I agree that F&B has not improved in the last 12 months.
I have ventured to eat at the club three times recently, and every occasion was a complete nightmare. This is a pity as I used to enjoy spending a lot of time at the club, but now I would not bring friends to eat there.
I realise that it has been an almost impossible 12 months for hospitality due to the government’s response to Covid, but there are some issues that go above and beyond this:
1. Why does the cheapest salad bowl now cost £10-£12? Fish and chips is close to £20. A coffee or tea (lukewarm and weak) is £3. This is a club not a designer gastropub, and these kind of prices are unaffordable for day to day eating as a member. Why have the prices inflated so much and so suddenly?
2. On the subject of tea – why is it a shock every afternoon when everyone comes in asking for tea? I was there on a Bank Holiday Monday and getting a cup of tea took over half an hour because the queue was going round the block. I know that some members are difficult and want frozen coffee with whipped cream and gluten free cacao nibs, but create a different queue for them. At other clubs where tea is a stalwart part of the day, there is usually trestle tables set up with trays laid with milk, cups/saucers, teaspoons and teapot with bags in. All you have to do is pick up how many trays you want, pass the teapot to be filled with boiling water, pay and move on.
2. Why do we suddenly have so many differently branded eating spots? I have no idea where to order for the best, and get so fed up with all the different logos and names (e.g. ‘Seared’, ‘Tonic’, ‘Deli’, ‘The Restaurant’). I am 30 years old and appreciate the desire to update and rebrand, but it is just so confusing and at a certain point you have to appreciate it is a club, not a shopping centre. Young people like coming somewhere that is somewhat traditional – that is what sets it apart from the rest of the offerings in the capital.
3. The point above has led to some unfortunate incidences with staff. We ordered lunch in the Harness Room (or ‘The Cafe’) recently and went to sit outside and wait. We then got the order twice over, once from the Bar and one from the Harness Room. I got told that I had ordered twice and it was my fault, when I hadn’t set foot in the bar area. The coffee then arrived (£6 for two) and was cold and only halfway up the cup. The whole lunch cost over £30, wasn’t very good and the team were unpleasant – what a waste of money.
On another occasion we all arrived to have the BBQ, which was meant to be open until 9pm on the website. When we arrived at 8pm we were told it had closed and we could only have pizza. Fine. We duly ordered pizza and paid the bill, only to be told we hadn’t paid the bill and were asked to pay again.
Everyone – F&B team and members – seems very very confused. There are certain allowances for Covid, but perhaps a more streamlined operation with fewer brands and a focus on service would help. Perhaps it will improve now that Vince is back.