Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why Most Legions, VFWs, Eagles, Elks and Moose Lodges Struggle for Money

All across America there are Fraternal, Benevolent, Religious and Military organizations. They are known as VFW’s, American Legions, DAV’s, Am Vets, Elks, Eagles, Moose, Odd Fellows, Knights of Columbus, etc. Some are called posts; some are lodges, while others are aeries. All were chartered on great principles and each contribute immensely to the communities they serve.

Most are housed in humble, but prominent buildings. Many offer a bar area where members, and even the general public can sit, relax, and share friendship. About 65% offer some form of hot food service - generally popcorn, pizza and burgers; but on special occasions such as holidays, membership nights or installation nights they serve nice meals.

Joining one of these organizations is fairly easy. One talks to a member - gets an application and submits it the governing body who then verifies the information. If approved a small initiation fee is generally required, then there is some sort of introductory process or perhaps even a ritual. Then, each year a ‘nominal’ annual membership fee is required.

One would think these clubs with their membership base to draw upon and the great name recognition they have in the community would be rolling in dough; however most struggle financially. Why? Eba G’s believes for three reasons:

REASON NUMBER 1 – Two Many Cooks. Members of these clubs think of them as their ‘personal hangouts’. They walk into restricted areas like the kitchen, behind the bar and even in the storage rooms. Because it’s ‘their club’ they give advice and bark out orders or criticize employees: especially the bartenders, wait staffs, cooks, dishwashers etc. They tell employees what to do and what not to do. Working in one of these organizations is a nightmare for employees. They receive way too much unneeded guidance and conflicting directions which creates chaos and bedlam.

REASON NUMBER 2 – Scared Cows. Service clubs perpetuate ‘Scared Cows’ that prevent profits. Wednesday night Bingos, Pinnacle on Tuesday afternoons, Sheepshead & Cribbage on Thursdays and $1 tap beer. Imported wines, fancy craft beers wines and exotic cocktails are seldom found behind the bar.

REASON NUMBER 3 – Non-Professional Club Managers. The governing bodies of service clubs, which are elected, think of themselves as the de facto club owners. They typically hire under-qualified individuals who are willing to work for ridiculously low wages yet are called Club Managers. The Club Managers they hire have little - if any - real management or business experience. Most were just good bartenders or nice cooks with outgoing personalities. The vast majority are clueless on how to actually run a profitable bar operation. They’re given tremendous responsibilities but no real authority - everything they do must be approved by “The Board”.

With no management experience they seldom set or enforce - employee standards and don’t provide employees with any real training on core areas like: 1) customer service 2) menu sales 3) food preparation & presentation 4) cocktail mixing techniques or 5) bar courtesies. They have no idea how to develop a cash flow analysis or plan money making events or schedule entertainment programs. They continue to perpetuate revenue loosing and lackluster events so as not to ruffle the feathers of the ‘old timers’ – and they wind up maintaining the status quo.

Creating a profitable post, aerie or lodge is not hard.  Here is the formula:

1) Hire a professional manager - someone with knowledge and experience in food and beverage operations

2) Allow that person to manage - let him or her create profitable food & drink specials and 

3) Enforce conduct and dress standards for both club members and employees.

Great Club Managers pay for themselves in no time. They increase bar profits, generate food sales and boost membership. Plus they reduce those the discriminatory dividers such as: the WWII Vets don’t like the Korean Vets and the Vietnam Vets don’t like the Desert Storm Vets etc, etc, etc.

The one thing to remember is: If your lodge, post or aeries hires Floyd or Betty’s niece to be your Club or Bar Manager will continue to be hard pressed for cash and never build up membership.

Eba G is a bar profit analyst who helps small bars, local taverns and fraternal clubs generate big profits. Eba G shares great ideas visit Eba on face book at or link with Eba at to increase your sales and enhance your profits?

No comments:

Post a Comment