Afternoon tea Q&A: John Keating, GM Fairmont St Andrews | Scottish Licensed Trade News

Scottish Licensed Trade News

Afternoon tea at Fairmont St Andrews

Afternoon tea

How long has the afternoon tea offer been in place at Fairmont St Andrews?

There has always been an afternoon tea offering at Fairmont St Andrews, since the hotel opened in 2001. However it has evolved over the years. Following a multi-million pound renovation of our public areas in 2016, we wanted to offer guests a unique experience.

What does your afternoon tea offer comprise of? How many ‘tiers’ are there and what does each level offer?

Each guest receives three tiers of homemade finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream, homemade jam and homemade lemon curd. Once they have finished this feast, they are offered a selection of indulgent seasonal cakes and pastries created by the hotel’s executive pastry chef, followed by our seasonal Atrium Cakes. We also offer High Tea, which consists of a hot course of Scottish oak smoked salmon, truffle scrambled egg and caviar.

What do customers look for when booking afternoon tea?

Guests look for a unique experience that they can cherish. When booking, we suggest to guests to allow themselves a minimum of two hours to enjoy their experience and savour the flavours. Our afternoon tea offering is to be enjoyed over the course of an afternoon and not to be rushed.

Have you seen the popularity of afternoon tea rise in recent years? If so, why do you think this is?

The popularity of afternoon tea has definitely risen in recent years. We find that guests are looking for different and unique experiences, whether this is showcased through flavours or perhaps the venue itself is unique. The tradition of afternoon tea has changed and evolved to become more accessible to those who perhaps found it intimidating in the past.

What are the practicalities involved in putting an afternoon tea offer together?

There are many elements involved in creating an afternoon tea offering. First and foremost for Fairmont St Andrews is seasonality of produce; 75% of our produce is sourced locally in Scotland, with 100% being fairtrade.

What makes your afternoon tea offer unique?

Our location and our uniquely-sourced produce. The afternoon tea offering is served in the Atrium Lounge, which features a lighting sculpture that hangs gracefully above. The 60-metre lighting sculpture is by artist George Singer and named ‘Zephyr’.

We also had a poem commissioned about the Zephyr, which features in the back of the menu for guests to read whilst enjoying their afternoon tea experience.

What benefits does your afternoon tea offer bring to your business?

It stimulates interest from the locals who may not have been to the hotel before. And it offers synergy between brands (The Savoy/Fairmont St Andrews), reinforcing that the luxury element will always be part of the offering in a Fairmont property.

How do you market your afternoon tea offer?

Social media content, seasonal promotions, inviting press, bloggers and influencers to experience our afternoon tea offering.

How much repeat business do you get on the back of afternoon tea?

We have very frequent repeat business. Guests tend to book in for afternoon tea on their arrival to the hotel, and rave about it to their friends.

What tips would you offer those looking to introduce an afternoon tea offer?

Open the mind to new flavours.

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