There have been some exciting changes in our Club Lounge operation since the start of the year, and feedback from members has been very positive. Our Spring menu launch at the end of March has emphasised and built on these changes in a number of ways. Please let us explain……..
Going Fresh…… again!
When we opened the Club last year, we launched with a very small menu focused almost exclusively on freshly produced dishes. This was well received, but we were inundated with requests to add more variety. This we did, but with hindsight the next menu iterations offered too many dishes, often pre-prepared, and as a result we struggled to provide the consistency of service and the fresh produce that we were targeting. The new Spring menu reverses this trend, and we have moved back to a smaller menu, focused primarily on fresh.
Inspired by culinary TV shows, like that of ‘Mind of a Chef’ and ‘Chef’s Table’ the kitchen team has developed a core ethos focused around: “Fresh, Local, Community and Simple”. Our new menu epitomises this new direction with fresh food prepared daily, sourced where possible from local employers, and delivered in a simple, uncomplicated way.
Introduction of Specials
In February we introduced our daily specials onto our menu and these have proven very popular. Particular favourites have been the pan-seared beef in sesame and soy and our tomato and basil penne. On our new Spring menu, the specials have become a daily focus for us, providing menu variety for all those members using the Club on a very regular basis. We also have a daily soup special, and a daily desert special, if you are feeling particularly peckish! If you have not tried any of the specials yet, please do so and let us know which ones are your favourites.
New Sharing Dishes
We have also introduced three new “sharers” which can be ordered for four – chicken fajitas (built at the table), tomato and chicken basil pasta and, for those of you with healthy appetites, a mixed grill sharer. The sharer concept fits well with our overall “community” ethos of both the kitchen team and the Club overall – aiming to be a place to socialise as well as exercise – so why not come and try them with your family or friends.
Positioning on Prices
The new menu has seen the first price changes since we opened our doors. Some prices have been reduced, but more have, regrettably, increased. Partly these changes have been driven by supplier price increases and partly by a lack of margin on some dishes. On average across the menu we have kept the increases to a little more than 4%.
Our objective with regard to the prices we charge has not changed since we opened. It is simply to be very competitive versus typical high street outlets. We want to encourage our members to eat and drink in the Club, not only because it is a wonderful, sociable environment in which to relax, but because it also offers excellent value for money.
Impact of the Sugar Tax
We have also taken the decision to raise our drinks prices for the first time this Spring, and this is for two main reasons. Firstly, we have seen some big price increases from our suppliers in recent months, especially on wines and beers, and secondly, as I am sure you have seen in the press, the government has introduced a “sugar tax” from 1st April. This is having a major impact on the prices of drinks with a high sugar content, such as Coca Cola, Lucozade Sport, some Fever-Tree mixers and Red Bull, raising prices by 25-30% in some cases.
Our coffee and tea prices will rise slightly but remain very competitive versus the big high street chains such as Costa and Café Nero. Prices for our milkshakes, juices and smoothies, will either rise marginally or not at all.
Overall our aim is to provide the high quality of food, drink and service that our members expect, at a very competitive price! As ever we welcome feedback on our Club Lounge operations and, whether it is good or not, we always listen to what our members say, and respond!