The keys to creating great member experiences are communication, teamwork and preparation. Annette Whittley, search executive and consultant with Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace, shared the essence of an effective pre-shift briefing during a food and beverage seminar at the CMAA World Conference on Club Management earlier this year.

When planning pre-shift briefings, think about who, what, where, how and when. Who will conduct the meetings, where will they take place, for what purpose, how will they be executed and when will they happen. Consistency in communication is important, so think about having your meetings at the same time and place daily with no distractions.

What kind of content should be included during pre-shift briefings? Whittley recommends food, beverage, service, handouts and feedback. Include regular menu items, not just the specials and highlight menu changes and 86’d items for both food and beverages. Review service  techniques, pointers and reminders. Provide handouts of essential information and share feedback from members and guests.

Pre-shift meetings should be upbeat and fun, sending the team into service with positivity. They are also great times to recognize and reward employees. “Introduce competitions, have quizzes, announce tests, offer prizes, boost employee pride and always aim to make your briefings fun,” Whittley urged.

“These meetings are also a great time to hold employees accountable,” she said. Give constant, gentle pressure that accumulates over time to encourage, empower and develop teammates. This can be for specific individuals or the team as a whole.

“Pre-shift briefings are the only period of time during the day when you have the complete and focused attention of your team. Make sure you use that time to connect, listen, inspire and drive your employee and member experience forward each day,” she concluded.

About the author….

Annette Whittley, is a food and beverage training consultant and search executive with Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Annette can be contacted at (561) 827-1945 and at

Private Club Advisor Plus – May 2022