McFeely blog: Moorhead golf courses again have new food/bar vendor
MOORHEAD — The municipal golf courses here will have a different food and beverage vendor for the fourth straight year after the city scrambled to replace last year's provider, which backed out of its contract in late March.
A partnership of Kjerbeersten, LLC, of Moorhead and Urban Foods Catering of Fargo was approved by the city council at its regular meeting April 27 to provide food and beverage service at The Meadows and Village Green golf courses. Kjerbeesten LLC, and principal Andy Skatvold have several local businesses, including 99 Bottles liquor store. Urban Foods Catering is based in Fargo.
Last year's vendor, Bachman Catering LLC of Fargo (doing business as VIP Catering), terminated its agreement with Moorhead in late March. Bachman replaced O'Leary's Irish Pub, which held the contract in 2018.
Prior to that, Machi LLC, owned by Corey and Stacy Herlickson, had been the vendor for 11 years. Machi discontinued its contract after the 2017 golf season when Corey took a new position as the head golf professional at Oxbow Country Club.
"We got lucky to find someone to take this over during these uncertain times," Moorhead Parks and Recreation Department director Holly Heitkamp said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on bars and restaurants because of it.
Minnesota bars and restaurants remain closed under the order of Gov. Tim Walz, although that will change June 1 when they can offer outdoor seating.
"Hopefully the governor gives us some clarity soon. We are ready to open. We could be ready to go in an hour," Skatvold said.
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Skatvold said conflicting information from two state agencies has hampered Kjerbeersten's ability to provide even beverage cart service thus far. He said one agency gave the OK to have a beverage cart driving around the courses to provide beer, liquor, soda and water while another said it was against the current shutdown rules.
Skatvold said both Meadows and Village Green with have food service and a full bar when the clubhouses are allowed to open. He said beverage carts will focus on being credit-card only to avoid cash transactions and Kjerbeersten will have an app that allows golfers to make online orders while on the course. Cart drivers will use GPS technology to deliver the orders.
"If you order some beers from the cart and you run out after two holes, you won't have to wait until the cart comes around again. You can make an online order and they can deliver the beers to you," Skatvold said.
According to information provided to the city council, Kjerbeersten's proposal included discussion of creative staffing options to help decrease expenses by providing a "grab and go" selection available during slower times and a detailed plan for selling alcohol, including the authorization of coolers on the course during slower times and under social distancing guidelines.
The agreement will terminate on November 30. It will automatically renew prior to the next two golf seasons unless either party gives written notice on or before Nov. 1 of the year prior.
In response to the coronavirus-induced challenges of selling food, the contract includes a graduated approach of payment to the city. It includes 0% commission on food when it is "grab and go," 5% when it is take-out and 10% when/if the dining room is allowed to open. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be the full 10% from the start of operation. In 2021 and 2022, the agreement will require the full 10% rent commission to the City.
A letter was sent to all licensed food and beverage providers in Moorhead, seeking qualified vendors to provide service to both The Meadows and Village Green public golf courses. Five businesses showed interest and two submitted proposals.
Five separate city staffers reviewed each business proposal, utilizing a point system based on the required criteria in the call for submissions letter and the previous RFP for food and beverage service.