The University Club of Grand Rapids Tackles Purchasing Priorities: Partners with Avendra Clubs to Leverage Savings and Elevate the Member Experience
Founded in 1923, The University Club of Grand Rapids (“UCGR”) is the last standing city club in the area. It is a hub for business and local community leaders who come together to network, entertain guests, and enjoy social camaraderie. The panoramic city views and impeccable, personalized service make this social club the ultimate location. To further support club members, UCGR partners with Avendra Clubs to optimize performance, achieve procurement goals, and explore new ways to enhance their members’ experience with quality products and services.
We recently had an opportunity to speak with Mark Canak, UCGR’s General Manager, and Executive Chef, Matt Doorlag, about the success of the program.
Mark joined the UCGR team late in 2021 bringing Invited (formerly known as ClubCorp) management experience with him to implement cost savings initiatives that could support member experience investments. Chef Matt is a key partner to realizing these goals and he is keenly aware that food and beverage cost controls are a prime focus for savings optimization — as long as the product quality doesn’t suffer. Enter Avendra Clubs.
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Mark added, “Operational cash flow for the club is very important and given my positive past experience using Avendra’s program, introducing the Avendra Clubs segment, which is focused on independent private golf, city and social clubs, to the UCGR Board offered not only a great procurement savings solution, but a customer focused service model as well.
Additionally, UCGR now has access to more resources than before. National and regional suppliers are available along with opportunities for name brand and quality products and services offering savings that weren’t previously an option for us. For example, we can now offer members access to higher-end linens to upsell a private event. Avendra Clubs has opened a lot of doors for everyone on staff and not just in F&B.”
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Mark concurred and added, “She’s fantastic and if there are any purchasing, pricing, quality or delivery issues, she is responsive to help ensure quick resolution between both parties. Additionally, she remains engaged and focused on our initiatives which truly helps given I operate with a small team. For example, she regularly inquires as to event plans, like Mother’s Day, knowing we are looking to offer the membership an elevated experience and provides a look-book of unique supplier ideas. As the GM, I appreciate the personal touches that are on trend, good for our brand, and draws from the resources she has as to what other clubs and hospitality customers are doing.”
“We also like the variety of programs that Avendra Clubs offers to support UCGR’s initiatives outside of F&B. We look forward to exploring the Adult Beverage Program, as well as utilizing Avendra FF&E Services for upcoming capital projects on our radar.”
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“Additionally, Matt and I have bi-monthly calls with our Procurement Specialist where we review our Opportunity Savings Report which provides insight into new savings opportunities, and we have discussions on products and whether or not they should be added to UCGR’s F&B Order Guide to capture going forward.”
Inflation mitigation is also a challenge for the industry right now. Chef Matt noted that he appreciates that the program offers contracted pricing on items, so he doesn’t have to worry about price fluctuations or spend time searching other suppliers for savings.