There is a definite move toward specialty or craft products around the world, the most notable of which in cafes and coffee shops is specialty coffee. Yet there are other areas of food and drink served in cafes that have not yet gone through the specialty revolution in the USA as has occurred in other developed countries, which provides a unique opportunity for the courageous and willing. This article offers some insight into the common misconceptions that are holding back the progress of specialty tea in coffee shops, and why, if you are a business that serves tea and coffee, that you can make genuine positive difference in your business instead of falling prey to the misconceptions that are likely to be costing you money.
Tea has undergone a similar transformation…
Many coffee shop owners have an awareness of the importance of quality and specialized coffee knowledge in attracting customers and creating a successful business – the preparation and service of Coffee went through a specialty transformation over a decade ago, with the advent of specialty coffee associations, origin trips, barista championships and quality certifications that transitioned consumption preferences from instant coffee and commodity coffee to specialty coffees which are now prevalent in coffee shops today. In a growing number of countries, Tea has undergone a similar transformation, albeit at a slower pace, with access to expert knowledge not being as widely available – as a result, consumer experience and ultimately tea sales for the in coffee shops and cafes has suffered. Convenience has also been valued at a premium to quality and taste, and the overall service experience for tea in the majority of coffee shops all too often has not been an enticing one – the prevalence of tea bags, absence of specialized brewing equipment and hiding the tea at the end of drink menus without descriptions are testament to this. For too many coffee shops, tea is not considered a serious contributor to a venue’s revenue, yet in my experience poor tea sales are a result of a self fulfilling prophecy – businesses that don’t value tea, are not motivated to create a valued experience for their customers, and so sales suffer accordingly.
There is a new method of precision tea brewing that involves a more interactive approach to preparation…
Disinterest or lack of enthusiasm for tea might be a consequence of the common misconception that a coffee focused businesses will somehow diminish their positioning if they are seen to do tea as well as their coffee – Comments like “we don’t really focus on tea”, creates a culture of apathy, which leads to an underwhelming experience for the customer which present the business negatively to consumers who enjoy tea. Whatever the cause, for businesses that do not create great experiences for the products they serve, the result is lost revenue and it is the business that loses out in the end. Investing in higher quality tea, taking care and control of the variables in tea infusion and presenting and promoting your tea offering in an informed and considered way will create better tasting beverages and increase sales. There is a new method of precision tea brewing that involves a more interactive approach to preparation and service which has proven results in supporting coffee shops to achieve dramatic increases in the amount of tea they sell, and with great returns to the bottom line – Many coffee shops are surprised by home much their tea sales increased, increases of 200-300% are not uncommon, an increase in 20 unit tea sales per day can return as much as $400 additional profit per week to the businesses’ revenue.Employing a professional approach to all aspects of service also reinforces the positioning and standards of the business, and is shown to create raving fans – the customer who comes for tea leaves as impressed as the customer who loved their coffee. This knowledge is now available for businesses who wish to take advantage of the opportunity, and the good news is that many of the disciplines for professional tea service are already in place as they are similar to those for coffee. These disciplines, if adapted for the preparation of tea, create a comparable service experience for tea consumers as is currently enjoyed by coffee lovers – one that tea lovers greatly appreciate.
Create a comparable service experience for tea consumers as is currently enjoyed by coffee lovers.
Over the past 12 years our partner in Somage Fine Foods has built an international tea business serving more than 2,500 leading cafes and restaurants, partnering with industry pioneers and innovators and support them to increase tea sales in their business. Nathan of Somage has offered to provide training for businesses wishing to take their tea service and sales to the next level. The knowledge that forms the basis of the strategies and systems which Nathan shares have been developed through his visits to more than 160 tea estates, designing a precision method of tea brewing and having worked in cafes and coffee shops for the past 24 years. They are a series of principles that have proven success across many industries and countries.
If you are curious to explore how you might enhance your service and increase your sales, please reach out to us at NW Coffee Supply.
Contributed by Somage Fine Foods