HTA Catering Conference 2019

Join the HTA on Wednesday 3rd July for our one-day conference held at Horticulture House in Oxfordshire. Chaired by Neville Stein, and featuring lots of case study examples from across the industry, the programme will provide an overview of all the essentials you need to consider to develop and grow your catering offer.

  • From layout, service options and cost controls…
  • To customer needs, dietary requirements and menu development…

Places are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. This event is open to all businesses and costs £149 for HTA members, and £199 for non members

Who should attend?

>   Businesses looking to develop their catering offer to the next stage

>  Businesses who are introducing catering for the first time

>  Garden centre owners, catering managers & industry specialists 

Why attend?

>  Latest knowledge, inspiration and ideas from quality speakers from inside and outside the sector

>  Featuring lots of case study examples from across the industry

>  Opportunity to ask questions and share experiences

>  Great networking opportunity with peers across the industry

>  An opportunity to reflect on your approach to catering in a relaxed and engaging environment





Neville Stein will be chairing this conference and speaking about what garden centre catering has to offer. He has worked in the horticulture industry since 1977 supporting business development and specialising in retail catering, so is ideally placed to guide delegates through the day.



Paul Pleydell will be talking though the considerations you should make when planning your service area or café space. Pleydell Smithyman Ltd are a leading design and business consultancy offering a strategic and commercially focussed, design led range of services to create dynamic, exciting and successful cafes and restaurants.


Helen Joyce from Thirsk Garden Centre in North Yorkshire will speak about  how they run their coffee shop in a rather different way -  Using high quality coffee, teas and cakes alongside simple lunch items, all whilst making the space as comfortable as possible for the customer. Investment in their catering equipment has enabled them to deliver simple yet quality food quickly, from a kitchen that has been designed and built in house to suit their needs.


Caroline Benjamin MIH founded Food Allergy Aware Ltd to enable the food service business to understand and embrace the FreeFrom customer. She will be talking about the considerations you must make with customers alternative diets. Topics covered include the differences between allergy and intolerance, plus the lifestyle choices people make such as being vegetarian, vegan etc. and how to cater for them.

James Debbage will inspire you with menu planning, talking though the considerations you take and how to make the best of what you offer. His career has taken him from Saturday boy, to apprentice, general manager and now to owner of an award-winning centre of his own, Green Pastures - incorporating a plant centre, farm shop, The Gardeners Kitchen Restaurant and post office.



The seminar is being held at the HTA head office in Chilton, Oxfordshire.


If you would like more information please contact the HTA events team on




If you are interested in sponsoring this event please contact Tim Bell via 01235 776 178 or


Deborah Gould, Catering Manager, Ferndale Garden Centre

“The HTA Catering Conference makes you think about ways to improve."

Melanie Sewell, Catering Director and Co-owner, Fron Goch Garden Centre

"Discussing with others about specific issues and getting ideas on how to improve was most useful. I also found the wage versus food costs helpful and interesting.”

Claire Martinsen, Founder & Owner, Breckland Orchard

“A perfect opportunity to network with key contacts from the sector."

Caroline Long, Personnel and Training Manager, Associated Independent Stores Ltd

“I found this event a fantastic source of information, really insightful and inspirational.”


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