On 10th to 12th September 2018, we will be exhibiting at Glee Birmingham 2018 and providing top tips on Garden Centre Restaurant and Cafe design. Glee 18 is the UK’s largest outdoor trade and garden show aimed at the hundreds of multiple and independent Garden Centre’s across the UK.

Gone are the days when garden centres were just a stop off point to pick up a few plants, today’s customers visit garden centres for the experience, a day out, and food and drink has become a big part of that experience.

Therefore, getting your café or restaurant right has become just as crucial as sourcing new and exciting products that will keep the customers coming back for more! With restaurants, cafes and grab and go food outlets on the high street booming, one of the key challenges for garden centres is to provide an appealing offer which is comparable to the competition on the high street.

Here our directors Nick and Alex Bradley give their views on restaurant and café design within Garden Centre’s and how it can help boost profits.

 What are the benefits of a redesign?

There are many benefits of a re-design but ultimately, a restaurant or cafe interior design can have a profound impact on customers. Implementing a new and unique style of décor can help bring in more customers and boost revenue. This was no more apparent than with Whitegates Nursery in North Yorkshire.

We created a new cafe for Whitegates some three months ago. Since then custom has doubled and the owners are already thinking about the next stage of development four years ahead of schedule to cope with demand.

Claire Grange, Owner at Whitegates Nursery

 “We are busier than we ever imagined. In the three months since we opened the new café we have more than doubled in customersand this has had a knock-on effect into our garden centre trade which has also seen a significant increase.”

“RDA guided us through the project seamlessly and were able to provide expert advice not just on the aesthetics but also on areas such as health and   safety, legislation, kitchen equipment and the flow of the café, all of which has proved invaluable since opening.”

What looks, trends, etc are fashionable at the moment?

Design trends are constantly changing based on society and what’s popular with consumers.

Some of the popular themes we are seeing with clients across the UK range from the Botanical theme through to Industrial/Rustic and Modern.

For example, there is a growing trend to offer food that is not only delicious but also healthy and nutritious. As a result, many of our clients are choosing to use greenery and living walls in their décor that reinforces a feeling of health and vitality.

Many restaurant owners are also choosing a more minimalist style giving a sleek and modern uncluttered feel with cleaner lines, crisp colour palettes and understated furniture, giving a timeless look which won’t feel dated as trends come and go.

The urban industrial/rustic style is still proving a favourite. Exposed brick and aged leather seating, conduit feature lighting and feature piece counters are all key elements of this popular design.

Lighting design is always a crucial factor and whilst feature, big and bold Edison bulb lighting remains popular, there is a nod towards more natural, recessed lighting, lots of natural light, picture windows and sleek fixtures, which is both adaptable and flexible.

Finally, what advice is there for updating catering equipment?

There are many advantages to updating old equipment, as part of a new commercial kitchen design.

For example, replacements of ‘single use’ equipment for ‘multifunctional’ equipment where practical, can enable kitchen staff to cook multiple dishes using multiple cooking methods all using the same piece of equipment. This can lead to huge savings on energy usage and labour costs, as well as space in the kitchen, which is particularly useful for the smaller kitchen spaces. The payback on such savings vs the initial capital cost of quality, multifunctional equipment will often surprise operators and be an easy decision when demonstrated.

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