Increase turnover and attract more customers with your restaurant

At the Garden Retail Experience conference, Professor in Retail Cor Molenaar spoke about the key role that a restaurant will play in the garden centre of tomorrow: “Catering may be the ultimate experience factor that customers are searching for, especially if combined with loyalty schemes such as free coffee when you buy something.”

Various international entrepreneurs confirmed this view. Ed Webb (Webb’s Garden Centres) said: “Our restaurant accounts for 20% of our total turnover, with cups of coffee representing the largest proportion. We deliberately use our new restaurant as an instrument for challenging customers to provide feedback via social media.”

The right location for your restaurant

An important consideration is where the restaurant should be situated in your garden centre. Erwin Meier (Ernst Meier AG, Zurich) commented: “When we built our new garden centre in 2011, I made every mistake I could possibly have made. One of them was putting the restaurant on the first floor. Now that I’m about to expand it because it’s become too small, I realise that I put it in the wrong place.“

Feeling good

Besides the restaurant’s location, a number of other factors will further enhance the feel-good factor for your customers:   

  • Make due allowance for the kitchen in an open public area with good ventilation and exhaust fans.
  • Ensure pleasant, gentle insolation and reflection of sunlight with sun-reflecting tinted windows.
  • Create a good mixture of dark shaded areas and parts with daylight insolation.

Double the number of customers

Thermoflor has already increased the size of restaurants in garden centres for several clients in Europe. At Forest Lodge in the UK (see photo above) we built an extension, enabling them to expand their restaurant. The extension means that twice as many customers can now enjoy Forest Lodge’s gastronomy, and their catering turnover has doubled. 

Food is emotion

This short film shows how important the feel-good factor is in a restaurant:

Higher profits with an open sky walkway

The last edition of the Garden Centre Retail Magazine contained an interview with the general manager of Haskins Roundstone, the latest and largest branch of the Haskins chain in the UK. The establishment, which measures 9,300 m2 and was built in 2012, has an annual turnover of € 11 million and a workforce of 150.  Besides operational information on this destination garden centre, we would  like to call your attention to the roof over the outdoor retail area.

This garden centre opted for an “open sky” covered walkway for the outdoor route. Sales benches have been positioned along this walkway, which is 12.80 m wide. This broad roof implies sales impulses during poor weather, too. And as the entire roof can be opened, the walkway is also an attractive outdoor area on sunny days.  So with this open sky walkway Haskins has combined the best of both worlds, ensuring that these plant departments look appealing at all times while generating more turnover.

Garden centres unite to take better advantage of the kitchen gardening trend

Green is hip: the kitchen gardening trend is continuing in 2015. Retail campaigns and TV programmes have resulted in rocketing sales of greenhouses, raised beds and potting compost. This trend is giving rise to collaborative partnerships at national level, in both the Netherlands and Ireland. 

Garden centres in the Netherlands linked up with the Albert Heijn supermarket chain’s campaign, which distributed 44 million packs of seed trays, seeds and potting compost to customers. The Dutch Gardening Industry Association then coordinated a campaign in which 300 garden centres gave away plant pot containers for free.

Once at the garden centre, the people attracted by the campaign – many of them young – were seduced by the beautifully presented shops full of spades, potting tables, potting compost, and last but not least, an in-store kitchen garden expert. 

Growing your own food

A similar campaign is now under way in Ireland, where 65 garden centres are running a joint campaign. GroMór (  is a national campaign which aims to promote growing your own food among people of all ages, but with a special focus on young families and first-time buyers.



moestuinieren 2

Increasing use of exterior blinds by garden centres 

The sun is shining and spring has begun. During these sunny seasons, exterior blinds are increasingly popular: both in commercial greenhouses and garden centres. In recent years, growing numbers of greenhouses have been equipped with exterior blinds – the ideal solution to create the perfect climate in the greenhouse.

Direct sunlight is kept out with an exterior blind, creating a mild climate inside the greenhouse. This also ensures that the products do not “burn”, and flowering plants flourish even more. On dark days the exterior blind is opened so that enough light gets into the greenhouse. But so that a pleasant atmosphere can also be maintained a combination is usually chosen, with a decorative panel on the inside.

Find inspiration for your renovation or expansion

Are you interested in our latest projects? International media have recently published articles on them:
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