New Build: Armitage Garden Centre

The centre's restaurant, featuring a glass balcony, makes the most of its picturesque surroundings.

The view of the Pennines is the Armitage retaurant's USP - image: Armitage Garden Centre
The view of the Pennines is the Armitage retaurant's USP - image: Armitage Garden Centre

Armitage's new restaurant near Huddersfield is on a steeply sloping site. It has a glass balcony with great views over the Pennines, and its approach to catering combines self-service and served food.

Pleydell Smithyman secured planning permission, designed and supervised the building of the extension and terrace, and then stepped in to help get the catering serveries sorted; Vision Catering kitted these out. The contractor was John Radcliffe Projects of Huddersfield.

Director Will Armitage says: "The largest attraction, apart from wonderful food and great garden centre, is the view, which we wanted to retain."

Pleydell was involved with Armitage's old cafe seven years ago. Armitage says: "We had one long counter that worked very well - people say average sales from that should have been £1,500-£2,000, and we got double that a day. But some days people were queuing for 20 minutes and complaining about cold coffee and food. The hold-up was at the barista machines - four cappuccinos took six minutes to make.

"So we went for La Cimbali bean-to-cup coffee machines so customers could help themselves, and numbers have been 25 per cent up on last year. It's bringing new people into the garden centre. The busiest day we ever had was on a cold wet November day - it used to be in May. And turnover has nearly doubled in the cafe."

The cost was just under £1 million, much of it spent on the toilets. Another feature is new facilities for staff. It takes covers for up to 275 people.

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