Saddle & Cycle Club General Manager
Saddle & Cycle Club
Chicago, IL

An amazing opportunity exists for candidates with a successful track-record of leadership and high quality operations management at family centric club operations or high-end establishments in the hospitality industry. We are conducting the General Manager search for the Saddle & Cycle Club. The candidate will be an integral part of a high-performing team at one of the most exclusive clubs in the Chicago area. 
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In 1895 the Saddle and Cycle Club began as a vision in the minds of two bicycling enthusiasts, Albert DeWolf Erskine and Frederick Remington, while on a cycling excursion to the picturesque “new” Edgewater subdivision on Chicago’s North Side. Having already established the successful Chicago’s Skaters Club, they sought to combine Chicago’s widespread enthusiasm for bicycling with the attraction aura of exclusivity generated by the “country club,” a new institution in American society. The Club’s name was soon adopted with the “saddle” added as a nod to the equestrian set, whose activity carried more prestige than the mere “fad” of bicycling.
In 1898 the land of the Club’s present grounds was acquired as a permanent home. A new clubhouse was built, and by 1899 the Saddle and Cycle Club was a mature, thriving institution, vigorous in its varied social and athletic activities, stable in its finances, settled in its unique lakefront kingdom and, perhaps most importantly, people with a social, amiable, harmonious membership.
The exuberance and vitality of the Saddle and Cycle Club’s early days have continued to the present. The clubhouse and grounds have grown and developed to include a swimming pool, golf course, ice rink, tennis and paddle courts, all while maintaining the Club’s simultaneous emphases on vigorous outdoor activity and gracious, intimate socializing.
The Saddle and Cycle Club has the unique advantage of a century old tradition of high standards and membership satisfaction and is committed to being the finest private club in the Chicago area. To this end, the Club is dedicated to providing a rewarding social environment in a distinguished setting for its members and their families.
The Club will provide personal attention, excellent food and service, creative programming of activities, elegant and architecturally consistent buildings, and open and attractive grounds, all within a social ambiance of honesty, mutual respect, conviviality, and attention to decorum. The Club will focus its efforts to meet the needs of its members through commitment to excellence, a spirit of cooperation and sound management.
  • 368 Equity/554 total members
  • $60,000 Initiation fee
  • $7,080 Annual dues
  • $7.7M Gross volume
  • $3M Annual dues volume
  • $2.2M F&B volume
  • $383,000 Gross payroll
  • 33 Employees (FTE)
  • 13 Board members
  • 55 Average age of members 
The General Manager (GM) of the Saddle & Cycle Club (SCC) protects the grand history of the Club and enables the Club to achieve the vision and brand promise established by the Board of Governors. S/he oversees all activities of the Club relating to its Board of Governors, members, guests and employees, and reports directly to the Board of Governors. Through careful oversight of the P&L and management in accordance with the Club's policies and procedures, the GM leads and manages the staff to operate the club with the utmost professionalism and an engaged commitment to family, quality and service, thus ensuring maximum member and guest participation and satisfaction.
The GM is responsible for the creation and implementation of all service culture setting standards and processes while providing leadership for managers and staff at the Saddle & Cycle Club. Clearly, a primary objective is for the GM to represent the Club to all constituencies, including the external community, and to ensure that goals and objectives are defined, understood, evaluated, and enhanced on a continuous basis, to creatively meet the expectations of the membership as defined by the Board of Governors in concert with the GM.
In addition to coordinating and supervising all of the management and administrative functions of the Saddle & Cycle Club, the GM will oversee the preparation of annual operating and capital budgets, supporting the strategic and tactical initiatives and expectations that s/he has established with the Board.
The GM is the primary coordinator of food & beverage budgeting, hiring, training, orientations and teammate cultural immersion, and supervision of associates. S/he will therefore be using and applying relevant technology and necessary marketing techniques to drive member usage of food & beverage operations along; assuring member and guest needs and desires are consistently met and often exceeded. Club member and guest satisfaction and enjoyment of the culinary and service experience at the Saddle & Cycle Club are primary “drivers” to its overall success. A developed sense of genuine hospitality and an ability to instill this in the staff is a must.
