By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 5, 2018) Members of the Ocean Pines Clubs Committee last Thursday related several recent experiences, good and bad, at the association yacht and beach clubs.
It was the first time the committee had met since Matt Ortt Companies took over management of those facilities.
“It’s all been good that I’ve heard,” Suzanne Auwarter said of the yacht club.
Gail Lynch agreed.
“I’ve been there numerous times for dinner and lunch and never had a problem,” she said.
Herb Roe said it took his party more than two hours to be seated outside on Memorial Day, although he added parties were seated much quicker indoors.
“We could’ve eaten inside,” he said.
Lou Furman said there isn’t much on the menu for children — or at least his 11-year-old grandson wasn’t given a children’s menu the last time they came in.
“My only criticisms from my experiences are the flies on the inside,” Larry Bohanon said. “We ate outside this last time and there were less flies outside than there were inside.”
Gary Miller said he went to the tiki bar on a Sunday just after brunch debuted at the club. Around 1 p.m. he tried to order a sandwich for lunch.
”[The waitress] … came back out and said the kitchen isn’t able to do lunch items yet, they’ll start at 2 o’clock, but next week we’re going to have grab and go sandwiches out here that you can get for lunch,” he said. “I’m still not sure why the kitchen can’t do brunch and have somebody there to do the lunch items.”
Miller said another thing that upset him was the poor service at the tiki bar. Apparently, he was the first one in line at the bar, but there was no one to take his order. He said a waitress was walking around the pool area and taking orders and entering them into the computer to be filled by a bartender, but the bartender was not working directly with customers. Finally, he was told he had to track down the roaming waitress to place a drink order.
“I think that’s something they’re going to need to work on,” he said. “I don’t think they really understood how crowded it was going to be on weekends at the pool when it’s a nice day.”
Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs said she’s eaten at the yacht club several times since it reopened in May.
“It’s all been very positive,” she said. “I did have somebody relate to me that they go to the pool and they’re upset about the service and the price of the food. They’d like hotdogs and less-expensive sandwiches to be available to them, since you’re not allow to take food in.”
Committee Chairman Les Purcell said he overheard someone complaining loudly after they had been seated outside because “they couldn’t come out through the door closest to their table.”
“They had to walk all the way around to get back in — and she was really hot!” Purcell said with a laugh.
“My experiences with comments have been very positive,” he continued. “A high percentage. But there are those that come along [that are negative].”
On the beach club, Gerald Horn said he and his wife, Colette, had a poor experience. He apparently got a dry hamburger that was stuck to the bun, while she got cold fish tacos. He also had a confusing interaction with a bartender over which grapefruit beer he had ordered.
“I said, ‘I think you gave me the wrong beer.’ The bartender told me that she did not give me the wrong beer — I was mixed up,” he said.
His wife, he said, went inside and told Lynda Huettner, a supervisor, what had happened.
“I understand Lynda just has a sterling reputation, but Colette complained to Lynda and Lynda barked at Colette pretty bad,” Horn said. “We were pretty troubled. We didn’t like it.”
He said they ran into General Manager John Bailey on the way out, who said he’d just had a very good experience dining with his wife.
“I would hope that they would get good treatment, but I would hope everybody could get good treatment,” he said.
Horn proposed committee members internally use comment cards in order to provide better feedback.
“Us, this group, when we eat out. [Let’s] do some data collection right here at this table,” he said. “I don’t think we can have too much data.
“I think if we did a month of these cards, if we each took two or three or four, don’t share it with anybody else … stick it in your pocket, bring it back to our meeting, we look at it, we’d have some objective data to share instead of a list of comments,” Horn added.
Overall, Furman said the changes made by the Ortt Companies were well in the positive column.
“We’ve seen such a big change from last year, so everything looks pretty good to us. We’re just going to have to see what it is at the end of the season,” he said. “I’m hoping they’re getting better and better.”