2011-02 The Dorn Group Hospitality Newsletter
It has been quite some time since we’ve sent an issue of our newsletter. When I started a number
of years ago I promised you I would only write when I had something to say. Now is the time. In this issue you will find a column about where the industry is today entitled, “2011-Back to the Future”, a second article about a new service we are offering, Executive Search. Finally, the third piece we are presenting today discusses the need for branding your product or service. As usual, we welcome your comments.
With best wishes for a great spring …
Please fell free to e-mail Dorn at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. 2011 - Back to the Future
2. Executive Search Services
2011 - Back to the Futures
Charles D. Dorn, CCM
About 45 days of 2011 have passed. The stock market has shown promise (If you own Apple, IBM or Exxon, you are REALLY happy!), and more importantly, most sectors of the hospitality industry have shown some signs of moving forward. By no means are we out of our funk but the signs are there. Read publications like, “Hotel Business” and you will see discussion of companies beginning to take their plans off the back burner and move forward. Projects which had been stalled for the past few years are being dusted off. Speaking with representatives of a major kitchen design firm recently, I was pleased to hear their business was much better than last year at this same time.
Other segments of the industry have not shown significant growth yet but some signs are present. Many private Clubs have more potential members in the membership process than in recent years. In particular one older traditional Club in the Northeast took in more than 20 new “Junior” family memberships during 2010 and anticipates more in 2011.
So here we are, new members in Clubs, new developments in the pipeline and what do we see? An amazing number of properties throughout the industry stuck in the mud offering the same services at the same prices as they have for years. WAKE UP folks… the old model you operated under is gone, broken and dead. Today’s consumers do not want what our mothers and fathers did. It does not matter if you are in the restaurant business, the hotel business or the Club industry. If your product has not changed, you have a problem.
Let’s look at something seemingly as simple as dress codes. Many traditionalists (63+) want to wear a jacket to dinner on a Saturday night. Baby Boomers (44-62) want high end casual clothing; Gen X (28-43) want casual clothing but many would describe their definition as low-end. Gen Y (11-27) wants to wear whatever is comfortable for them. We will not even discuss what Gen Z or the “Zippies” will want in the future.
So here is the question. Are you doing what they want or what you want? If your guests want smaller portions do you say, “Sorry, we only have one size” or do you say, “Sure, tell us what you want.” Michelle Bernstein, celebrity chef in Miami operates a restaurant called “Michy’s.” The majority of the menu is available in multiple sizes. There are no appetizers or entrees. If you want short ribs or pasta you can order them in a variety of sizes. Would this concept improve your business?
So the title of this piece spoke of the future. What does the future hold for you and your business? You are the only one who knows but I can tell you it is time to talk to your customers and find out what they want. In the various “back to the Future” movies, what did we see … A Delorean car powered by a “Mr. Coffee” machine, a train which could fly and a mad scientist (Christopher Lloyd).
Who is your mad scientist? If it is you, it is time to put your lab coat back on and start thinking about what will make you better than the guy down the street. Be true to your brand. If you have the best burger in your town and everyone knows you for great pub grub, it is not the time to add foie gras to your menu. If you are known to have the best service in town, what can you do to raise the bar? 2011- The ball is in your court.
Charles D. Dorn, CCM is the Managing Director of The Dorn Group, Ltd. Created in 2005, The Dorn Group, Ltd. is a full-service hospitality consulting firm focused on providing strategic planning, operations management, and executive search to the hotel, restaurant and private club industries. The company is dedicated to helping clients maximize potential through exceptional management. The Dorn Group strives to deliver proven strategies to clients by capitalizing on their potential in an ever changing world. The firm is client driven, solution based, and committed to providing the best advice and services in a timely and cost efficient manner. Dorn may be reached by telephone at (914) 921-3150 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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Executive Search Services
Charles D. Dorn, CCM
Throughout the hospitality industry, many firms offer executive search services. The obvious question then, why ours? Regardless if you are an employer trying to fill a position or a candidate looking for the next great opportunity, we pay attention. We pay attention to what you need, your requirements are and what the idiosyncrasies which make your property special. Each opportunity is not for each candidate.
Candidates placed by The Dorn Group, Ltd. usually have backgrounds outside the traditional spectrum. A chef candidate for a hotel may have significant restaurant or private club experience. A candidate for a private club general manager’s position may have a significant amount of hotel experience. By example, if you want a restaurant general manager who will drive customer service, who would be better than a candidate trained by Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group of by Four Seasons Hotels?