The GM must support the Saddle & Cycle Club’s membership recruitment and retention efforts, although this is an area of the operation that continues to be “by invitation only” and is led by an active Membership Committee. It is critical that S/he understands the local market and economy.  As such, the GM must be comfortable and competent being an integral, and sometimes proactive, part of developing relationships that may lead to membership interest and/or business opportunities (banquets/events), and in effectively orienting new members so that their initial experience with the SCC results in habitual use of the Club.
The GM, as a strong and highly visible and respectful presence with the membership, must be an exceptional communicator, have adroit personal interactive skills and the maturity to instinctively know how to make members and guests feel that they are consistently treated in a gracious manner. Further, s/he must be able to communicate these expectations to staff with diverse backgrounds and get them to understand and execute to those expectations.  The Club prides itself on the compatibility and congeniality of its membership and the GM must epitomize this style of leadership.
The GM is expected to be present at the Club as its “face,” managing operations during regular business hours as well as during evening and weekend private party and club functions.
The GM takes personal ownership of operations, being especially aware of the physical plant and overall presentation of the operation and the need to be consistently member ready in both appearance and service.
  • Focus on Culture and Member Experience - Sincerely and significantly engages members, guests, and staff. Learns member names and listens to their concerns and suggestions to implement appropriate and necessary improvements. 
  • Oversee Daily Club Operations - Clearly defines the standards of delivery and executes to those expectations, while ensuring that processes for hiring, training, and retention of key staff are in place to achieve consistency of best-in-class performance throughout the SCC operation.  This includes being physically present at the club and always working toward top-notch facilities and immaculate grounds.
  • Steward Financial Resources - Ensures that SCC remains financially competitive within its peer group of clubs in the market; the GM must be the catalyst for examining and forecasting service desires; ensures a strong system of metrics where needed, and consistently monitors them in order to have a proactive, solutions-based approach with the Board and staff at SCC. 
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate - Provides ongoing, transparent communication on Saddle operations to the Board; regularly communicates with Committee Chairs; sends regular communications to the Membership.
  • Is a catalyst with the Board of Governors for identifying new programs and services for members and guests, designed to increase usage and/or enjoyment of the Club facilities.
  • Recognizes that all amenities at the Saddle & Cycle Club are unique and need to be consistently well-maintained, and that his/her primary mission is to determine and ensure that quality service and product levels are provided, and that the team at the Saddle & Cycle Club consistently supports this goal and delivery.
  • The GM recognizes that quality food & beverage operations are primary drivers of the Club and, as such, need to be commensurate with member expectations.
  • Ensures that members have consistent opportunities to provide input, suggestions, observations, and concerns about all aspects of the Club and that S/he in turn has multiple opportunities for respectful and engaged communication back to each constituency.
  • Recognizes the on-going desire of the Saddle & Cycle Club to uphold a tradition of elegant and outstanding dining in order to ensure that the majority of members’ interests are consistently met. 
  • Ensures that appropriately skilled and competent managers are in place for key positions and that each of them does the same in their respective areas of responsibility. Sets standards of performance with each of them for their respective departments and holds them accountable for maintaining these standards within the Club.
  • Provides clear and consistent input and direction to each associate on his/her team who hold accountability for service and product delivery to the membership and one another. Ensures that each has the appropriate and necessary tools with which to accomplish the desired objectives, while providing regular guidance and evaluation of outcomes. 
  • Recognizes, respects, and supports the contributions of key managers and staff, many of whom have been a part of the Saddle & Cycle Club for several years, celebrating their successes but also holding them accountable for achievement of agreed upon annual and more frequently determined goals and objectives.
  • Inherently enjoys developing and building his/her team and leading them to significant, positive membership satisfaction outcomes.
