Workshops provide ingredients for success at HTA Catering Conference

Posted On 02 Feb 2014
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1BIRMINGHAM, UK: A choice of workshops tackling key areas for garden retailers who run cafes and restaurants will be at the centre of the HTA Catering Conference at the Hilton Hotel, Coventry on Wednesday 12 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, 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 including in the run up to Christmas, without impacting upon sales at the main café.

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 Café in Nottinghamshire’ as voted by Nottinghamshire Evening Post 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 for your café. He will provide tips on how to employ the right people for the right role in the café, including 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 HTA Catering Conference which takes place on Wednesday 12 February. Aimed at garden centre catering operators, the conference, sponsored by Vision Commercial Kitchens, 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.

Demand for the event is high so make sure you don’t miss out by booking your place at or email

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is the trade association for the UK garden industry. It is dedicated to helping develop the industry and its member businesses, including most garden centres and other garden retailers, growers, landscapers, manufacturers and service providers. The HTA was founded in 1899. Its key roles include: provision of advice-based services such as business improvement schemes, briefings and help lines; training, conferences and events for members; market information and research; promotions such as the National Garden Gift Voucher scheme; and working closely with government and the media to influence policy and projects

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