Allen Evans at Katherine Country Club. Image supplied.

Seasoned club operator Allen Evans has been appointed CEO of Katherine Country Club in the Northern Territory.

Evans joins the club from the Jawoyn Association, a local First Nations association where he was the general manager. Before that, he had filled the CEO role at multiple clubs across the country, usually taking on short-term roles for clubs in need of assistance. But in Katherine he has put down roots, and intends to stay long-term.

“For a long time I enjoyed the short term stuff and just putting systems in place and moving on. When you get a bit older, you decide it’s time to settle down and stay in one place, and Katherine is beautiful,” explained Evans.

Having only been in the role for six weeks, Evans has wasted no time in making his mark on the club. A new and bigger kitchen is being built to facilitate events of 150-200 in the all-weather marquee at the back of the clubhouse. The bowling green has been resurfaced and work is going on at the club’s golf course. A new kids’ playground that has been in the works for some time has also been built in the last few weeks.

“You’ve got to hit the ground running!”

While facilitating these plans, Evans acknowledged that the club’s board has allowed the works to go ahead at full speed.

“It’s a progressive board. They’re all in business, they know what it’s like to run a business and make things happen.”

Evans’ current focus is on simplifying the club’s menu particularly as much of the club’s kitchen staff are casuals or on visas – hence, the menu needs to be consolidated.

“We’re just getting our menus right and our POS right. And I think that’s something that covid taught us. Our menus were always too big, especially when we had to throw all the stock away. As an industry we learned a fair bit during that time.”

Next on Evans’ agenda is preparing for renovations at Katherine Country Club that should start in about six months. The kitchen will be moved to a different spot in the clubhouse, while the gaming room floor will be expanded to make the area more spacious.

Getting staffing levels right is also a priority, as with wet season approaching the tourist trade will drop off, however the club will remain busy with business from the nearby Tyndall Air Force Base as well as other government work in the area. The club has also partnered with Hospitality NT on training for staff at the supervisor level.

In terms of growing the club’s business, Evans is also focused on promotions, as well as getting the club’s gaming loyalty system operational.

Long-term, Evans would like to look at other ways the club can diversify its business, pointing to the example of many clubs in New South Wales that have expanded into different trading opportunities. One idea Evans has floated to the board is building cabins at the front of the club’s property, to help with the lack of accommodation supply in the area come dry season. The club has already begun talks with Tourism NT and the Territory government to see how the idea can come to fruition.

“We’ve got a fair bit on our plate, but we’re just chipping away at it slowly. We’ll achieve our goals without a doubt.”

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