Catering for the future

With around a quarter of HTA members’ garden centres having a cafe or restaurant on site catering continue to be a real growth area. The HTA’s latest consumer report sets out to explore who it is that uses these facilities and what they buy. The report is based on 6500 households and represents the eating-out activity for 6.5 million people-days over a year.

This data enables us to estimate the total number of visits to commercial restaurants, cafes, coffee and sandwich bars and pubs, of which there are 5 billion. Amongst this activity, we can identify visits to garden centre cafes and restaurants which amount to over 30 million a year. We have broken down those visits by consumer type, party type, reason for visit, average individual spend, party spend, time of visit and instance of purchase for a range of food and beverages. We have also compared the profile of garden centre activity against the market as a whole and against channels that garden centres may consider as competitors or outlets that they should use as benchmarks in order to develop their business.

• over 7 million cups of tea are served in garden centres every year
• consumers are five times more likely to order a cup of tea in a garden centre than in commercial catering as a whole
• users of garden centre cafes or restaurants are nearly seven times less likely to order chips than in commercial catering as a whole
• twice the proportion of garden centre cafe and restaurant users at the weekend do so before 10.00am compared to weekday users.
This report is essential reading for garden centres who want to develop their catering offer or are considering expanding into this market. It is also essential reading for those supplying the catering industry to understand the potential for their products and services within the garden retail sector.

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