Tea is Inn!

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Arks's picture
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Interesting article in the new Innkeeping Now magazine (formerly Innkeeping Quarterly). In observation of National Hot Tea Month (who knew we had such a thing) they're advocating offering afternoon tea and the "tea experience" as a profit center for the Inn. "If your B&B or inn is not serving tea, you may not be "in" in the eyes of your guests."

The "experience" is not just a cup of tea and a cookie, but a full tea service complete with finger sandwiches, scones, and other treats. You charge extra money and accept special reservations for this.

Anybody doing this? Do you think people will pay, or will they expect it to be a free amenity?

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 Most of our guests would rather have a nice cold beer after a day at the beach!

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round here every other building is a tea/coffee shop! or seems like! definately at least 20. read a HUGE article in the caterer which is a hospitality magazine I take basically saying coffee has taken off as a handy profit making sideline and not to neglect the tea market as well as it can be an equally large an lucrative market. The people before the people before us used to run a sort of tea room out of the breakfast room as we had a driving test center abotu 200 yards up the road and all the instructors used to come for coffee while their students were out being tested. I was telling my mum about that and she was red hot to get it started again till I pointed out the DVLA center had closed and was now 3 flats! could have been a nice sideline though.

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Madeleine's picture
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Didn't you people invent tea? Or at least 'tea' as something to do?

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Joey Camb's picture
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technically it was invented in india where it is normally grown however the regency period upper classes had a lot of money and not a lot to do so made it into an event in the afternoon to fill the gap between lunch and dinner - you as a lady of leisure went out to tea with your chums or took afternoon tea or had all your chums round for it and a chat. It was the time to exchange cards visit friends and see who was in town.

Ice
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I love the ideal (for me to go) but for us it would not work they (guest)are not there in the afternoon, it wouldn't be a good fit for us.  I just wonder how tea rooms are doing these days? Are there as many as there were in the 90's? 

I took my grand daughter to a tea room over the Christmas holidays.  I could tell she really enjoyed it.  We have been having our own private tea parties since she was very young (don't laugh but we had dress ups and all!)  Sometimes it's just good to play!  

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Madeleine's picture
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Tea shops near me have closed. There were 4-5, now there's 1.

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Ice wrote:

 Sometimes it's just good to play!  

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A B & B owner friend just stopped doing little girl tea parties. She had dresses, boas, shoes, etc in the basement for the girls to dress up in. Then they came upstairs to Tea. It was ettiquette and tea party. She had many repeats. Birthdays, Girl Scouts, etc. She stopped because she wanted her basement back. Tea, delicately cut PB & J, scones....

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gillumhouse wrote:

A B & B owner friend just stopped doing little girl tea parties. She had dresses, boas, shoes, etc in the basement for the girls to dress up in. Then they came upstairs to Tea. It was ettiquette and tea party. She had many repeats. Birthdays, Girl Scouts, etc. She stopped because she wanted her basement back. Tea, delicately cut PB & J, scones....

I'm a little late responding to this, but I really want to do this! Do you think she would ship those items to me since she does not do it any longer?? I have been looking for some.

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Sunshine wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:

A B & B owner friend just stopped doing little girl tea parties. She had dresses, boas, shoes, etc in the basement for the girls to dress up in. Then they came upstairs to Tea. It was ettiquette and tea party. She had many repeats. Birthdays, Girl Scouts, etc. She stopped because she wanted her basement back. Tea, delicately cut PB & J, scones....

I'm a little late responding to this, but I really want to do this! Do you think she would ship those items to me since she does not do it any longer?? I have been looking for some.

Her reply came while I was in Charleston.

Sorry, too late. I gave the dresses to grand daughter, Miranda. she in turn took them to a consignment store up in Columbus. I told her to keep the money to pay for her own prom dress. kept a few things for the younger kids to play dress up. tell her to go to garage sales, rummage sales and goodwill or city rescue. talk to girlfriends who have daughters that have short dresses from homecoming etc. they become long dresses to the little ladies. I never paid over $5 for a dress or hat. you can get new boas at flower factory or big lots. gloves, shoes and jewelry were mostly garage sales. it was fun "hunting" for the goodies. best of luck to her. it was a nice set up but after 10 years, time to give my husband back his rec room. instead of a "haven for little girls" I now have a "haven for big boys......he put up a 12 x 8 train board and drug out his childhood train stuff. he is happy................ so I am happy.
 

gillumhouse's picture
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She may have already cleared it out but I will ask if she still has - by this I mean the dress up stuff. She uses her collection of tea pots and cups and saucers. Clarify what you are looking for.

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gillumhouse wrote:

She may have already cleared it out but I will ask if she still has - by this I mean the dress up stuff. She uses her collection of tea pots and cups and saucers. Clarify what you are looking for.

Sorry K, I was referring to the hats, boas, gloves, dresses, "dress up" stuff. I have the tea cups and tea pots etc.

