How to Craft the Perfect Menu for Your Golf Course Restaurant

Posted by Alex Lavoie on August 1, 2018

Are you worried that your clubhouse restaurant isn't getting as many reservations as it could? You may be losing diners because your menu just isn't up to par with the Applebees down the street.

The good news is that golf courses are blessed with consistent traffic and loyal customers, some of whom have been members for years, know your business and what you offer intimately. A quick refresh could quickly bring back customers and get people talking about the delicious food your kitchen serves.

Your menu is key to your restaurant's success. You will need a well-balanced strategy for design and meal selection. Design usually takes a good eye or the help of free templates. Meal selection can be aided by organizing offerings into a menu matrix.

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How a menu matrix works

The menu matrix was developed based on the business principle that some products fall into different categories based on the change in sales volume, and gross income. It's the perfect visual aid for understanding how your offerings line up strategically and how you should categorize your menu items.

golf course restaurant menu ideas

How to create a menu matrix for your golf course restaurant

Don't let business principles and matrices intimate you. Crafting a strategy for your golf course food menu isn't complicated, but it does take a little bit of research. The step for creating a menu matrix is plotting your current menu items on an X and Y axis based on popularity and profitability. Since you'll be looking at the performance of products over time, its helpful if your POS collects all sales data and can display time-based sales reports.

Here are the four categories that you'll separate each menu item by:

  • Plow Horses and Cash Cows: Low profit, highly popular items that customers would expect to see on any menu. Think fries, pizza, and burgers.
  • Stars: Congratulations! You have a high profit, high popularity item that should be prominently featured on your menu.
  • Dogs and Duds: Low profit, low popularity items. You don't necessarily need to cut these from the menu. It may take a little bit of iteration in the kitchen or with the price to turn it into a star. Collecting customer feedback can be an important resource for understanding why it didn't do well, plus your loyal members love being heard.
  • Puzzles: High profit, low popularity items. These products would benefit from some rebranding, renaming, and a heavy emphasis on the menu. Train your staff to learn how to sell these items. They're on the brink of becoming the next star item!

When you conduct this analysis you'll be left with a chart that looks like this:

golf course food and beverage ideas

Now that you are ready to iterate on your golf restaurant menu strategy let's take a look at the psychology of choice.

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Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is Real

This may come as a surprise: too many options is not necessarily a good thing. A customer with too much choice may gravitate toward the standard plowhorse menu offerings and not choose a star item. Of course, every customer has a different idea of how many items should show up on the menu. Too much and they feel as though there is not enough choice, too many and they have difficulty making a decision and being satisfied with it.

This study out of Bournemouth University found that in fast-food and quick service restaurants, the perfect number was six items per category: starters, chicken, fish, steaks and burgers, grills, and classic meat dishes, pasta, vegetarian, and deserts. In fine dining restaurants, seven starters and deserts, and ten main courses worked best.

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Conducting a strategic audit of your menu offerings is critical for making informed decisions about your menu strategy. Pair that with customer surveys and awareness of member sentiment about the quality and amount of choice will bolster golf restaurant menu success. If your restaurant is struggling to drive more revenue and improve margins, it's time to conduct a menu matrix audit. You'll be so much more confident in your menu when you understand how volume is driving profitability within your menu and you'll be set up for longterm success. Use this simple exercise and save money on ingredients, create positive customer experiences, generate longterm customers, and get people talking about how your clubhouse serves the best food.