Tea up a new sales opportunity

Operators can cash in with the right afternoon tea offer, say firms

afternoon tea

WHAT customer doesn’t like to treat themselves from time to time? With most people nowadays said to be looking for higher quality experiences when in the on-trade, a well-presented afternoon tea offer can make a lot of sense.

That was the message from drinks and hot beverage firms, who told SLTN that the right offer can bring real benefits to a business.

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Vincent Efferoth, co-founder of Noveltea – a range of blended alcoholic tea drinks – said afternoon tea is a “high-class” tradition and therefore should be treated as a premium event.

“With consumers looking for better experiences, many have reverted to enjoying British traditions that they don’t have time to enjoy on a day-to-day basis that makes them feel special,” he said.

“By offering the ‘experience’ of afternoon tea, this will naturally increase the status of the establishment and therefore prices that can be associated.

“Finally, the ritual of afternoon tea allows the consumer to create lasting memories with family and friends and therefore form a long-term relationship with the establishment and subsequently return.”

But in order to brew up some extra sales, operators need to ensure their range is designed with their consumer base in mind.

Peter Menzies, head taster at The Dundee Gin Company, said: “So many bars can create a signature offering.

“Don’t necessarily go for a Prosecco or Champagne; go for a cocktail or something exotic.”

Crafting cocktails that help celebrate certain events can also prove worthwhile, according to Claire Murray, director of Dunnet Bay Distillers in Caithness, which produces Rock Rose Gin.

By offering afternoon tea, this will increase the status of the establishment and the associated prices.

“At our distillery we are offering a very special Mother’s Day treat, with a cocktail afternoon tea,” she said.

“On offer will be a fabulous tea-based cocktail using our Pink Grapefruit Old Tom; the citrus flavours will work really well with, say, an Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea – and we’ll also have a delicious Holy Grass Espresso Martini-style cocktail.”

Efferoth of Noveltea said operators should aim to introduce an afternoon tea offer with their own customer base in mind.

“If the establishment has taken inspiration from another culture; ie. a Spanish-inspired restaurant could look to offer a unique take on the British tradition with a distinctly Spanish twist by offering savoury tapas, for example,” he said.

Top tips

Choose a premium brand of tea to set your offer apart.

Write your menu carefully to explain the flavours so your customers know what to expect.

Present and brew to perfection, so customers gain the full value from your tea.

– Novus Tea.

When it comes to hot beverages, tea “has to be the focus, even if other alcoholic drinks such as Champagne or Prosecco are also offered”, reckons Alan Pirret, sales director of Novus Tea.

He said: “There’s a huge surge in demand for premium teas and infusions, so it’s important for operators to team-up with a market-leading, premium brand capable of delivering the quality, taste, innovation and support that customers expect.

“This means better tasting, more interesting and perhaps healthier options, including green teas, fruit and herbal teas, speciality blends and matcha.”

Beyond drinks, the right tableware is a must to a successful afternoon tea offer, said Rob Blunderfield of catering equipment and supplies firm Parsley in Time.

“The first bite is with the eye, so the saying goes,” he added.

“Just as lighting helps to create an ambience, tableware too can be used to set the scene.”

This was echoed by Kathryn Oldershaw, marketing director at tableware firm Utopia, who said: “Tableware influences the feel and look of the afternoon tea offering.

“A great afternoon tea offering will always look better if served from decent tableware. A high quality tea service helps showcase the menu at its best, and helps to build the diner’s overall impression of your establishment.”