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That is what I thought originally and then read further and got confused. Will ask.

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gillumhouse wrote:

A B & B owner friend just stopped doing little girl tea parties. She had dresses, boas, shoes, etc in the basement for the girls to dress up in. Then they came upstairs to Tea. It was ettiquette and tea party. She had many repeats. Birthdays, Girl Scouts, etc. She stopped because she wanted her basement back. Tea, delicately cut PB & J, scones....

You remember my story? I told everyone not to mention it though, we had that Admiral here, with his wife, and he walked like an Admiral, there was no mistaking this was a man who was large and in charge.  I can't recall if he was a Rear Admiral ot Fleet Admiral but he was in charge of US naval operations of half of the oceans on the planet.

When I finally found out why they were in the area it was to attend their friend's grandaughter's birthday party, which was, a tea party, in a tea house in nearby Salem VA. It is no longer a tea house, it was an old vic and they had the dress up stuff upstairs, to which, he was forced to don a big hat with feather.  It was priceless.  I always chuckle thinking about him wearing the big purple hat with feather at this tea party.  He told me if I ever told anyone that would be that!!  So no names are mentioned here.  

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

...he was forced to don a big hat with feather.  It was priceless.  I always chuckle thinking about him wearing the big purple hat with feather at this tea party....

Makes me think of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

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 Would not be popular here. My guests come to tour the wineries. None of them would spend any of their time at a tea. "in" or not. It's also not my thing. I'm sure it works well for others though. It would cost me too much time to set up and serve than I could charge. I'm happier out in the wineries.

RIki

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Iv have it on my web site that I offer over 100 varieties of tea. It is not something that brings them in. There is a Chocolatier/tea room in the next city that does teas and she is successful with it. She even had to move to a larger shop. I would have to have a commercial kitchen to do them - I can serve registered guests only.

Guest reaction to the aray of tea? OH MY GOD!!!!! Then they usually choose something they are familiar with - even though I tell them, "Try something that grabs you. If you do not like it we will toss it out, rinse the cup, and start over."

Coffee drinkers like the country choices but also have no clue. I am in the process of cutting back on countries offered. Using up the ones rarely (if ever) chosen and not going to replace them. Rwanda, Mexico, Nicaraugua to name a few. They like Sumatra, Ethiopia, Peru, Coluimbia, and the Hawaiians (I think because it is Hawaii and because they know those are expensive, Kona Blend yes, the others not so, but I do not buy Kona because it IS $$$).

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 K this is about "afternoon tea" not offering tea. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches or scones and cream. etc. 

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Yes, that is why I added that I cannot because of the commerciual kitchen. However, I thought the having all those teas available for tasting would draw guests - it did not. Unless it was listed as a scheduled event (as in weekly or monthly), I think guests would look at it as another amenity.

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This is something I would do if I were "sunshine" and in a dripping vic. I would do this on a weekly basis. But the same thing Maddie stated, as Sunshine and Mr Sunshine both work outside the inn, so it would have to be a weekend only thing and that could interfere with reg guests (unless it was included in the room or a package). A week day would be fantastic for the local blue-haired ladies. Smiling This would be a great local referral source.  I did a homeschool tea *|(young ladies and their mums all dress up, with white gloves) and garden club tea. There are even "Tea ladies" who are hired to present the afternoon tea properly.  Just letting others know if they are interested in pursuing this.

For our guests, this would not be something they would want. My UK guests want tea and goodies every day at check in, but would not pay for it, nor would they want an afternoon tea.  

I have considered it, this is an Aussie/Kiwi thing as well, and our grandmother and mil even read tea leaves.  For those wanting "that" experience. They did it on the side as it was not allowed in their homes. 

Thanks for sharing this Arks. I am still not withit for my mother-daughter book club weekend getaway...maybe next year. ugh...my agenda is too long and time too short...

 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

This is something I would do if I were "sunshine" and in a dripping vic. I would do this on a weekly basis. But the same thing Maddie stated, as Sunshine and Mr Sunshine both work outside the inn, so it would have to be a weekend only thing and that could interfere with reg guests (unless it was included in the room or a package). A week day would be fantastic for the local blue-haired ladies. Smiling This would be a great local referral source.  I did a homeschool tea *|(young ladies and their mums all dress up, with white gloves) and garden club tea. There are even "Tea ladies" who are hired to present the afternoon tea properly.  Just letting others know if they are interested in pursuing this.

For our guests, this would not be something they would want. My UK guests want tea and goodies every day at check in, but would not pay for it, nor would they want an afternoon tea.  

I have considered it, this is an Aussie/Kiwi thing as well, and our grandmother and mil even read tea leaves.  For those wanting "that" experience. They did it on the side as it was not allowed in their homes. 

