Dining in the digital age on the menu at HTA Catering Conference

It’s not too late to sign up for the HTA Catering Conference, exhibition and dinner, which takes place on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June at The Belfry Hotel and Resort, near Sutton Coldfield.

Sponsored by Vision Commercial Kitchens, this two day event provides garden centre caterers with inspiration and ideas to take their outlet forward. ‘Strategy and Operations’ is the theme for day one and a ‘Focus on Food’ on day two, the programme covers many topics impacting on garden centre catering operations.

Keynote speakers, Fred Sirieix and Henry Dimbleby, will talk about the ‘art of service’ and sourcing suppliers and ingredients respectively.

Workshop sessions include:

Dining in the Digital Age: The role of social media and psychology in food marketing

A recent study found that 95% of all human decisions are subconsciously made. This statistic almost certainly applies to our food purchasing and consumption decisions.  In fact, we make on average around 200 decisions about food each day, the majority of which are subconscious. What does this mean for you?  It demonstrates a clear need to your reach customers on an emotional level.  Join Karen Fewell, Founder of Digital Blonde and the Food Marketing School, as she explores how social media can help you make that all important emotional connection and get more people eating at your garden centre. In this workshop, Karen’s thought-provoking talk will draw on new findings from the world of psychology and marketing, with ideas and learnings for a range of catering businesses to take away.

Consumer dynamics in coffee:  What’s driving the market and how to unlock commercial growth

Coffee is big business.  Really, really big business.  With a market valued at nearly £8bn in value and in continual growth, coffee is becoming ever more competitive on a weekly basis.  Consumer coffee consumption was unabated through the recession but consumer behaviour is changing – and understanding this is key to unlocking commercial benefits.  Andrew Jack, Head of Marketing at Matthew Algie, will take you through the macro dynamics in the market and some of the key trends within coffee – and  importantly how to activate and commercialise these opportunities!

Having an allergy policy, will this increase your customer base?

Are you serving the allergen customer safely? It’s not just about creating a gluten free menu, it’s looking at all aspects around preparing, serving and communicating to the FreeFrom diner, whether it’s an allergy or intolerance!

Are you promoting your FreeFrom offerings on your website, and how you could be portrayed on social media if your staff are bad communicators!  In this workshop, Caroline Benjamin MIH, Director, Food Allergy Training Consultancy, will help uncover the myths around the FreeFrom diner; delegates will have the opportunity to share their ideas and best practice.

How to ensure you have nutritional and balanced choices on your menu

In this workshop Rob Owen, Executive Development Chef at Creed Foodservice ,  will explore how you can adapt your menu to different potential customers, the benefits of using nutritional software to help develop menus and will discuss what is ‘superfood’ and what are the values of it.

Other speakers include:

Pippa McKean, Director of McKean Consulting. Mark Harris, Proprietor of Harris Restaurant Consultants Melanie Sewell, Catering Director at Fron Goch Garden Centre Anthony Hester, Head of Restaurants, Dobbies Co-owner Mark Farnsworth & Commercial Manager Sharon McNair from Tong Garden Centre Emma Read, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Horizons Mike Lind, Managing Director and Denis Guileman, Catering Operations Manager from Monkton Elm Garden Centre There will be panel sessions on both days chaired by Boyd Douglas-Davies, Hillview Garden Centres. Panellists include Mike Burks, The Gardens Group and Malcolm Scott from Malcolm Scott Consultants.

This year’s conference and exhibition features a formal dinner, which allows delegates plenty of time and opportunities to meet with a range of key catering suppliers.

The dinner, held on the evening of Tuesday 7 June, will feature Garden Trade News ‘Greatest Catering Awards.

The cost to HTA members is £325.00, plus VAT, which includes the two day conference, dinner and accommodation for single occupancy at The Belfry (£445.00, plus VAT for non-members).  Single day only rates are also available for those who cannot attend the full conference.

For more information and to book visit www.hta.org.uk/cateringconference

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