dinners are less about the members and more about the culinary team using them as a chance to have fun with food. These pop-ups are limited to 18 members. We do not tell the members where or what they are eating beforehand. They believe we will give them a memorable dining experience for the night, and we consistently deliver on that expectation.
This program has allowed our team to look at our property differently. We walk around the clubhouse and wonder if we can fit 18 people in there for dinner, where is the closet bathroom, and what we will do for a kitchen. The location will sometimes determine if the evening has a theme. For example, the underground cart barn was themed around the potato that started with a French fry flight and four kinds of homemade ketchup.
The great thing about our pop-up dinners is that there are no rules or limitations. Each experience starts with a concept or a location. We take a little road trip and let our creativity run free. Here in Arizona, about 50% of the dinners can be outside in the beautiful weather of spring and fall. In summer and winter, we are forced inside to use the golf shop, agronomy building, kitchen, cart barn, and even the employee breakroom. In the almost two years we have been doing this, we have not had dinner in the same place twice. The dining room recently went through a facelift this past summer, and our pop-up diners were the first to enjoy the newly renovated area.
We have used these dinners as a way for the culinary crew to take the lead and serve a menu they wrote. For that night, I am no longer the chef but the sous chef helping them execute their ideas. We have one requirement to be able to take the lead. The culinary individual must have a perfect time and attendance record, and I help them with their menu selections to ensure the members get the right experience.
How would you like to re-create the first-class dining experience of the Titanic? Or serve desserts on rafts as your members dip their feet in the pool? Or cram nine high-boy tables into your kitchen on Valentine’s Day? These ideas would be impractical night in and night out. However, select groups of adventurous members have enough faith in our creative talent to attend these experiences repeatedly.
At this point, our pop-up dinners need no promotion. Members have “FOMO” about missing them. We sell out the pop-ups every month with a wait list most months. This concept may not be right for you or your property, but I suggest finding your version of our pop-up dinner to help your team express themselves through food and dining.