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Sam Lindsley to focus on Food & Beverage Consulting and Searches

Press Release: KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE Continues Expansion

Sam Lindsley to focus on Food & Beverage Consulting and Searches
KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, one of the most recognized names in private club search and consulting, is expanding again. That means expanded services for private clubs looking to improve their food and beverage operations.

“KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE is truly excited to welcome Sam Lindsley to our team. Sam has a wealth of executive level experience in the hospitality industry and brings a depth of food and beverage knowledge that many of our clients have been seeking,” said KK&W partner, Dick Kopplin, in making the announcement.

“We know that his talents will be in demand for clubs needing assistance in one of their most critical operational areas – food and beverage. We are enthused to welcome Sam to our firm. It’s certainly a growing area and we feel we can offer private clubs an excellent professional search service as clubs continue to grow their food and beverage programs,” Kopplin added.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have someone of Sam’s character, experience and industry reputation join KK&W! Few are as knowledgeable in the industry relative to F&B, as well as overall hospitality industry leadership talent acquisition, development and retention. He is awesome and complements our team in every way!” added partner Kurt Kuebler.
“I am both personally and professionally honored to be joining the firm of KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE,” Lindsley responded.

“To join the ranks of such an elite firm is a professional milestone and I look forward to working with Dick, Kurt, Tom and the entire KK&W team to continue the firm’s mission as the premier search and consulting firm for the private club industry,” he added.

“Sam adds a different perspective to KK&W one that will quickly become an undeniable asset to our team,” injected partner Tom Wallace.

“With his early years in the club business as a foundation, and with the last 20 years in running and opening some of the most premier standalone, casino and sporting venue-based restaurants in the country, Sam has honed his understanding of the hospitality industry.

“Specifically, he has hired and trained thousands of people along with running over $30 million worth of restaurants annually with extreme efficiency, outstanding service cultures and financial prudence. Sam will be an excellent F&B consultant and search executive,” Wallace added.

Sam was the chief operating officer of Michael Symon Restaurants (MSR), a growing Cleveland restaurant company with seven distinct concepts, 18 restaurants and annual sales over $35 million.

In the 10 years with MSR, Sam had written all standard operating procedures for the company and instituted best practices to ensure proper accountability and created a world-class service culture. He is a leader and bottom line producer whose strength lies in the fact that he understands that the backbone of any successful food and beverage operation is not only the systems put in place to control costs but the ability to foster a culture of genuine hospitality.

Prior to coming on board with MSR, Sam spent nine years with Hospitality Restaurants in Cleveland where he was the general manager of the Blue Point Grille, as well as, corporate wine trainer for the company.

Sam’s club experience includes food and beverage director positions, at both, The Cleveland Athletic Club and The Country Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio. He also served in various positions at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio.
Sam is on the board of directors of The Ohio Restaurant Association and is the association vice-chairman.

He also serves on the advisory board for Destination Cleveland (CVB), is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is a certified sommelier.

Sam can be contacted at:
Sam Lindsley / Consulting & Search Executive
Cell: 216-509-2250

Please join us in welcoming Sam to the KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE team.

KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE specializes in General Manager/COO, Director of Golf, Golf Course Superintendent, Executive Chef, Racquet Sports Professional, Community Association Manager, Assistant General Manager, Clubhouse Manager/Food & Beverage Director and Fitness Director searches, as well as Strategic Planning and Consulting services for Private, Resort and Developer – Owned Properties.
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Where do you see the country club industry heading?

Interestingly, I think the club industry is really heading down a path of convenience. I’m not sure everybody agrees with me on that, but I think in this day and age, if we don’t make club usage convenient, however you define the word convenience. Whether its easy access, enjoyment, ability to meet friends and family there on a drop-in basis, if it isn’t convenient, and you don’t use that word to overlay everything you’re doing, practice activity process, you’re probably not going to win the battle for the discretionary dollar spent, and the discretionary time that members need to allocate to their club use.


