The World Tea Expo panel forum on The Future of Traditional and Victorian tearooms: Continuing the discussion on the facebook group. For a limited time, and you must be on facebook, and you must be in the industry..
NOTE: The World Tea Expo is the very best repository of tea company sources, and accessory sources.
Themed events are one possible revenue stream for Tea Rooms, but keeping a fresh offering can be a challenge. Listed below are some ideas:
Recital by local music school students:(these schools are always looking for opportunities for their amateur students to perform in front of a real audience) - end of the school year concert - Holiday caroling - Mother's Day with the theme of only songs about mother - Songs of the season - Show tunes with themes of endless possibilities ( Ethel Merman, Les Mis, Gershwin, Judy Garland, .... ) How to facilitate: Contact the owners of all your local music schools and ask if they are interested in using your tea room as a venue. Advertise as you would other events, but also ask that the music school advertise too. The school may ask for a percentage of the ticket sales to cover their costs. Ask the music school to provide all the sound gear.
Performance by professional musician: Find artists using services like BandMix or GigSalad on the web. Musicians can be found by location, instrument, and type of music on these sites. Many have audio and/or video samples on the website. Connect with the artist via the website; negotiate contract with artist; pay deposit. Artists will provide all sound gear.
Play by local theatre guild: contact guild by searching the web for "theatre guild" and your city or state. Ask the guild if they would be interested in using your shop as a venue.
Audience participation play: purchase a script from one of many offered. One source is Dramatic Publishing. Find some written just for tea rooms. Teatime Theater playsMystery Tea Parties How to facilitate: Gather costumes and props. Enlist staff and friends to practice / walk-through / read-through the play before 'show time'. A read-through is critical to determine props.
Art show: one artist show, or guild show. Combine a tea tasting with the art show. To facilitate: contact local guilds (search the Internet for 'art guild' and your city/state/neighboring city), and offer your shop as a venue. Negotiate a commission on pieces sold during the show ( full service galleries charge 40%, but if you do little or no work for the artist you may charge no commission).
Quilt show; Quilt contest
Heritage craft making demonstrations/show; quilling; spinning and weaving; rug making; needlepoint; crewel; lacemaking; tatting; hairpin lace; smocking; embroidery of many kinds( cut work, crewel, drawn work, candlewicking, cross-stitch, huckweaving)
Traditional tea rooms have a limited product and audience. Products other than the expected afternoon tea, lunch, and special events, may be lucrative revenue streams. Some to consider:
'Group shop' Gift shop: A ubiquitous New England shop type that works very well as an addition to a tea room. Group shops usually partition space, and rent those partitions as revenue; but some operate as consignment shops instead/as well. The advantage to the shop owner is gift shop revenue without investing in inventory. The owner must have the skill to manage the renters, and must, must, must reserve the right to jury the items. This type of shop lends itself well to vendors who are antique dealers, but also may be of interest to craftspeople (jewelry makers, soapmakers, woodworkers,...).
Wedding planner: If your venue can function as a wedding space you may want to offer a complete wedding package. Take advantage of your talents ( wedding cake, invitations, music, favors,....).
Permanent art gallery: Offer your shop walls to local artists as a gallery. They get an interesting new venue; you get an ever changing and interesting decor for free. Negotiate a commission for pieces sold - full service galleries charge 40%, but if you do little or no work for the artist you may charge no commission. Some tea shops have rented their walls as display space instead of commission. Regardless, make sure to stipulate that you have the final decision to chose the works appropriate for your shop.
Meeting space. Before or after hours. With or without refreshments. Business Groups: Realtors, Women's business organizations (Engineers , NAPW, Dress for Success, ... ) Social Groups: Bridge clubs; Knitting guilds, Book clubs, Women's community groups, Church groups, Volunteer Groups A bonus is that, regardless of the fee you charge, you are introducing many new people to your shop - both those who attend, and those who read the group's advertising - in general raising your visibility in the community.
Bakery / Chocolatier / Caterer / To-go --- using your kitchen to its fullest potential. Create these businesses yourself, or team with another entrepreneur to use your kitchen space in your off-hours.