Cafe upgrade sees sales increase at Fakenham

Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk has spent £100,000 modernising its cafe, leading to food sales rising by 20-25 per cent since it reopened on 15 February.

Owner Martin Turner said overall sales were 12-15 per cent up, with a newly refurbished cafe from Catering Projects 20-25 per cent up. JQ Contracts did the work.

"We'd not done the cafe for seven or eight years," he added. "We listened to some customer comments and had it done in a rush, with contractors in for two weeks. But it's been very good for us."

The cafe features a new floor, new seating, extended seating area, new counter equipment and new lighting and heating.

Cafe manager Ross Watson said: "The difference now to how it was is like chalk and cheese. The cafe had become a bit claustrophobic and outdated but now there is a much more modern feel about it."

Fakenham Garden Centre was opened in 1985 by Turner's parents, Gordon and Brenda Turner, who are still involved in running the business. It now employs a total of 53 staff.

An extension to the garden centre was completed in 2008 and won an award for "outstanding craftsmanship" from the Norfolk Association of Architects.

- Meanwhile, W6 Garden Centre in London is to build a cafe, three years after closing its previous facility.

Owner Beryl Henderson said she was keen to make the former Ginkgo centre gardening-only but now wants to diversify the business after two bad-weather springs.

The W6 cafe will be in a railway arch at its Ravenscourt Park site. Henderson said: "I said no way but now it's a no-brainer. Customers wouldn't let it go."

Henderson's W6 and N1 centres now have a garden maintenance service as well.

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