The building includes 84 hotel rooms and four dining options, including a pub, the Founders buffet, Café Meredith and the very popular 1862 Restaurant (which typically requires reservations weeks in advance, despite being limited to club members). The League’s culinary team is truly skilled, making their own bread, chocolate and ice cream, and butchering all meats on premises.
The League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and dignitaries from around the globe and proudly supports the American military (and has done so since the Civil War).
Today, the Union League is home to more than 3,450 men and women who contribute to club life and keep the League’s traditions alive, including civic participation and philanthropic outreach via charitable foundations and scholarship programs. The members represent the Philadelphia region’s leaders in business, education, technology, healthcare, law, government, religion, art and culture. Nearly 400 associates and employees work to serve and delight the League’s members.
The Union League has been an Avendra customer since 2005 actively utilizing Avendra’s purchasing programs for Administration, Food and Beverage, Engineering/Building & Construction, Rooms, Golf Pro Shop, Hotel Gift & Retail Shops, and FF&E Replenishment.
A Proud History, A Brighter Future
Back in the 1950s, there were approximately 38 city clubs in the Philadelphia area. Today, there are merely six. Jeff McFadden, a graduate of Cornell University and the League’s General Manager, attributes a lack of creativity and collaboration, along with an inability or unwillingness to invest in renovations and updates for the failures of other clubs. The Union League, on the other hand, has taken the opposite approach — a true commitment to innovation and new ideas — and is both thriving and serving as a top tier example of best practices in club industry.
Jeff feels quite strongly that innovation and smart investments are what truly drive business growth for a club like the Union League. During his tenure as GM, he has focused his energy on new and exciting offerings for his members, while continuing to invest, renovate and try new things.
“Fear of change and “the new” will inevitably hurt a club’s business and drive away members. People are looking for experiences. That’s what keeps members coming back and drives new memberships for our club.” Jeff says.
The purchase, renovation and grand opening of The Bungalow in the shore resort town of Stone Harbor, NJ
The Union League recognized that its members were more likely to frequent the shore vs. in the city during the summer and chose The Bungalow as a strategic seasonal investment. The dining establishment was purchased in March 2014 and opened on Memorial Day that same year.
Before opening, The Bungalow was enrolled in Avendra’s Food & Beverage purchasing program. The program enabled the establishment to take advantage of cost-saving opportunities with US Foods and other key suppliers. The results far exceeded original expectations: over 80 members and their guests were served each night, on average.
This coming season, Chef Martin Hamann looks forward to further reducing costs by working with his Avendra representative Michael Davis, to review purchasing data and spend insights, source additional local suppliers and optimize spending.
Renovating and operating The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale
The League’s most recent addition is the The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale (formerly known as the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club), located about 20 minutes from Center City. After renovations are complete, the golf club will offer League members five-star services and amenities, both at the clubhouse and on the noted Donald Ross designed course (ranked as one of the best and most challenging courses in the Philadelphia region).
When the Union League took over management, Jeff quickly enrolled the club in all of Avendra’s applicable purchasing programs, including Food & Beverage, Grounds & Agronomy, and Golf Pro Shop. This enabled him to take advantage of Avendra’s negotiated agreement with Toro for golf and agronomy equipment. Jeff is also evaluating Avendra’s golf cart and retail suppliers.
The League, under Jeff McFadden and the Board of Directors, controls all improvements and renovations to the property, ensuring that like all other League renovations, this project will be completed on time, on budget and with the most critical eye for quality.
Innovation Drives Real Growth, Real Success
Thanks to these investments and a shining commitment to collaboration and creative thinking, the Union League now operates three very diverse properties — a city club, a beach-area dining experience and a golf course. Thanks to similarly diversified purchasing programs and comprehensive support Avendra is able to serve each property’s unique needs.
Jeff credits these new member experiences with not only improving member retention, but also with helping the League to attract many new members this year. He believes the League will continue to grow and prosper, as they take smart and bold initiatives to drive member satisfaction and experience.
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