Workshops tackling key areas for garden retailers who run cafes and restaurants will be at the centre of the HTA Catering Conference in February.
The workshops will cover a range of topics including local sourcing, improving service speed, staff recruitment and innovative ways to cope with peaks in demand.
Specialist in lean practices, Neil Fedden from Fedden USP, will present a workshop on how to improve service speed. He will be joined by Allen Wright, catering manager at Burston Garden Centre, and Rachel Doyle, managing director at Arboretum Garden Centre, to discuss how they have evolved the layout of their catering outlets to increase the speed of service and reduce queue time.
A session focusing on how to cope with peaks in demand will be chaired by Paul Pleydell of Pleydell Smithyman. He will be joined by Chris Roberts, managing director at Van Hage Garden Centres, and they will explore the opportunities pop-up cafés can offer when demand is high, without impacting upon sales at the main cafe.
Salim Sajid of Blueberry Consulting will be chairing a session about sourcing locally. He will be joined by Greg and Sophie Timmermans-Delves from Timmermans Garden Centre; their local sourcing and homemade ethos won them the title of 'Best Garden Centre Cafe in Nottinghamshire', as voted in May 2013. Along with Patrick Fairweather, from Fairweathers Garden Centre, they will highlight the benefits of sourcing local produce and providing home grown cooking for their customers.
Guy Moreton of MorePeople is a specialist recruiter in the fresh food industry and will focus on recruiting the right staff, tips on how and where to advertise, what qualities to look for and questions to ask at the interview.
Delegates will be given the opportunity to select two of the four workshops to attend at the Conference, which takes place on Wednesday, February 12. The day brings together industry experts and practitioners in order to showcase best practice, provide inspiration, tackle key common issues and look at the trends that lie ahead for garden centre catering.