With the assortment of fees to be a country club member some might think food is included with the cost of a membership, but in fact, it is actually the opposite.
Many country clubs have fees on top of the initiation fee and annual dues. Members may have to pay for the use of lockers or golf carts or even an additional assessment fee in order to cover the cost of major expenses such as renovations. Most country clubs even require members to spend a certain amount on-site, particularly in the food and beverage department.
A food minimum is the amount members need to spend on dining in a given amount of time. The food minimum amount and rules vary by club, but almost always it is a use-it-or-lose-it fee. If a member comes up short on the minimum requirement they are charged the difference. Clubs either have a monthly, quarterly, or yearly minimum ranging anywhere from $50 a month to a few thousand dollars a year and might even waive the fee for members during slower months like January or February. Some clubs also have different minimums for individual or family memberships as well as whether alcohol is included in the minimum or not.
Food minimums can be a controversial topic for some members, but because dining is usually one of the most popular amenities of a club a majority of members never have a problem meeting their minimum. Although, it is possible for the kitchen to get a little busier towards the end of the month or quarter as members try to meet their requirement. While some members are not bothered by never meeting their minimum, others would much rather take their family or friends out to dinner than let it go to waste.
A country club is a private organization and members pay for that privilege. The many fees that come with joining a country club cover the costs of maintenance, upgrades, staffing, and enabling the club to offer activities and amenities to members, but a food minimum fee also ensures members are utilizing the dining operations of a club more often.