How clubs are balancing efficiency and customer experience in 2023

March 6, 2023 | Hospitality

How are clubs adapting to the changing economic landscape of 2023? With more than 60 years’ experience in the design and construction of award-winning hospitality venues, Paynter Dixon is on the cusp of sector innovation – leading to the exploration of international markets.

Strategic Development Lead for Hospitality, Andrew Neagle, recently returned from the US where a touring Paynter Dixon delegation visited a range of high-profile venues.

“We spent considerable time in Southern California where larger venues are not dissimilar to the Australian club movement in how they operate within, and for, their local patrons and communities.”

“These venues are labour intensive by virtue of their immense size and scale. Through our discussions with these operators, we gained insight to the impact of staff shortages across their operations – from gaming and entertainment to dining and multi-storey accommodation.”

“It was fascinating to see how venues are responding with technology to reduce friction in the customer experience while capturing service efficiencies.”

“For example, the ability for customers to pre-pay for beverages at a bar. The customer can then visit a dispense area at their leisure, self-serving from a vast range of beverages on tap.

“Digital displays are also ubiquitous in lounges and seated areas, allowing customers to order and pay for food from inhouse restaurants and serveries. These systems are becoming industry norms.”

“While there is a continued trend for scrutinising operations and overheads, service efficiency is a fine balancing act. Underwhelming the customer is a risk, especially in a competitive market where consumers have choice – whether dining out or ordering in.”

Figures from point-of-sale software provider, Lightspeed, show month-on-month revenue for NSW bars and restaurants is up 14 per cent for the last month of 2022. NSW Government has also reported that more than 700 licensed restaurants, pubs, cafes and small bars have accessed simplified approvals to extend their liquor licence boundaries to include new outdoor dining spaces.

Alarmingly, inflation continues to drive up costs in the hospitality sector, with clubs under pressure from rising food and energy costs. Paynter Dixon’s General Manager of Design, Nick Healey, encourages clubs to consider their options for improving energy efficiency in ageing venues.

“There are a range of ways we can assist clients, such as building energy modelling which will assess the thermal performance of the building and identify cost effective and compliant solutions. Those solutions can include installing new building insulation, more effective plant management systems and upgrades to air conditioning systems.”

To learn more, contact Andrew Neagle on

This article appeared in the Autumn 2023 edition of Clubs and Pubs Manager magazine.