Equipment needs of garden centres blossom

Kitchen houses looking to tap a growing market sector this year might just want to keep an eye on what’s happening in the garden centre catering space after new research revealed a huge spike in visitor numbers to such venues.

According to the latest ‘KeyPoints’ report from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the number of visits to garden centre cafes has increased 51% over the last three years.

Half of specialist garden retailers now possess equipment to provide a catering offering compared with 40% back in 2008.

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In 2011 there were around 55 million visits to garden centre cafes — more than 19 million more than three years ago.

The report said average transaction values have remained similar over this period, although the increasing provision of catering combined with more adults visiting garden centres has led to garden centre catering sales roughly doubling since 2006.

The report also shows that customers aged below 45 are less satisfied with garden centre catering than over-45s, indicating a need for the sector to ensure it has the right equipment and menu to sustain its performance.

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