Glee Food & Catering Zone 2015: Catering Design Group’s top 10 do’s & don’ts to optimise catering in a garden retail environment

PrintGarden centre catering is big business. The latest HTA/ Ipsos Moris statistics show that over 50% of garden centres now offer on-site catering facilities, with an estimated 55 million visits to garden centre cafes taking place in 2011 alone.  Here, Catering Design Group – an award-winning restaurant and commercial kitchen design company and exclusive partners of Glee’s Food & Catering Zone during 2015 – shares its top 10 do’s and don’ts for garden centres to consider when running a catering operation.  

Comment from Philip Howard, Managing Director, Catering Design Group

  1. Do take the time to research what is happening on the high street and in your local area. The high street will always have a major influence on eating trends within garden centres, so use the opportunity to draw inspiration from both
  1. Don’t ignore the importance of provenance. Provenance is king and at the forefront of consumer thinking. It is all about the use of fresh, seasonal produce from local and ethical sources. Ludlow Kitchen is a fine example of this, with virtually all the food for the restaurant being sourced in-house from Ludlow Food Centre, just 100 metres away
  1. Do ensure you capitalise on the highly lucrative UK coffee shop market which is enjoying current growth rates of more than seven times that of the British economy. It is predicted that the total UK coffee shop market will exceed 20,000 outlets and £8bn turnover by 2017. Customers now expect a premium coffee offer, and if done well it can provide operators with fantastic income and margin opportunities
  1. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to transform your restaurant into a destination. Great design can increase your revenue, profit, footfall, spend per head and drive loyalty. It can draw customers in and encourage purchasing in all areas of the store that might otherwise have been made on the high street or online
  1. Do take the time to consider the ambience of your restaurant or café. The right ambience will create a ‘feel good’ factor which in turn encourages cross-selling and increased spend
  1. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all you have to do is choose a swanky counter, your favourite furniture and a sophisticated colour scheme to create a successful dining space. The reality is very different
  1. Do take the time to carefully consider the use of your restaurant space. There is absolutely no point in having a fantastic looking retail or eating space if it is difficult to operate and doesn’t deal effectively with customer traffic. Consider queue management, speed and delivery of service, together with retail opportunities en-route
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the customer journey and experience. Define your space with the clever use of furniture and materials. It is possible to direct customers by creating interest, pathways and focal points. Zones work in the same way, subconsciously leading the customer through the space to ensure maximum engagement with their environment
  1. Do pay careful attention to seating. Choose your seating based on how long you want customers to linger. Opt for soft seating if you want your customers to stay longer and hard or high level seating for shorter visits
  1. Don’t forget to maximise opportunities provided by outside spaces. It sounds really obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many operators neglect to make good use of their outside space for their food offer. Alfresco dining can offer your customers a completely different experience and is the perfect way to showcase and promote sales of other products. The key is to ensure the design is consistent with your indoor space and also complements your overall offer

Catering Design Group confirmed as exclusive partners of Glee Food & Catering Zone 2015

Since 2012, the Food & Catering Zone at Glee, has become a ‘must-see’ feature for those thinking of setting up a catering facility from scratch, or in need of ideas to reinvigorate an existing one. This year, to drive further content and catering inspiration, Catering Design Group (CDG) has come on board as exclusive partners of the Glee Food & Catering Zone.

Talking about the exclusive partnership, Philip Howard, Managing Director, Catering Design Group said: “We’re delighted to be returning to Glee as the exclusive sponsors of the Food & Catering Zone in 2015. We’ll be bringing along our great team of experts across design, kitchen planning and project management to give visitors advice and answer any questions on all aspects of restaurant design and build. We’ll also be sharing an abundance of hints, tips, trends and insights to enable visitors to create a destination catering space, so do pop by and say hello!”

This year the Food & Catering Zone is set to be better than ever, and will be a rich resource for any retailer wanting to expand their catering facilities.  As always this dedicated area will address key issues via an unrivalled workshop programme, with details of the full schedule set to be announced shortly.

Additionally there will be a wealth of big name brands and niche suppliers covering areas of expertise including catering services, confectionary, kitchen equipment, kitchenware and café/restaurant design consultancy. Key names to look out for include Bon Bons Wholesale, Findlaters Fine Foods, BBQ Gourmet, Chaucer Foods, The Cutlery Polisher, and Tudor Coffee.

Glee Food & Catering Zone – a sneak-peek at the 2015 showcase

In 2015 The Food & Catering Zone seminar content will focus on key themes such as ‘how to grow your restaurant successfully’, ‘how to take inspiration from and compete with the high street’, and how to increase revenue and profit. There will also be a special session on ‘how to use your café as your USP, and a way to generate loyalty, PR and differentiation’.

Find out more

Glee is the UK’s leading garden retail show, focussing on building year-round profits within core product categories including garden care, landscaping and garden design, pet, food and catering, home, gift and clothing, and plants. In 2014 the show attracted thousands of buyers from top retailers, such as leading UK garden centres, builders’ merchants, multiple retailers, and DIY stores. To keep up-to-date on all the latest news log onto  For details on exhibiting at Glee, call 0203 033 2160.