Golf Job Profile: Food and Beverage Manager
Apr 13, 2018
The golf industry offers a wide range of careers. One of the many career paths an aspiring golf professional can consider is food and beverage operations.
According to the National Golf Course Owners Association, a whopping 25 percent of golf course revenue comes from food and beverages. It is important to understand the nuances of food and beverage operations and to learn how it fits into the other aspects of your golf club. This is true not only for food and beverage managers but for anyone interested in a career in golf operations.
Golf Food and Beverage Manager Job Description
Food and beverage operations can vary at different types of golf facilities. A public facility might have an extremely small operation, while a resort tied to a hotel may have extensive offerings. Even at private facilities, there is no such thing as a typical operation.
“A private club could have a snack bar at the pool, a snack bar for the golf course, a halfway house, a bar, a casual dining room, a fine dining room and might even do banquets and catering,” explains Brad Kirkman, Golf Academy of America National Dean of Golf Instruction and Golf Technology. “You could have a very, very, elaborate food and beverage operation at some private facilities, whereas a daily fee facility might just have a small snack bar area and a beverage cart attendant.”
A golf club food and beverage manager or director of food and beverage operations is accountable for a facility’s food and beverage sales and providing member service. A few of the basic food and beverage manager responsibilities include:
- Oversee the daily operations of the dining room, kitchen, snack bars, beverage carts and catering
- Hire, train and manage food service staff, including front-of-house and kitchen employees
- Work with chefs to plan menus
- Control food and beverage inventory and costs
- Interact directly with guests and provide member service, including resolving complaints
What Makes Golf Food and Beverage Operations Different?
Though food and beverage at a golf facility has much in common with more general food and beverage operations, there are many unique aspects to the job.
For example, a restaurant in a private golf club may be more affected by the weather than a typical restaurant. On a rainy day, you will have fewer people on the golf course, and thus fewer people coming into the restaurant during the day. Trying to predict staffing based on something as fickle as the weather can be a challenge.
Additionally, a restaurant at a private club will see the same clientele repeatedly, allowing the staff to form personal relationships with the customers. However, this poses another challenge: the food and beverage manager, in conjunction with the chef, must come up with changes to the menu and offer enough special events to avoid monotony.
Perhaps the most unique thing about working in food and beverage at a golf facility is the money-making aspect. While a restaurant’s goal is always to turn a profit, a restaurant at a golf facility might not have the same purpose.
“It’s very interesting that a significant portion of private facilities actually lose money on food and beverage,” Kirkman says.
“If you’re at a public facility, clearly you want food and beverage to be a money-maker,” adds Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach Campus President Gene Augustine. “At a private club, it’s a member-owned club, so maybe it’s okay to just break even or lose a bit of money on food and beverage, because you can make it up in other areas or charge the members more money in dues.”
Often, in order to drive revenue to the golf facility’s restaurants, a club will mandate a food and beverage minimum. Members are required to spend the minimum at the restaurant and will get charged the full amount whether or not they have spent it all.
“It’s a mechanism to ensure the restaurant in the club is getting the business that it should to keep it healthy,” Augustine explains.
How to Become a Golf Food and Beverage Manager
For those who have a passion for golf and love interacting with people, a job in food and beverage operations at a golf facility may be right for you. Augustine suggests that anyone interested in this job find a part-time job in the field to get a taste for the career and gain experience.
He has the same advice for Golf Academy of America students, even those who may have their sights set on positions such as general manager or director of golf operations. He also advises enrolling in relevant electives.
“We offer elective courses such as The Essentials of Food Service Management and Financial Management,” he says. “People tend to shy away from food and beverage because it’s something they don’t know that much about. But if you want to be a general manager of a golf facility at some point, it’s important that you have an understanding of all facets of a golf operation.”
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