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North Ridge Country Club Adds New Avenues For Revenue

Posted On: August 29, 2018 by VGM Club in: Clubhouse Food and Beverage

North Ridge Country Club Adds New Avenues of Revenue

We knew we could create a casual environment for our active members, so they would not have to change to enter. We want to offer every amenity under our roof. – Millie Harper on the addition of The Bunker, a coffee shop located on the North Ridge campus.

We spent some time talking with Assistant General Manager, Millie Harper from North Ridge Country Club, about the club’s efforts to adapt, evolve and create new avenues for revenue through the addition of The Bunker Cafe, a coffee shop located on the North Ridge campus.

Located on nearly 400 acres of rolling, wooded terrain in Raleigh, North Carolina, the impressive complex and grounds of North Ridge Country Club offer exceptional social and recreational opportunities for their members, families and guests. With a membership of nearly eleven hundred households, the club is a vibrant hub of activity for families interested in athletic and social opportunities all in one magnificent location.

What are some changes you have made to improve your club?

Millie: We have created a five year strategic plan that helps us enhance and renovate in several areas of our club that we feel need it. This helps us cater to those young families we have been attracting. We just finished phase two of our pool renovations.

  • We built a splash pad at our pool in place of the baby pool.
  • Also, we replaced all of the pool decking, furniture and a three flume slide in that area.

Next year, we plan to renovate the pool club house to be more suitable for use as well. In addition to those upgrades, we wanted to create a special place that would welcome families, as well as our lady golfers. They don’t have a private bar in their locker room, so we felt we were missing that component that the men had. This was how we came up with our coffee shop, called The Bunker Cafe. 

How did your club come up with the name, “The Bunker?”

Millie: We actually did this on a whim. We put this coffee shop idea out there for our board members and they were excited about it, so we put the naming rights out to our membership and ended up creating a name game to get all of our membership involved with it.

We told them when the facility was going to be open, and asked people to contribute names. I began collecting names and thought we might get 20 or 30 at most. We ended up getting about 500 names sent to us! From those names, we narrowed it down to about 20 that we thought could work.

Next, we asked our department heads and let them vote on their top 8. We sent the final 8 to our membership and let them vote on the final name. The name that was chosen was “The Bunker Cafe,” so that is what we named it. The person that provided the name received a $500 credit to use in The Bunker Cafe, as well as naming rights and all of that fun stuff. It was a cool way to get our membership involved.

What made your team confident that this was a sound utilization of capital expenditures – because of the presence of local shops, large chains like Starbucks, this is a little different challenge than upgrades to your course?

Millie: We felt like we could hit the mark with a number of different demographics in our club. We knew we wouldn’t get the people who still want to drive through Starbucks in the morning on the way to work, since The Bunker Cafe is on our lower level. We knew we could create a casual environment for our active members, so they would not have to change to enter. We want to offer every amenity under our roof.

There's soft seating, if people want to enjoy a nice casual area and read the paper, relax, or have a small meeting, they can do that. There’s a banquette in the corner so they can dine and have an area out of the way so they don’t feel like they are intruding on anyone. We also placed TVs all around the room for viewing in all areas.

We also built a sitting bar that has power and USB charging ports where members can have a conference call or work from there. A lot of people take advantage of that. People want to come in and do some work for an hour or two before they go out for their tee time, or after if they want to come back and check messages. We thought we could really capture the members who were going elsewhere to do these things. 

What does The Bunker offer?

Millie: Not just coffee! We also offer a full bar of fresh fruit and add-ins for fresh and healthy smoothies. We also have draft beers, nitro coffee, and all of the wines and liqours that you can order at any other bar in the club. During the winter, our members can enjoy a warm toddy by our stone wall firepit as well.

Additionally, we have a retro diner connected to The Bunker Cafe called The Sand Trap. Since these both share a kitchen, we have been able to have nightly offerings that people can get later in the day. The diner closes at three, and the dining room upstairs requires you to be dressed a particular way, we thought a nightly offering at The Bunker Cafe would be a casual offering for people after a round of golf, or after a workout. This helps us get some people who would otherwise go off site. In the future, we plan to introduce some new items like take and bake pizzas, and possibly an outdoor pizza oven. 

For information on how VGM Club could help your club accomplish some of the upgrades found in this interview, contact us at 800-363-5480 or visit www.vgmclub.com.

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