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‘Really smart’ merchandiser ups food sales at Torwood Garden Centre

“Don’t let them take it away!” – garden centre’s Blossoms Bistro trials Moffat’s new unit

A good merchandiser can make a huge difference to food sales. E & R Moffat has recently developed a new merchandiser range, called Free-Flow Grab & Go, and asked Blossoms Bistro, in Torwood Garden Centre in Larbert, Stirlingshire, to trial one of the units. “We’re a very busy catering operation in a very popular garden centre, so I guess we were an ideal test case,” says Lindsey Miller, catering manager at Torwood. In fact, Lindsey was so impressed with the merchandiser that, once the trial was over, she kept it. “I told the owners, ‘don’t let them take it away, I need it!’” 

Torwood began life in the Second World War, as a tomato nursery. It’s been owned by the Stevenson family since 1942 and over the years they have turned it into an incredibly popular destination in its own right. Lindsey has been working in the Blossoms Bistro for 14 years. “I love that it’s a family-run business,” she says. “It’s a very happy place – we have customers coming back week after week.”  

In 2015 those customers voted Blossoms as Falkirk Café of the Year. Food quality is a top priority – the bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and is justly famous for dishes as varied as its steak pie, macaroni cheese and cakes and tray bakes. It’s also renowned for its ‘lovely’ sandwiches and paninis – which is where the new merchandiser comes in. 

The Moffat merchandiser at Blossoms is the chilled version, model MC1. “We use it to store and display lots of cold food, including sandwiches, toasties, paninis and salads,” says Lindsey.  “Temperature control is absolutely excellent.” That control is down to the unit’s clever internal airflow design. Down the front of the open shelves is a curtain of air that protects the food while giving customers easy access. As well as maintaining temperature, the airflow design recycles the cold air to improve energy efficiency and its gentle action ensures food is kept in top condition. 

Of course, a key aspect of any merchandiser is selling the food. “It looks great and has definitely helped increase sales,” says Lindsey. The Moffat merchandiser is sited right at the front door of Blossoms. “There’s usually a queue,” says Lindsey, “And the merchandiser is the first thing people see when they come in, so it’s really important. One of the things that makes it is the lighting – it’s bright and sets the food off beautifully.” 

Impulse baskets hung on the front of the unit have helped sales of snack items. “The baskets look the part – and they work. I’ve had to order lots more packets of crisps!” says Lindsey.  

The Moffat unit features 6mm toughened glass shelves and rounded side panels, stainless steel construction. The new merchandisers are available in a wide choice of Stelvetite colours and finishes, to fit in with each site’s décor. Other options include rear doors, for restocking, and pull-down blinds. 

Like many venues, space is at a premium in Blossoms Bistro – its popularity means that every spare millimetre is devoted to customer comfort. The Moffat Free-Flow Grab & Go unit is designed to deliver maximum retail display area on the minimum footprint. With a width of 650mm and a depth of 680mm, it offers five roomy shelf display areas. “It’s slim, not too big and really fits in,” says Lindsey. 

The increase in sales shows what customers think of the Moffat unit, but staff at Blossoms like it, too.   “It’s very easy to look after, restock and keep clean,” says Lindsey. “Plus they love the look of it, because it’s really smart. I’m so glad we’ve got it.” 

The Moffat Free-Flow Grab & Go range includes heated, ambient, chilled and combined heated and chilled merchandisers. Accurate digital controls ensure temperature accuracy and food safety, while Moffat’s airflow design maintains correct humidity levels to ensure food neither dries out nor becomes soggy.  Full length, energy-efficient LED lighting provides striking presentation and high-grade insulation further reduces energy consumption. All models are ‘plug and go’, running off a standard 13 amp supply.