Hot drinks focus: Time for tea

Related tags Tea

THE BEER may be fine, but how well do you make a cup of tea? Pubs increasingly need to have a range of customer service skills, and afternoon tea can...

THE BEER may be fine, but how well do you make a cup of tea? Pubs increasingly need to have a range of customer service skills, and afternoon tea can be a profitable sideline.

Peter Haigh, brand development manager with Tetley, says: "Getting your tea offering right can be very profitable for pubs, especially when you think that teabags in general cost a matter of a few pence, but a cup of tea can easily be sold for £1 or more - imagine if you had a mark-up like that on your alcohol sales."

Firstly, don't just think that offering traditional black tea is enough. In supermarkets, decaf tea outsells English Breakfast and Earl Grey put together. Offering a speciality tea menu in pubs isn't hard and stocking a range of teas isn't a deal breaker in terms of either investment or storage.

Varieties such as redbush and green tea, along with infusions such as camomile and peppermint tea, are also growing in popularity.

"Having different teas is no good unless you tell your customers about them, so make sure your offering is clearly communicated to customers through chalkboards, stands and point-of-sale (PoS) merchandise," advises Haigh.

Selected Tetley packs now come with free 'We Serve Tetley' table cubes, which can be left on tables or at the bar, while the brand also offers other free PoS items, such as chalkboards and strut cards.

"Just as customers want to know which brands of beer you serve, they should also know which brands of tea are on offer. Simply offering 'tea' won't help increase sales - letting them know the brand and blends certainly will," says Hugh.

"The business trade should also not be overlooked. If you know there are offices - particularly smaller ones - nearby, why not install a Wi-Fi connection and make your pub a place that people could visit for informal meetings and business discussions," he said.

Pub-goers choose tea

Charmian Day, marketing manager for PG Tips with Unilever Foodsolutions, says: "We know more people are choosing to drink tea in pubs as our research shows that between 2007 and 2008 the amount of tea served in the pub sector increased by 1.3 per cent.

"The approach of sunnier weather and the growth of the all-day-dining concept provide an occasion for tea to be viewed and marketed as a beverage that can be enjoyed whatever time of day. In particular, breakfast is a key opportunity for publicans as research shows that out-of-home consumption of tea is particularly prominent in the morning.

"By opening up in time to capitalise on the breakfast trade, licensees can create extra revenue occasions. Offering a range of teas and scones creates an extra profit opportunity, as the afternoon is also a key tea drinking occasion."

With ethical production of tea and coffee an important consideration, pubs need to highlight products with the appropriate sustainable credentials. PG Tips now partners the Rainforest Alliance, and at least 50 per cent of its tea comes from certified farms.

Samantha Purton, brand manager of Jacksons of Piccadilly, part of the Twinings foodservice range, says: "Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in not only what goes into their beverages but now where they come from as well.

"Over the past few years there has been a substantial growth in the demand for ethical and sustainable products, leading to the UK Fairtrade market now being worth an estimated half a billion pounds, and still growing at 50 per cent year-on-year."

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