Catering and Business Committee Report Dec 2007


When the new committee took office in the late February it was obvious the club was in a serious financial state. There was a considerable loss on the previous year's workings and an unpaid utilities debt of several thousand pounds plus a debt of around 45,000 to the brewery. In addition much essential maintenance had been neglected due to financial constraints.

Strict control of expenditure was necessary and a maximisation of revenue sources. The previous committee had gone a fair way down the road to negotiate a new supplier of drinks and change the brewery loan from a barrelage basis to a commercial loan. Your Board has, after a lot of ground work, been able to obtain an interest free loan and an even better drinks deal with a new brewery, which should in the fullness of time, provide us with a springboard for improved bar profits. This has taken longer than anticipated but we should be fully operational well before the start of the new season.

It has been clear for some time that functions are essential to the club's finances; indeed without them we would be bankrupt. Due to changed drinking habits and the poor usage of the club by members we need to diversify and find ways of attracting people to the club when cricket is not taking place. To this end we require younger members and new ideas and the vitality to carry them through. As Kitchener would have said "Your club needs you!"

In order to encourage more function business it was decided to offer potential customers a self catering option with the chance, if they so wished, to use one of the clubs preferred caterers. We felt that the wider choice should prove more attractive and it has been well received. The consequence was that the franchised caterer's contract was terminated. In fact, he had already passed on the provision of cricket teas and refreshments to Marilyn and Joe, who will continue.

I think a word of warning is necessary over functions as they can be fraught with many problems, including behaviour, numbers attending, the amount of money spent over the bar and late cancellations which can cause loss of revenue.

The lower pavilion and ground is a cause of financial concern as the outgoings far exceed the income. This may be considered reasonable as it provides a good round for the club's various sides but when you consider a quarter of a million pound pavilion is used 3-4 times per week in the summer and rarely in the winter it does seem a waste. We have been unable to suggest means of a more flexible use. If anybody has any bright ideas please let us know.

Paul Foulder will be writing a report on the wonderful efforts of his house committee and I think you will all appreciate what has been achieved, very cheaply, in such a short time. Most of the work is Paul's own with wonderful help from Dave Cunningham and the Brigadier, alias Leo Martin. Let us hope next season provides better weather as last summer's monsoons were no help to a struggling club.