The Dorn Group specializes in the placement of senior managers in the private club, restaurant and hotel businesses. Recent placements have included general managers, assistant general managers, executive chefs, sous chefs and controllers.
In looking for candidates, we bring many years of operational background to your search. We know what a general manager does from experience. We understand what an executive chef brings to today’s kitchen. Our searches seek to find candidates with vision and long term goals.
Recently we received a resume from a chef’s candidate who told us in his cover letter, “I am the perfect candidate because I have worked in 5 clubs.” The candidate was applying for a chef’s position in a well known traditional club. What the candidate did not know was what we were looking for. What we wanted was a candidate who had stability, a long track record and a path of growth. We did not want a candidate with only club experience. We will probably never place the candidate. In 10 years he worked for 5 properties and showed little growth. They were similar sizes properties and as recruiters we worry about why he moved so often.
So if you want to find the one special candidate and want a firm who brings a proven track record, we are the firm. To discuss your confidential situation, please call Charles D. Dorn, CCM at (914) 921-3150 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a candidate who wishes to be considered for a future opportunity, please send us a resume, a well written cover letter and the reasons you are looking for a change. Emails only to email@example.com
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Charles D. Dorn, CCM
Originally published in Boardroom Magazine in late 2010, this article applies to any industry offering a product or service.
As Golf and Country Clubs wind down their season and City Clubs forge through their busy period, it is time to recognize 2010 is essentially gone. So what does 2011 hold in store for the Club Industry?
2011 by many indicators will bring some degree of improvement to our economy but as many have said, the hospitality industry is one of the last to feel the effect of a recession and one of the last to recover. Club membership is heavily based on discretionary income and frankly many members and prospective members still do not have it.
During the economic downturn many Clubs have set themselves apart. They have established their brand and have set themselves apart from the competition. Consider the recent announcement the Hyannis Yacht Club (MA) restaurant, the Captain's Table, has become the nation's first yacht club restaurant to be certified as a 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant by the national non-profit Green Restaurant Association or the decision by Liberty National Golf Club (NJ) to purchase 20 I-Pads to use in lieu of traditional dining room menus.
As Clubs have struggled to maintain their facilities, others have taken a different approach and expanded or renovated. This past summer, the New York Yacht Club spent $3.5 to rebuild the cellar level of their historic Clubhouse including the replacement of their aging kitchen and employee locker rooms. Meanwhile, The Union Club of New York spent $4.2 million to replace their kitchen and renovate a number of banquet rooms in their landmark Delano and Aldrich building.
Perhaps the most profound changes being seen involve the dismantling of old school rules. Dress codes are being relaxed at Clubs across the country, and cell phones rules are being rewritten to recognize the importance of technology in member’s day to day lives.
The changes being made throughout the industry reflect the need to change based on changing member demographics. At the Yale Club of New York, a portion of the outdoor section of their rooftop dining room was transformed in to a lounge reminiscent of Manhattan’s trendy rooftop bars. The traditional menu was cast aside to target younger members. New offerings focus on lower price points, shared plates and bar snacks to be enjoyed with cocktails.
As Clubs go through the budget and planning process for the coming year, it is time to look beyond the existing offerings, the annual minor changes made to operations and instead ask the question, ”What do members want and what do they need? “ Most importantly, the follow-up is, “How do we give it to them in a way which respects our Club values and in ways they do not expect?”
Charles D. Dorn, CCM is the Managing Director of The Dorn Group, Ltd. Created in 2005, The Dorn Group, Ltd. is a full-service hospitality consulting firm focused on providing Strategic Planning, Operations Management and Executive Search to the hotel, restaurant and private club industries. The company is dedicated to helping clients maximize potential through exceptional management. The Dorn Group strives to deliver proven strategies to clients by capitalizing on their potential in an ever changing world. The firm is client driven, solution based, and committed to providing the best advice and services in a timely and cost efficient manner. Dorn may be reached by telephone at (914) 921-3150 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the author: Charles D. Dorn, CCM and The Dorn
Group, Ltd. aid hospitality businesses in discovering and
implementing new strategies to develop their business. Are
you looking into taking your business to the next level? Contact
The Dorn Group by calling 914-921-3150 or emailing email@example.com.
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