There are a lot of variables to account for. It is true that a country club typically runs a higher food cost than a standard restaurant. What is the general make-up of your menu? Do you have a lot of higher end products like beef and seafood? The pay scale has to be in line with the average income level of the area you are in. Cooks in the bigger cities need to make more just to offset the cost of living. I used to run a place similar to yours and I started my kitchen workers at $7.50 /hr. My highest paid line cook made $12.00/hr. That was a small town in northern Michigan though. Here in Vegas cooks start at no less than $12.00/hr and go up to about $19.00/hr because it is so much more expensive to live here. I agree with the catering/banquet thing. If you have a facility, that is the easiest way to boost revenue. As far as the food cost thing, just remember that you cannot take food cost % to the bank, only profit. If I sell a hamburger for $7.00 and it cost me $1.85 to put it on the plate, my % is a great 26%, but my margin is only $5.15. Take a 2# lobster that costs me $17.70 that I sell for $45.00. My food cost has gone to 39% but my margin is now $27.30 The key is having a sensible menu mix so that your cost of sales allows for profit at the end of the day. Your C.O.S. as a percentage may be 90% and you can still make a healthy profit if the revenue is there.
I know that I maintained my food cost at about 36%. We had a fairly healthy banquet revenue to help the costs, and I regularly beat up my vendors on price. Special events always went over well for our members. Comedy shows, jazz bands, wine pairings, seasonal parties, lobster night, karaoke. Book them far out and sell tickets on an inclusive basis. Give people their money's worth, but make sure you get a good price for the event. I also taught cooking classes on a bi-weekly basis. Golf tournaments, outdoor parties on the driving range with tents and such, black tie dinners. All of these things made us a tremendous amount of money and it keeps the interest of your membership.
Also, look for certain key items that you can use to cut costs. There is a fine line between maxing out your labor to prep from scratch and buying in some more finished products that save you labor costs. Remember that labor is not just an hourly wage, it is the average 28% additional cost for payroll taxes, workers comp, health care costs and the like that need to be considered. Cutting out one FTE can save you around 24k per year at $9.00/hr.
Just a few thoughts
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!