Recruitment and retention of catering staff, food counter visual merchandising, food inspiration from Australia and creating modern takes on traditional bakes are just three of the hot topics on the agenda for the HTA Catering Conference, ‘A Recipe for Growth’, which takes place on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The latest updates to the programme include:

Food historian Seren Charrington-Hollins who will be looking at the origins of afternoon tea and looking at modern takes on traditional bakes.

Following a trip to Australia Boyd Douglas-Davies from Hillview Group will share his slides and highlight the innovative approach taken to driving footfall at non- peak times.

Recruitment and staff retention are always high on the agenda for catering operations and Caroline Cooper from Naturally Loyal will provide tips and guidance on staffing issues.

Undoubtedly we eat with our eyes but are your chiller cabinet displays really selling your wares? Visual merchandising expert Simon Askew provides inspiration on food counter visual merchandising.

They join speakers including Jim Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Paul Pleydell from Pleydell Smithyman, Paul Weston from Frobishers, David Denny from HTA, Martin Breddy from Squires Garden Centres, Josh Brown from Harris + Hoole, Paul Hargreaves from Cotswold Fayre, Jane Land from Veganuary, Tom Hunt from Poco, James Debbage from Green Pastures.

There will be demonstration sessions from Quorn Foods and Funnybones Foodservice who provide ideas and innovative street food concepts – ideal for pop ups.

TV Chef Rosemary Shrager will be providing the after dinner speech in the evening.

Running alongside the conference across the two days is an exhibition featuring representatives from a huge array of fantastic suppliers from across the catering industry. From tea, coffee and cake to foodservice, ice-cream, furniture and baby food – something for everyone and a great networking opportunity.

Exhibitors attending are: Aramark, Arden Coffee Ltd, Ascential Events, British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), Citation, Country Choice, Creed Foodservice, Dawn Foods,  Eden Furniture Ltd , Frobishers Juices Ltd, Funnybones Foodservice, Jestic Foodservice Ltd,  Joe Delucci’s, Matthew Algie & Co Ltd, Organix Brands, Pleydell Smithyman Limited, Quorn Foods, Review Systems, Sound Leisure, Space Catering Equipment Ltd, Sussex Bakes Ltd, Tea from the Manor, The Handmade Cake Company Ltd and Vision Commercial Kitchens.

With the focus on strategy and operations on day one and food on day two this action packed programme covers a whole raft of topics pertinent to running a garden centre catering operation. With a combination of speakers from inside and outside the industry, plus panel session, it is a great way to gain inspiration and knowledge. The event provides the opportunity to network with garden centre catering peers and also meet with suppliers in the accompanying exhibition.

To find out more and book your place visit

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