Garden Centre Group plans innovation to boost customer experience

This year has been "one of the most difficult for garden centres", according to Garden Centre Group (GCG) chief executive Nicholas Marshall.

But he said he will keep faith with his plant-focused philosophy while introducing a series of innovations to improve customer experience at the group's 120 centres.

Marshall said: "We haven't got a short-term policy. It's not this year plants and next year rubbish gifts. It's a long-term strategy. We've sold more plants this year than last, which is quite surprising given the hard spring."

GCG's innovations include revamped and new pizza/pasta restaurants. Garden and pizza-pasta menus are in most centres, while dedicated Pizza Express-style menus are seeking a new customer profile at Heighley Gate, Old Barn and Bridgemere (opening in January 2011).

Marshall added: "Cooking rather than microwaving attracts better staff. Let's get cooking as opposed to buying in and heating up."

Many restaurants have soft play areas attached. Marshall said his new e-learning scheme (HW, 25 June) was creating better service while better menus and decor, including new toilets, was bringing in an audience of younger people.

GCG will host an event to celebrate 50 years of Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World on 16 July.


  • Frustino and Italian bread, £3.69
  • Scrambled egg and pancetta, £5.99
  • Maccheroni al torchio ragu, £7.49
  • Garganelli del giardino, £7.49
  • Tiramisu, £3.99
  • Tregothnan tea, £1.99
  • Lavazza coffee, £1.60

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

High environmental standards, community work and support for local suppliers are all lessons for the wider garden retail industry, Matthew Appleby discovers.

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

Garden retailers are under pressure to use less plastic as the Government's new 25-year environment plan seeks to introduce a wave of measures to reduce pollution.

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

The Government has made strong statements on peat reduction in its new 25-year environment plan, published in January.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles