Talking tea with Kenneth Wilkie of Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel
Q: How long have you offered afternoon tea? What does your offer comprise?
A: Afternoon tea has been a tradition at Grand Central for a very long time; the earliest serving I’m unsure of but certainly back to the golden days of rail with ladies in large frocks. We serve a selection of traditional sandwiches which does vary, but includes favourites like ham and mustard, egg and cress, cucumber and cream cheese, cheese and pickle, smoked salmon, and roast chicken and mayonnaise; freshly-baked plain and fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream; and last but certainly not least, a dainty selection of sweet treats.
Q: To what extent do Mother’s Day and afternoon tea go hand in hand?
A: Mother’s Day is synonymous with afternoon tea and what better way to treat your mum? Not only can families enjoy a delicious and relaxing afternoon in a comfortable setting, but it is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together.
Q: Do you promote any special afternoon tea offer for Mother’s Day?
A: We have a very special Mother’s Day afternoon tea served with a glass of Prosecco and an added treat for mum to enjoy at home: rose gin tablet and a miniature bottle of pink gin. Priced at £34.95, we offer the perfect afternoon at the Grand Central.
Q: How does consumer demand change around Mother’s Day?
A: Demand not only increases but we are very conscious of the need to impress when so many people are coming to visit us for a special occasion. Many of our guests are here enjoying a gift from relatives who are always keen to hear positive feedback, so it is important that we are able to make our guests feel relaxed and well looked after.
Q: What are the practicalities of putting together an afternoon tea offer?
A: Afternoon tea is a very competitive market with many establishments discounting heavily to attract business. This gives us challenges around the need to ensure we deliver the quality that Grand Central is famous for while also delivering outstanding value. We are also very conscious of the leisurely, relaxed nature of the offering which means people tend to spend longer enjoying their experience, something we need to account for when selling and allocating tables.
Q: What benefits does your afternoon tea offer bring to your business?
A: Afternoon tea brings many new guests to Grand Central whether by way of a gift voucher or from one of our fantastic promotions – this gives us the chance to wow and encourage guests to return again and again. Many customers arrive for afternoon tea and decide that it is an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy a glass of fizz or a cocktail, and soon find themselves whiling away a full day by having fun in the hotel. We find that many guests who come for afternoon tea return for dinner, drinks and overnight stays, as they become enthralled by the charm of Grand Central Hotel.
Q: What tip would you offer to those looking to introduce a successful afternoon tea offer in time for Mother’s Day?
A: I would always advise anyone looking to offer a successful afternoon tea for Mother’s Day to remember it’s all about the mothers. Beautiful food and a relaxed ambience and pace of service are paramount as this allows mums to spend precious time with their little ones and, in many instances, not-so-little ones anymore!