Thanks for sharing this Arks. I am still not withit for my mother-daughter book club weekend getaway...maybe next year. ugh...my agenda is too long and time too short...

 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

This is something I would do if I were "sunshine" and in a dripping vic. I would do this on a weekly basis. But the same thing Maddie stated, as Sunshine and Mr Sunshine both work outside the inn, so it would have to be a weekend only thing and that could interfere with reg guests (unless it was included in the room or a package). A week day would be fantastic for the local blue-haired ladies. Smiling This would be a great local referral source.  I did a homeschool tea *|(young ladies and their mums all dress up, with white gloves) and garden club tea. There are even "Tea ladies" who are hired to present the afternoon tea properly.  Just letting others know if they are interested in pursuing this.

For our guests, this would not be something they would want. My UK guests want tea and goodies every day at check in, but would not pay for it, nor would they want an afternoon tea.  

I have considered it, this is an Aussie/Kiwi thing as well, and our grandmother and mil even read tea leaves.  For those wanting "that" experience. They did it on the side as it was not allowed in their homes. 

Thanks for sharing this Arks. I am still not withit for my mother-daughter book club weekend getaway...maybe next year. ugh...my agenda is too long and time too short...

 

Joey, I'm just getting around to reading this!  YOU are right! I would LOVE to do this and have thought about it often. I did live in Aust for 3 years and loved taking tea in the afternoons!

I just asked K if she thought her friend would ship her 'no longer used' tea items to me.

I have even been looking for the fancy 'tea party' dresses, boa's hats etc.. for the little girls to wear. I thought I'd get fancy 'prom' dresses from the girls who no longer want them and use belts to shorten them etc.

I also have a preschool, elementary teaching back ground, and youth group leader back ground and love kids, so this would be fun.

I used to have the 'senior' bridge club ladies here, but I got tired of their gossip and the way they talked behind the backs of the other ladies until they showed up. And they would come at 10 and stay till 4:30pm and it didn't pay enough for me to endure all that!

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

This is something I would do if I were "sunshine" and in a dripping vic. I would do this on a weekly basis. But the same thing Maddie stated, as Sunshine and Mr Sunshine both work outside the inn, so it would have to be a weekend only thing and that could interfere with reg guests (unless it was included in the room or a package). A week day would be fantastic for the local blue-haired ladies. Smiling This would be a great local referral source.  I did a homeschool tea *|(young ladies and their mums all dress up, with white gloves) and garden club tea. There are even "Tea ladies" who are hired to present the afternoon tea properly.  Just letting others know if they are interested in pursuing this.

For our guests, this would not be something they would want. My UK guests want tea and goodies every day at check in, but would not pay for it, nor would they want an afternoon tea.  

I have considered it, this is an Aussie/Kiwi thing as well, and our grandmother and mil even read tea leaves.  For those wanting "that" experience. They did it on the side as it was not allowed in their homes. 

Thanks for sharing this Arks. I am still not withit for my mother-daughter book club weekend getaway...maybe next year. ugh...my agenda is too long and time too short...

 

Joey, I'm just getting around to reading this!  YOU are right! I would LOVE to do this and have thought about it often. I did live in Aust for 3 years and loved taking tea in the afternoons!

I just asked K if she thought her friend would ship her 'no longer used' tea items to me.

I have even been looking for the fancy 'tea party' dresses, boa's hats etc.. for the little girls to wear. I thought I'd get fancy 'prom' dresses from the girls who no longer want them and use belts to shorten them etc.

I also have a preschool, elementary teaching back ground, and youth group leader back ground and love kids, so this would be fun.

I used to have the 'senior' bridge club ladies here, but I got tired of their gossip and the way they talked behind the backs of the other ladies until they showed up. And they would come at 10 and stay till 4:30pm and it didn't pay enough for me to endure all that!

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Sunshine wrote:

 And they would come at 10 and stay till 4:30pm and it didn't pay enough for me to endure all that!

This is another thing for everyone to consider...once people get settled in, thye may expect that the 'party' goes on forever. Even in the tea rooms I've been to with signs on the door saying what time they close find that once settled, it takes the fire alarm to get the ladies out the door.

It's one thing if they're buying more tea or cakes or whatever but if they're just nursing the last pot until dinnertime it's tough on the owners.

Again, everything can be done gracefully to insure everyone's needs are met, it just takes practice and the ability to stare down those dragon ladies!

Madeleine's picture
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Tea is wonderful. The hotel next door does it and I understand they charge $50. However, given I have seen kids in there partaking, I kind of doubt the charge for guests, maybe that's the street price. They do a full tea with all the extras. But they also have 100 people on staff.

Here's the thing...if you have the staff, the room, the time, the inclination it's a great idea.

If you don't have any of that you can offer the guest the ability to make their own tea, in their own time and sit down and put your own feet up for a few minutes.

Sorry, I woke up grumpy this morning.

 

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