How Smart Planning Proves Bigger Isn’t Always Better
“Right sizing” has taken on new meaning in the club world where there are often a myriad of spaces serving a myriad of purposes on any given day, week or month. After decades of simply adding square footage each time a new need was identified, clubs are taking a hard look at space utilization and recognizing that bigger isn’t always better. In fact, many are finding both greater member satisfaction and operational efficiencies can be gained by taking a smarter look at space allocation and prioritization. By rethinking the floor plan, clubs can:
- Reduce staffing levels. Kitchens that are football fields away from dining rooms require additional servers just to keep service timely. Cavernous locker rooms that sit empty still require daily cleaning.
- Gain utilization. Members are clamoring for more casual dining while formal dining rooms sit unwelcoming and, often, largely empty.
- Increase energy and cost efficiency. Significant dollars can be spent heating, cooling and maintaining spaces that sit empty for hours if not days on end.
Better space utilization can address a number of operational challenges:
- Adequate storage. More than simply a nuisance, the lack of storage space commonplace in many older clubs means clubs lose out on the benefits of volume discounts — often needing to receive multiple shipments every week simply because they don’t have the place to store adequate food and supplies.
- Multipurpose and flexible spaces. Rather than separate board rooms, meeting spaces and banquet facilities, we’re finding inventive ways to create flexible spaces that don’t succumb to the much aligned felt partition feel.
- Shrinking locker rooms. More and more often, members live close enough to clubs that they’re willing and more likely to go home to shower and change. The result: huge locker rooms that sit vacant for hours of the day. Clubs will (and should) never relinquish the comfortable and even plush locker room. But half lockers instead of full lockers and a smaller footprint free square footage for other, more desirable spaces.
On the member experience side of things, can you introduce more child-friendly areas, better fitness facilities and significantly more casual dining space without significant expansion? We’ll tackle those issues in future issues. Have a space utilization question? Email us.