Customers looking for ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’ options from garden centre cafes

Garden centres cafes and restaurants continue to be a draw on a year-round basis contributing on average 15-20% of a garden centre’s turnover. Consumer trends are shaping menu’s though with customers looking for ‘naughty’ treats along with ‘nice’ healthy options.
Over half of people who have visited a garden centre restaurant in the last 3 months, say they like to treat themselves to food that’s not good for them. Foresight Factory’s trend ‘The Indulgence Equation’ says consumers are more aware than ever about costs of indulgence to their health, finances and appearance; and so are balancing periods of moderation with the reward of a treat.
There is also a desire for healthy eating with two thirds of people of people who have visited a garden centre agreeing that they are eating more healthily than in the past. There is a shift towards an ‘anti-diet’ culture with more of a focus on ‘eating clean’. So healthier menu choices are definitely something that visitors are looking for.
Menu planning is just one of the topics up for discussion at the HTA Catering Conference – A Slice of the Pie, sponsored by Frobishers, which takes place on Wednesday 3 July at Horticulture House in Oxfordshire,
This one-day event is packed full of top tips and practical advice for those looking to take the next steps to grow their catering outlet, develop a pop up or embark on introducing catering for the first time.
Horticultural business consultant Neville Stein will host the day and will set the scene by looking at the benefits that a catering outlet can bring to your wider business whether a permanent café or a seasonal offer.
Paul Pleydell from Pleydell Smithyman will then outline what you need to consider in designing your service area and café space looking at topics including maximising space, layout and flow.
Caroline Benjamin from Food Allergy Aware will look at how best to consider customer’s diets from allergies and intolerances to lifestyle choices like vegetarianism and veganism.
Helen Joyce from Thirsk Garden Centre will speak about how they go about running their coffee shop in a rather different way – using high quality tea, coffee and cake and investing in high quality equipment that enables them to deliver simple quality food super-fast.
James Debbage from Green Pastures Garden Centre will look at considerations around menu planning and how to make the best of what you offer.
Sarah Willis, Restaurant Manager of Woodys at Thurrock Garden Centre will speak about how they linked their ‘A Summer of Fun’ campaign into their catering offer.
There will also be a coffee related panel session featuring representatives from Beanworks, Illy and Rounton Coffee looking at all the aspects you should consider before serving it in your garden centre.
Book your place at where you can also download a free catering report.
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