Tea Tales: A business and revenue driving service
A look at evolution of tea as a business and an experiential offer to guests
Every service in a hotel is about how much it adds to the bottom-line along with offering a great experiential to guests. So is with the service of tea.
Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru has a dedicated tea and wine lounge, where it serves infusions with raspberry and strawberry added to tea-based cocktails and an entire menu dedicated to tea. Its revenues from special tea services has gone up by 20 per cent in the last year.
For The Leela Mumbai, the percentage is at 20, a lot of which interestingly comes from the retail of their special house blends. “We now house over 60 leaf teas from all over the world in our collection. We have also tied up with an international brand TWG, which curates a small batch of international teas for our discerning clientele. Our most popular blend continues to be ‘The Leela Blend’, crafted for The Lobby Lounge. It is among the most preferred black teas in the restaurant,” says Abhishek Basu, executive assistant manager, F&B, The Leela, Mumbai. Surender Singh Thakur, director, F&B, The Imperial New Delhi says, “Tea lounges offer opportunities to showcase a brand’s versatility.” Atrium, the tea lounge of The Imperial, in fact, has a guided art tour followed by a high tea featuring their finest orthodox tea collection that boasts The Imperial Single Estate Tea Collection, including Crystal Flush and the exotic Silver Tip Imperial from Makaibari. The annual contribution margin of The Atrium is around 3.5 per cent to the total F&B operating budget.
The contribution of the hotel industry towards overall tea consumption has helped increase the tea production in India. According to statistics from the Tea Board of India, 2018 saw the maximum production of tea in India, with a bigger share coming from Tamil Nadu followed by North East and West Bengal. A fact corroborated by Research and Markets states that the total tea production this year stood at 1,325.05 million kgs, a growth of 74.56 million kgs (6 per cent) year-on-year. In FY 2018, the industry also witnessed the highest exports till date. Total tea exports this year stood at 256.57 million kgs, an increase of 12.71 per cent year-on-year. Bhuman Dani and Shariq Ashraf, Co-Founder, The Good Life Company contends, “The specialty tea segment, which is your artisanal brands and house blends, stands at a turnover of INR 5,100 crore, growing at the rate of 12 per cent per annum, while CTC Tea is at INR 13,000 crore, growing at 3 per cent per annum.”