Based in central London the European Club was founded in 1900. The club is a non-profit making charity whose good works for the last 100+ years include offering scholarships for gifted children from poorer countries the opportunities to study in the UK. The Charity is governed by a Board of Trustees who also form part of the Board of Directors. The CEO sits on the Board of Directors whilst the General Manager and Club Secretary report into the CEO. The vision and mission statement is represented as “High quality hospitality at affordable prices.” A statement of values has been an agenda item for almost a year but has not been actioned.
Revenue for the charity is derived from the operation of the central London clubhouse (situated in a fashionable street in Mayfair London W1) containing a very ‘old fashioned’ and largely unused waiter service cocktail bar, The Fox and Hound and 50 seat restaurant, The Dining Rooms, 4 function rooms (no in-built meeting room equipment) and a number of bedrooms (50) which it lets to club members for a highly subsidised amount of just £75 per night. Many of these rooms have not been refurbished in quite a while.
The building itself has a certain faded grandeur but is in need of some much needed planned and reactive renovation and maintenance to furniture, fixtures and fittings. Some of the systems in the Club, including reservations and front office, are still on Excel spreadsheet functions. A manual process is used for creating reservations for the bedrooms, restaurant and bar and function rooms. There is however an online payment system used but there are three separate systems, one for each department. Wifi is available throughout the Club.
Many of the staff have been there for many years and the way things operate have not changed much for a long time. Whilst familiar and comfortable with the current ways of doing things, the staff often moan about the amount of time it takes and the inefficiency of the systems in place. There is a very defined hierarchy and staffing structure in the departments. The organisational chart below details the restaurant, bar and event management departments.
Staff are not encouraged to make decisions without reference to the head of department nor are they encouraged to put forward new ideas for enhancing or improving practice. Any changes to practice are often from the top down and staff opinions are rarely sought.
Morale, as measured by a small yearly staff survey, appears low, and many of the younger staff leave after just a couple of months citing lack of opportunities and poor training as a cause. The survey also shows that staff are not happy with their manager and feel that they do not get praised or rewarded when they do a good job.
The previous CEO had been with the charity for some 30 years and very much left the management of the club to the General Manager, who also retires later this year. The new CEO of the charity believes that there is a lot more that might be achieved, and good works undertaken, if the operation itself makes more money to invest into the charitable works, and she firmly believes that the organisation is underperforming and is inefficient.
Membership of the club has been falling steadily over the past five years and now stands some 50% of its original membership. A recent member survey shows significant complaints about the conditions of the facilities, especially the restaurant and bar which the members use to entertain as well as the drop-in customer service as well as the general lack of organisation.
The CEO has approached you and wants to employ your HR consultancy services to address the strategic HR issues around a modernisation plan for the restaurant and bar facilities of the club. The modernisation and renovation programme will include the following:
The refurbishment of The Fox and Hound Bar, the Dining Room and the function rooms
Training and development of all staff on the new processes connected to the Bar, Dining room and function rooms.
The refurbishment has been given to an architectural firm that will employ its contactors and manage all the building work. They have promised to work to the project deadlines. Naturally this will mean the members of the club paying more for the services; however, this will bring the charges in line with similar institutions and facilities. The CEOs biggest concern is how to undertake this project with the minimum of disruption to both members and staff. It is not an option to shut the club down completely during the project. Business as usual, as much as possible, must be maintained.