Table Trackers to feature at HTA Catering conference Horticulture Week session

Horticulture Week is to chair a seminar at the HTA Catering Conference on 10 June featuring Ifse Group managing director Andrew Fordyce, who will speak on developments in catering equipment designed to cope with changing menu trends and demands.

Andrew Fordyce
Andrew Fordyce

The afternoon session looks at the technology available highlighting pieces of kit that can help save time and costs. 

Speakers from Blue Diamond, Wyevale, Coolings, Hillview Barton Grange, Fosseway, Summerseat and other garden centres will be at the event.

Fordyce said his presentation would be on new products influencing the industry and will cover design and fit-out of garden centre cafes, server design, de-staffing of restaurants, hi-tech equipment such as dishwashers, new technical products, hot counters, hi-speed grills and table trackers, which find the position of customers at their tables.

Food consultant Chris Brown, of Turpin Smale, who is also speaking at the event, said garden centre caterers had to "keep it weird" as their offers become bigger.

He added: "Garden centre catering was terrfiic to begin with when garden centres first started; quirky and small and reflecting their owners’ personalities. They were often in polytunnels but as they got bigger, they got more corporate and the same, with honourable exceptions."

He said garden centres need to be "quirky" and to "keep it weird" as consultant John Stanley has been advocating.  

He said Hilltop and Doddington Farm Shop were two examples of good cafes.


Meanwhile, Beckworth Emporium, which is a garden centre that retails 70 per cent food, is developing two new sites under the Rosebourne name, with help from architects HPW. Andover will be the first site, due to open in 2016.

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