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September 2004

High Street Coffee Culture comes to Hedge End

An impressive new all day café operation has been set up at the new Hedge End Golf Centre in Southampton

We featured Hedge End in last month’s GRN and return this month for an in-depth look

at the impressive café facility that Artington Golf have developed with the support of William Wood.

Open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm, it strengthens an already extremely strong concept consisting of an impressive 50 bay contoured range and a massive American Golf Discount store.

Catering had always been part of the plan for the new development at Hedge End, although in the early days no one from the in-house development team of Artington Golf Ltd really knew how best to move it forward. Their core business is the construction of golf courses, so how could they really be expected to turn their skills into developing a catering operation?

William Wood Consultancy Ltd specialises in the development of catering operations for the leisure market and and was involved at a very early stage. William Wood, the boss of this proactive young consultancy business, seems to do exactly what he says he will do and is supported by a small team with more than 30 years of front line catering experience.

On speaking to William he clearly recalls a very muddy brown field site on his first visit to Hedge End to meet Ted and Mark Awcock. At this first meeting he took their one line brief which said not much more than - “we need some sort of catering but we don’t know what or how to go about it”.

After looking at all the options, including outsourcing the catering operation as well as considering some fairly stringent planning conditions he has developed an in-house managed Café operation that would not look out of place in any high street location and it is already proving itself to be a key component of the remarkable golf experience at Hedge End.

William told us: “The golf range facilities at Hedge End are so up to date and impressive, and with the presence of such a big name as American Golf Discount, we felt it was important that the café had a certain amount of clout as well. To be successful we felt a new café would need to inspire golfers to slip out of their normal routines and increase their time on site at the range and indulge in not one, but two, pleasurable activities. Branding is all about confidence to the consumer and we felt that bringing a high street café brand to the golf centre would give added attraction and value. “After looking at a number of high street brands in the café and coffee bar sector the golf centre have set up what is called a Costa Wholesale agreement. This enables them to sell Costa Coffee whilst using the well known brand across signage, cups, menus etc but still retaining full operational responsibility and, more importantly, the right to sell whatever ancillary food and drink products they like.

We wanted the brand support but did not want to be totally dictated in the way we ran the catering operation; Costa gives us exactly this because all they are really bothered about is the coffee operation and we are left free to add on what we feel is appropriate and manage the unit totally independently”.

The training and support provided by Costa is invaluable to keep apace with ever changing trends and of course to ensure consistency of product and service. Despite the immediately identifiable Costa speciality coffee menu there is a carefully selected range of all day impulse buys such as Honeybuns cakes (no additives, colourings, flavourings or preservatives and some are gluten free), freshly baked off Delifrance patisserie items, wrapped sandwiches, bagels, baguettes and hot breakfast toasties as well as dessert pots, fresh juices and other indulgent treat items. These items proudly wear the Hedge End Golf logo by the use of specially set up labels (to satisfy very stringent labelling legislation) and food and drink products on sale endorse three key supply principles: quality, fresh and local where possible.

Simplicity in the day to day operation is considered paramount, it goes without saying that the owners of the c

 

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