Anyone for tea?
Like the Sunday roast, afternoon tea is a British tradition which has grown into a hugely profitable market.
According to research by the United Kingdom Tea and Infusion Association (Tea Council), afternoon tea is now an incredible 25% of a hotel’s turnover. No longer just a treat for grannies or overseas tourists, tea time has blossomed into an experience for everyone; from families and hen parties, to business colleagues and young women looking for an alternative way to socialise.
With our love of tea growing, the refreshing brew is now being marketed like wine with a tea type or blend to suit every taste, budget and occasion. Simple, yet effective, serve afternoon tea properly and you could enjoy a year-round profit boost. Crumbs!
Here are the Tea Council’s top tips:
- Promote it – Make it clear on your website that you serve afternoon tea. Make the offer prominent as customers don’t want to trail through looking for it. Include imagery and details so they know what delightful treats they will be eating
- Menu – Be insightful and knowledgeable. Don’t just write sandwiches; describe each one, say if you’re using local produce or if you have given a traditional sarnie a unique twist. The more the customer knows the more impressed they’ll be – and likely to return or recommend
- Seasonal – Change your menu to suit the seasons. If a customer returns, they’ll be disappointed to be served the same thing again
- Twist tradition – Make your own mark. Sketch in Mayfair, London serves vegan and nut-free afternoon tea plus gluten free options alongside its traditional one
- Training – If your staff know the correct teas to serve, it will make all the difference to customer experience and is just as important as bar staff knowing about wine
- Themes – Wimbledon teas, summer teas and Christmas afternoon teas are extremely popular – get the Christmas one on your menu by Autumn at the latest
We owe the origin of afternoon tea to a young Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. At the time, it was common to only eat two meals a day (breakfast and dinner). Weakened and irritated by hunger pangs, Anna started to make time for tea and a snack each afternoon – and an English tradition was born.