Catering Matters: HTA Catering Conference and Dinner 9 – 10 June 2015

An outline programme has been announced for this year’s HTA Catering Conference, sponsored by Vision Commercial Kitchens.

Catering conference logo 2015

The conference, complete with conference dinner and exhibition takes place on 9 and 10 June 2015 at The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

Hot topics that impact garden centre catering will be top of the agenda in both conference and workshop format. There will be plenty of time for networking, with the conference exhibition providing a great opportunity to meet with catering product suppliers.

Day one of the event will focus on Strategy and Operations – where we are as an industry, latest trends, growing and expanding your catering offer, driving footfall and reaching out to a wider audience, managing people and how to create ambience on a budget. Paul Pleydell, a Director of Pleydell Smithyman Limited will host the first day.  With some 30 years’ experience in the garden centre sector, Paul specialises in design and business consultancy heading a team delivering creative retail, catering and business solutions. Working with market leaders he is constantly looking ahead to find new ways to shape tomorrow’s garden centres.

Tim Greenway, Director at Highfield Garden World, will present a case study on how you can manage growth and expand your catering business.  Highfield opened a £2.5 million, 450-seat restaurant with floor to ceiling glass walls, a vaulted ceiling and indoor and outdoor seating areas, and has gone from strength-to-strength over the past year.

The conference dinner, also held at The Belfry, will round off an inspirational day one.  The dinner will be another chance to network and share experiences with fellow industry colleagues.  An after-dinner speaker will be announced in the coming weeks.

Day two’s programme will focus on food – innovation and inspiration, provenance, menu planning and cost control – and will be hosted by Doug Stewart, owner and CEO of Waring Stewart Associates, who works with clients to improve their business through business consultancy, marketing and staff training.  Waring Stewart Associates work with Garden Centres to help them to establish their first coffee shop, or take their catering offer to the next level.

Rebecca Rayner, Joint Managing Director of Glebe Farm Foods, will talk about how garden centre catering outlets can make the most of the gluten free market and how to ensure your restaurant or tea-room isn’t left behind.

Booking for the HTA Catering Conference 2015 is now open, please go to