  • Assures that an effective orientation and on-boarding program is in place for associates along with consistent professional development and training.
  • Ensures that effective and efficient staffing and scheduling occurs at all the Saddle & Cycle Club dining outlets, balancing financial appropriateness with member satisfaction desires.
  • Ensures that associates understand and have clear performance expectations, and that necessary tasks are reasonable, well-conceived and appropriately conveyed.
  • Recommends and upholds expectations for dress, decorum, and other service personnel while on duty at the Saddle & Cycle Club, and consistently monitors for adherence.
  • Conducts regular performance appraisals and provides on-going feedback relative to performance to each direct report. Interacts with managers pursuant to the appraisal, discipline, and/or discharge, of their respective direct reports.
  • Ensures that staff in all areas is focused on positive, supportive relationships amongst themselves and with the membership, and that inappropriate behavior of any type is not tolerated in the workplace. Further ensures that all departmental managers and supervisors are keenly aware and understand these same expectations and are consistently maintaining identical standards.
  • Develops and continues to update training manuals and programs as necessary to ensure service excellence and consistency.
  • A person who is committed to professional growth and development for him/herself and his/her team of associates. 
  • Proactively identifies strategic projects and business trends that are important to the long-term well-being of the Saddle & Cycle Club and offers recommendations and solutions to the Board and/or appropriate Committees for consideration. The GM, working closely with the Board, is most critically aware of club industry, economic, and membership-related trends that may impact the Saddle & Cycle Club, and is a catalyst in staying ahead of expected negative impacts.
  • Is ultimately responsible to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place for all of the Saddle & Cycle Club’s primary assets – membership, staff, amenities, assets and so forth – whether it be for physical safety purposes, or for protection of information and intellectual property of the Saddle & Cycle Club.
  • Ensures that effective control systems are in place to monitor and identify the flow of work, receipts and expenditures, and that all are accomplished with the highest degree of integrity and accountability.
  • Is responsible for meeting sales, expense, and surplus goals as outlined and approved in the annual operating budget, to which s/he has been an active participant in creating.
  • Installs controls and procedures in food & beverage operations, where necessary, to ensure consistent, efficient delivery of all member and staff services as per budget plan. Assures regular review of these procedures to ensure relevance and reliability of resulting information.
  • Ensures that reliable and necessary monitoring of results is in place in order to be able to quickly respond to negative trending and to further enhance positive outcomes in the Saddle & Cycle Club’s food & beverage and clubhouse operations.
  • Develops annual, and more often as needed, short and long-term goals and objectives for clubhouse operations, including working with his/her team of associates to develop tactical solutions and enhancements to the member service experience at the Saddle & Cycle Club.
  • Working with the President, Board of Governors and Comptroller, sets necessary and measurable metrics for successful operation of the F & B program, including regularly analyzing costs, inventories, daily/monthly financial statements and the Club’s competitive positioning in the F & B operation.
  • Develops creative and innovative ways of promoting the Saddle & Cycle Club activities during normal and  non-traditional times of the year, recognizing the Club’s history of consistently raising the expectations of its members and guests, especially in the food & beverage operation.
  • Assists in planning and is responsible to ensure that special club events are well-conceived and executed.
  • Assists in planning and is responsible to ensure that internal marketing and sales promotions for the food & beverage operations occur on a timely basis, and in a manner that conveys a commensurately appropriate style and amount of information to members.
  • Is able to clearly understand the financial metrics for successful attainment of goals and objectives in all areas of responsibility, and consistently reviews these expectations with his/her direct reports to ensure understanding and buy-in from those contributing to their attainment.
  • Has a strong sense of urgency and responsiveness, while also maintaining quality and integrity of the plan. 
  • Is sincerely and visibly engaged throughout the operation and, most specifically, in the dining rooms during periods of active usage to be personally connected with members and staff.