How vital is communications to your members while undergoing a construction project?

You can’t overcommunicate with your membership during a project out there, and we see so many examples, both positive and negative, in the 300 plus clubs that we get to visit every year. I think having streaming video is one tool that I’ve seen great success with out there, having regular periodic updates to really build the momentum and enthusiasm that your membership has for a project. Again, you can’t overcommunicate. Having a good, thoughtful communications plan in general is important, and then having somebody make sure that it’s done very well, because there’s nothing worse than having a communications plan that is inferior in delivery.


How is club communications evolving?

I think club communications in this day and age has really become a priority rather than a secondary thought for most successful club managers. The focus on having a thoughtful communications plan in a lot of different forms, utilizing social media, utilizing video content, has really been elevated in the last couple of years, and I think that’s going to be the standard for successful clubs in the future.


How do I hire a director of golf for my country club?

Hiring a director of golf or a head golf professional, for us is very similar to every other discipline. You really start with identifying the key competencies, attributes, that are unique to your club. If you don’t start that way first, one size doesn’t fit all and you’re gonna be in that one size fits all category. Taking a step back and looking at who could help you there, it could be someone like our search for … Quite frankly, it could be PGA career links may be what you need. It could be talking to local professionals.

We believe that what we could bring to you from Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace is someone who could go out and actually recruit those people who are actively, happily engaged in their own jobs, who aren’t looking, but who we become your Chamber of Commerce to go recruit.


How has short-form video helped with your success?

It was all new to us and we weren’t sure how it was going to be received. But boy, now that we’ve done it, we have had countless potential candidates talk about how valuable it’s been to them. They love the quality of it. For us, it’s been a very reasonably priced means of communicating to potential candidates and clients out there. It’s really been a home run all the way around and again, it was new formed to us. We were used to the traditional print media or email techniques of communicating with potential candidates and clients. But this has been a home run for us.


How do you assist country clubs after the fact of the hiring process?

The most often requested, and frankly included in GM CEO searches, is the fact that we come back and we do a board retreat, typically an all-day or a half-day depending on what each club is looking for, where we talk about best practices, we talk about how to get things done with and through well-intended volunteers. We really set the tone for having good discussion, dialog, and clarity in where we’re going in the future.


What are country clubs typically looking for in a general manager?

They’re most often looking for five things. Number one, they’re looking for someone who is visible and engaged with the members and staff both. Looking for a great team developer, someone who knows how to acquire a great team training, and develop a great team. They’re looking for some who’s got great financial acumen. If you don’t know your numbers, if you don’t know how to run the business, you’re not gonna be successful. They’re looking for someone who can be a great organizer of well-intended volunteers, as I call them. Someone who knows the ins and outs of non-profit governance, and can help bring a disparate group of people together to form good vision, and strategic planning for the future. Number five, you still need to have great food and beverage skills, in this day and age.


What role do you think short-form video plays in club communication today?

I think it’s increasingly more important and will become even more important in the future as more people become comfortable and understanding of how powerful it is. Those clubs that we see managers employing that means of communication with their members as long as it’s done in a very quality oriented manner. We’ve seen some where it’s self administered that doesn’t always meet the goals or objectives of what it’s trying to do. When it’s done well, it can be very powerful and of the 300 or so clubs that we get to visit each year, those managers that have employed that tactic of communication are just wishing they could do more and more of it and probably are.


What role do you think social media plays for country clubs today?

It’s becoming more and more important. We actually just wrote an article for BoardRoom Magazine about the use of social media and all the clubs that we get to visit and we’ve seen a greater, more effective use of it. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, some of the most common and I’m sure there are many others that I’m not even aware of at this point in time that are gonna become even more important. But, having a thoughtful, dedicated communications person whose skilled to do quality communications really seems to be the key to success there. It’s one of those that it’s hard to see the direct payback for it. But boy, those managers who have employed someone in that role who is skilled, really seemed to speak to the significant benefits of continued engagement of their membership and frankly, better usage of the club.