C+RB‘s 15th Annual Ideas Issue highlights creative new events and approaches, born out of pandemic necessity, that have earned permanent popularity. In this article, we look at how the Midlothian, Va. club launched “Sunday Funday,” a series of kids’ programs with an F&B component, to drive business while families are already at the club.
End-of-the-weekend dread is not on the agenda at Salisbury Country Club in Midlothian, Va. If anything, it’s quite the contrary, thanks to last year’s launch of “Sunday Funday,” a series of kids’ programs with an F&B component that aim to drive business while families are already at the club.
“Our special events manager, T. C. Clubb, noticed the large group of kids coming off the course on Sundays after golf clinics and thought, ‘Now do we capture those kids and then their parents who are here to pick them up?’” says Director of Food & Beverage Brian Gillert.
The program debuted last July with an ice cream flights theme, and then took place every other Sunday. Promoted in weekly e-mail blasts and social media, new Sunday Fundays announcements are made 1 to 2 days in advance and open up to online registration. Different desserts were spotlighted each Sunday, from crazy milkshakes to BYO ice cream sandwiches. As demand for the program grew, averaging 50 covers each time, the menu became even more creative.
Special attention was given to seasonal treats and holiday-influenced selections, including an Easter basket drive-thru and Cinco de Mayo churros. “We were always accommodating for [food] allergies and dietary restrictions, but a lot of these items I would definitely consider [as] items consumed on ‘cheat dates’ for those watching their figures,” quips Gillert.
When the club noticed that many of the same kids were attending week after week, Gillert and his team decided to offer a “Frequent Funday” punch card as an added incentive. Seven punches entitle the card holder to a free treat on their next visit. Over 100 Funday punch cards are currently in circulation.
Once COVID forced the club to shut down, it gave Salisbury’s members a chance to experience Sunday Funday in an entirely different format: taking (and making) the fun in the comfort of their own homes. The first kit, a make-your-own-ice-cream cone packaged in a reusable plastic bag, was available for drive-thru pickup. After selling 150 kits, the team followed up with an injectable donut-hole kit, complete with a plastic, jelly-filled syringe.
“We always include everything they would need in the kit, down to semolina flour in the pizza kits or sprinkles for the take-and-bake mug cake,” notes Gillert.
Sunday Funday has affirmed that Sunday is indeed the best day of the week, and the payoff for the club has been substantial, with nearly one-third of members participating. Not only has the staff been able to engage a growing family membership, it has helped to drive interest in other areas of the club.
“We have prospective member tours asking about the program, and we have non-members from the neighborhood calling to try and order the kits,” enthuses Gillert. His team is ramping up for continued success this summer by finding ways to incorporate other parts of the club campus, including the pool, in the Sunday Funday series.
In a similar vein, the club hosted its first annual “color run” last September as a way to make better use of the property.
Held outdoors on one of the golf nines, the event drew 150 participants dressed in white T-shirts and neon sunglasses. Doused in a rainbow of colorful powders (see photo above), members made it the finish line where they were met by an ice cream truck—the cherry on the top of a perfect day.
The Goal: Drive more business following Sunday golf clinics at Salisbury CC and create more family-focused opportunities, before, during and after the pandemic.
The Plan: Concoct mouthwatering dessert recipes and to-go kits for holidays, seasonal events and everyday fun.
The Payoff: More buzz created for club-wide programming.