  • Privacy is essential. At no time during or after his or her employment is the GM allowed to discuss private issues about the Club, including anything regarding members, finances, membership data, or membership status. S/he will not express any private opinions about the Club or any member with anyone not associated with the Club. At no time will an interview be given to any person, publication, press, or media for any reason without the permission of the Board of Governors and with a member of the Board of Governors present.
  • Exceptionally strong communication and facilitation skills, both written and verbal, with the appropriate personal presence, and a desire and ability to interact effectively before diverse constituencies of members, staff, vendors, and other people who are part of the success of the Saddle & Cycle Club. 
  • Places great importance on staff communication and understanding, especially as it relates to the Saddle & Cycle Club’s primary mission and goals, essentially being the protector and promoter of the Saddle & Cycle Club brand. The GM is continuously look for ways of improving staff knowledge, skills, and consistency in delivery by recognizing that a well-informed staff is respected, enabled, and more effectively able to meet member expectations.
  • Clearly understands and enjoys recognizing Saddle & Cycle Club members, their families and guests, and believes in the concept of sincere and engaged interaction.
  • The GM is a primary two way conduit for information exchange, and must be consistent, positive and able to listen in this process. S/he must be a true listener who places great importance on personal interactions with all constituencies of the Saddle & Cycle Club. Gathering and disseminating information/data is critically important to help determine the long term, majority interests and desires within the Club, as well as to promote Board initiatives and to dispel incorrect information from being passed among members and staff.
  • Is responsible for ensuring frequent and ongoing communications with members regarding updates, issues, and upcoming marketing of events via email, letters, and monthly newsletters. The GM is also responsible for gathering information and feedback from members via annual surveys and service and topic-specific mini-surveys.
  • Coordinates a program designed to ensure associates execute a high degree of member recognition, as well as developing and using member preferences and profiling programs designed to meet and/or exceed their expectations of the Saddle & Cycle Club dining experience.
  • Holds regular team meetings with his/her direct reports as well as with all service associates to ensure that expectations are regularly and clearly articulated and to keep them informed of necessary and relevant activities and expectations at the Saddle & Cycle Club.
  • Recognizes that no surprise leadership means keeping the President and Board of Governors consistently informed of all significant or potentially significant issues regarding staff performance, operations, and other club-related matters.
  • Has a creative eye for menu design, invitations, etc., to best communicate with members about club dining offerings and events.
  • Builds relationships with other club managers in the area and across the country to discuss common issues, understand industry trends, and share solutions. 
  • A minimum of 3 - 5 years of verifiable, progressive leadership and management experience in an active, first class hospitality environment.  NOTE:  Those current Assistant General Managers or Club Managers at well-recognized clubs, with verifiable records of achievement, will be strongly considered for this role.
  • A verifiable career track that demonstrates a record of tenure and commitment to previous employers, and that career moves were for enhancement of skills and experiences as opposed to ‘unplanned’ career changes.
  • Strong general leadership skills with verifiable strengths in team development, financial performance, diverse recreational amenity management (golf, tennis, family activities and others are especially desirable), quality food and beverage programming, exceptional member/guest service programming, strategic planning, project management, and most importantly the ability to consistently define and achieve goals and objectives.  
  • A Degree is highly desirable, preferably in Hospitality Management or Business.
  • In lieu of the degree, substantial private club or hospitality experience will be considered.
  • Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation preferred but not a must. 
Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The club, along with the typical CMAA benefits, offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.
Please upload your resume and cover letter (in that order) using the link below.  You should have your documents fully prepared to be attached when prompted for them during the online application process. 
IMPORTANT:  Save your resume and letter in the following manner:
“Last Name, First Name Resume” &
“Last Name, First Name Cover Letter”
(These documents should be in Word or PDF format)
Note: Once you complete the application process for this search, you are not able to go back in and add additional documents.
For directions on how to upload your resume and cover letter visit this page.  
If you have any questions please email Nan Fisher:
Lead Search Executives:
Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, ECM
412-670-2021 (Cell) – Strongsville, OH
Sam Lindsley
Search & Consulting Executive
216-509-2250 (Cell)

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