Industry News

Bobby Jones Links Success Story: A Fresh Approach Pays off at Tennessee’s Fairfield Glade

A vital and flourishing golf and resort lifestyle community founded in 1970 and located about an hour from Knoxville, Tenn., Fairfield Glade now has 9,100 residents, 5,800 homes, five golf courses, and 18,000+ members who live all over the country. Aside from golf, there are 11 lakes, three swimming pools, an indoor racquet center, pickleball courts, and 20-some miles of walking trails. One thing that stood out as an area of need was the quality of food service at one of the property’s most high-profile food and beverage venues, the Stonehenge Grille.


In March of 2023, Bobby Jones Links (BJL) was hired to manage food and beverage operations at Fairfield Glade, aiming to improve financial performance and member engagement at Stonehenge Grille and four snack bars. 

“We hired Bobby Jones Links for two primary reasons,” says Bruce Cox, one of the board members at Fairfield Glade. “One was fiduciary – we needed to turn around the subsidy of our F&B department. The other was member satisfaction and improving our members’ experience. We wanted people to come to our restaurant, have dinner, enjoy themselves, think it’s great, and want to come back. We did a survey before Bobby Jones Links got here, and a lot of people said they’d been to Stonehenge, didn’t like it, and had no intention of coming back.”

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After Bobby Jones Links took over, visitors and revenue increased at Stonehenge, as did the member experience. This year, menu prices reflect the improved food quality and offers, which has helped profit – but Fairfield Glade members also receive a generous 20-percent discount. Visitors pay a higher price for food and members don’t complain because they enjoy the perks of belonging.

“We did our homework on the menu at Stonehenge, keeping the most popular items and adding some newer options and a rotation of specials that have become big hits. We also employ a seasonal menu so we’re always offering in-season ingredients and keeping the menu options fresh,” said Bobby Jones Links Senior Vice President of Operations Mike Nolen. “The other aspect that improved service was walking the staff through what we call the Customer Journey, so they’re anticipating a customer’s expectations and they’re in a position to exceed them. Then from a presentation standpoint, we’re making sure Stonehenge has a consistently inviting feel for its diners.”

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The results have been significant. Stonehenge saw a surge in patrons served of more than 20,000 and improved its NOI (Net Operating Income) by 24 percent. Overall, the total food and beverage income at the Stonehenge venues has risen 28 percent with positive cash flow in the six figures.

The process of training staffers has helped, according to Cox. “We have a few long-term food and beverage employees at Stonehenge who have benefitted from the fresh ideas and training provided by Bobby Jones Links,” says Cox. “It's definitely helping people notice the difference. People are coming in and they're coming back. On Next Door, there’s been nothing but accolades about how great the food and service have been. People recognize that the quality of food is better, and the menu offerings are better. It’s been a very positive impact.”

Overall, Cox says he’s been very impressed with the training Bobby Jones Links has given the food and beverage employees. “Bobby Jones Links has the right leadership,” he says. “Several senior people and support staff in F&B came in and not only did the training, but they'll come in and do assessments as well. They give their feedback, too. All that combined improves the performance of our restaurant and snack bars.”

Turnarounds like the improved dining experience at Fairfield Glade’s Stonehenge are common with Bobby Jones Links at the helm. Nolen says while there are certainly business formulas that work at properties like this, it’s the process of making the people behind the service invested in a better product and a better experience that carries the day. “Things as simple as letting servers know they’re empowered to solve any issues that will bring more customer satisfaction make a difference in the flow of the business and everyone’s overall satisfaction,” he said. “When things are operating efficiently, we can do things more creatively like adding more special themed dining nights. The fish fry night has become popular at Stonehenge and we can build on the creativity and special feel that’s coming together here.”

Nolen adds that improving the speed of service and elevating the food options at the club’s snack bars is the next work in progress and adds that “it’s really promising to see food and beverage operations improve across the board at Fairfield Glade.”