Wyevale Garden Centres moves food and beverage operations into retail

Wyevale has moved its food and beverage operations department into its retail operations department.

The 149-garden centre group launched three restaurant brands in December 2014: Botanic Kitchen, a "brand new restaurant offering the garden on a plate", Coffee Ground "micro-roasting artisan coffee shops" and Garden Kitchen Restaurants "bringing a sparkle", as well as introducing Costa Coffees into centres.

Wyavele's latest accounts for 2014 say catering is 16 per cent of turnover. Restaurant transactions were 5.856m, up from 5.825m, with 108 restaurants against 99 the year before. Revenue per sq ft was £106.88, down from £109.22, with margin at £79.75 (£81.80). Contribution was £25.76 against £23.09.

This week, chief executive officer Kevin Bradshaw told staff in a letter: "As we continue to develop and grow Wyevale Garden Centres and identify ways to sell more and serve better across all areas of the business, I have a number of changes to announce with regard to the Food & Beverage (F&B) team.

"With effect from 25th July 2015, operational responsibility for F&B will revert back to the Retail Operations team, led by Colin Hughes. The decision to work more closely together in garden centres as 'one team', to better serve our shared customers and offer them a seamless experience, can only be of benefit to our business, our teams and our customers every time they visit us. This means that restaurant managers will report directly to garden centre managers as their day to day line manager, which will also deliver better availability of line management support to our restaurant teams.

"The Company is passionate about our ongoing transformation of F&B into our exciting new concepts, and as a result Harry Evans will remain as Head of F&B Planning to continue in this endeavour. Harry will be supported by Tracey McCormick and Sarah Thornton, who will both transfer to the newly created Concept Implementation Manager roles, and will bring a wealth of transformational expertise, experience and operational rigour to the successful embedding of our new brands and units into the estate.

"In addition to these roles, and to best support our Restaurant Managers in creating an inspirational F&B experience, we will be introducing 4 new F&B Trainer roles who will act as subject matter experts in hospitality, and an F&B Operations Support Manager, working for our Central Operations function at Syon Park, to develop integrated ways of working across our one operations team.

"Also, as part of these changes, F&B Marketing will report directly into the F&B Central team. Alan Johnson, and an additional Marketing & Events Assistant (to be recruited), will now report into Jennifer Payne, F&B Business Development Marketing Manager. The team will continue their stellar work in delivering the core F&B marketing plan as well as campaign development for various new opportunities. Both Jennifer and Emily Hearne, F&B Commercial Integration Manager will report to Alex Shattuck, F&B Commercial Director going forward, focusing on due diligence, and development and oversight of the F&B offer. Alex Shattuck's role remains unchanged, with responsibility for F&B Marketing, business development and promotional activities.

"It is with pleasure that I can also announce that Shaun Cremins will move into the new role of F&B Operations Integration Manager reporting to James Cockrell, Head of Integration Operations. Jim White will move into the role of Restaurant Manager for Cardiff and Susan Givens will transfer into an interim role to support the overall F&B operation and central F&B team. We are therefore thrilled to be retaining their many years of combined Food & Beverage experience.

"Regrettably, this does however means that some of the existing F&B team will be leaving the business, namely, Tom Lannary (Head of Botanic Kitchen), and Andrew Petford (Regional Restaurant Manager). Matt Downey, F&B Operations Director, will remain in the business until the end of September to oversee the smooth handover of F&B Operations to the newly combined operations team.

"Matt and his team have played a pivotal and immensely valuable role in launching our fantastic new F&B concepts across much of the estate. They have been the driving force in successfully transforming many of our restaurants, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and wish them the very best for the future.


Wyevale shed its marketing director role in May, with Sarah Fuller leaving.

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