Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Exciting Changes

I have been a bit absent of late - I have 'written' lots of Blog posts in my head, but have not had chance to type them up.

The reason my mind has been elsewhere, is that from the beginning of next month I will be running my own tea room.  I have been working in a little tea room in the village since last year, as an opportunity has come up for me to take it over.

Not exactly what I had in mind in my career plan, but it could be good.

So I have been doing lots of planning and thinking about menus and advertising and all the other stuff I hadn't originally thought about - there was me thinking it would just be baking a few extra cakes.

I want to make this the best I can, so I would love some input - do you ever go to tea rooms/cafes etc?  What do you like/dislike about them?  What do you like to see on the menu?    And anything else you can think of that could perhaps help me.

Tonight I am going to be designing the new menu (in between a bit of blog reading).

This is not my tea room, but love the look of it......


  1. Hi Becky - often life has a way of just "putting" things in our path, and they are just what we should be doing, so grab it and good luck!
    We often visit tea rooms, but only if they have soya milk (it's available in small cartons and is long life). It's also really lovely to see something that is Gluten free on offer, and we always choose something that looks homemade (that's where all the flavour is!)

    Hope this helps!

    Ooh I also like it when there's interesting things to read, or giveaways like recipes...

    Fostermummy xx

  2. As I'm vegan, something that I could eat would be nice. When I was in the UK I visited a couple of tea rooms...they didn't have soy milk, also when everyone else was tucking into delicious cakes I sat with a sad looking black coffee.
    Can't wait to see pics of your tea's going to be brilliant!
    Jane x
    PS Once you are 'hot to trot' I'd be happy to do a link back to your place on a blog post.

  3. Hi Becki, how exciting! I occasionally go to tea rooms and I LOVE it when they have good selection of quality, homemade cute, handwritten signs with the flavours on! I may also like it when they have cute mismatched plates etc...but that is just aesthetics! Good quality coffee is also a must and for a reasonable amount as I think some places tend to charge quite a lot.

    For me personally, I also tend to think about where the food goes at the end of the day if they can't serve it the next day - the thought of it being thrown away tears me up. I don't know whether you are able to join up with a local food bank type charity to donate uneaten food each evening?

    Good luck with your venture - I'm really looking forward to reading about it!

    Philippa x

  4. Wow. That's so exciting! Amazing how things just crop up!

    The thing I like best about my local cafe is how they know my name, and are always very welcoming and cheerful. It's lovely!

    I would recommend having a couple of little cups of coloured pencils, and a colouring sheet with your cafe name on it. It will keep any littlies you have come entertained and improve the ambience ;) Mr A and I take the girls to one particular restaurant for dinner simply because they provide this - there are lots of other similar restaurants in the suburb but that's the differentiator for us. Also, having your name on the sheet the kids take home is cheap advertising! It won't cost much to implement, either.

    Best of luck! Please let us know how you go!

  5. Congratulations Becky! This is so exciting, go for it! For me homemade cakes (or ones that look like they are) at cafes are a winner. Good coffee is a must, ambiance & china that is not too worn or chipped also adds to the experience. The handwritten signs as mentioned by Philippa Jayne are a favourite of mine too. Small vintage glass vases on the tables with a fresh flower/s from the garden are cool too. We live in a town where Victorian Heritage is celebrated so there are many vintage touches in our cafes. Many also have art work for sale on the walls. My favourite place displays work by a single local artist for a month or two & then changes to another, like a mini exhibition.
    If the coffee culture is the same there as it is here, it is very important to have really good coffee - source the best beans you can. I have seen cafes here change hands & most probably the coffee & next thing you know they are almost out of business as the crowd moves on due to the coffee not being as good as it once was.
    Look after the locals as they are your bread & butter, although I am sure you know this already! Have all staff smiling & looking pleased to see the customers & with eye contact - I hate it when staff forget to actually look at me.
    I am really pleased for you & look forward to following your story :)
    Good Luck & Have Fun

  6. Oh wow how exciting for you. That's great news. As someone who runs their own business, one of the pieces of advice i have been given, is to visualise how you want the place to look, how you would be happy to run things and what you would like to see in there. All those little details are important.

    I like to go to cafe and tea rooms and like others have said, i love all the home made stuff especially the cakes and biscuits. I also love it when they have other food things on there, such as home made sandwiches. There is a place near to me which is very popular which does big thick doorstep style sandwiches and lovely toasted paninis, it's a tea room but caters for lots of people.

    Good luck with your new venture:-)

  7. How exciting. I too like mis-matched crockery. Homemade cakes, nice choices of sandwiches with a little side salad. Many tea rooms just don't have good enough tea in a teapot with a strainer. My all time favourite place is The Peacock Tea Rooms in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Their strongest tea is called builder's tea and is fantastic.

    They have books/magazines for people to read if they wish. You can buy their tea and coffee (to use at home), plus also take away slices of cakes etc. Good luck.

  8. Fab!!!

    I love tearooms.

    Fave tearoom things: Pretty china, flowers, comfy chairs and cosy surroundings, friendly staff, scones served with jams and clotted cream (never ever any other cream). A nice vegetarian choice of sandwiches or paninis especially if there is a nice goats cheese or brie and chutney on the menu. And good hot chocolate - never ever watery slop!!! And i am always impressed if there is a kids menu - small sandwiches (crusts on or off). Good luck!! xx

  9. That is so exciting! I agree mismatched but pastel porcelain looks lovely. Homemade cakes and just plain good old fashioned customer sevice make the whole experience so pleasurable.
    I went into a tea shop near me Saturday morning and had a pot of loose leaf tea with a bacon s/w - £7! I nearly had a coronary. Good luck! Can we come and have a bloggers visit "do"

  10. Congratulations Becky Bee!

    We've ran 2 part-time veggie community cafes - one up north with our kidlets & one here in our local village hall with friends. We loved it, but it's such hard work! We had lots of fun though & will no doubt do it again at some point...

    I think good coffee, a nice selection of decent teas & yummy cakes make a good tea room. Definitely do some vegan & gluten free cakes & snacks - I have lots of recipes... Home made bread or decent bakery bread is always good too.

    Hope it goes well!

    Kay :)

  11. We are tea room fans.

    My input would be:

    clean menus-I know this is a small point but if I'm handed a menu with food encrusted on it or stains it just puts me right off eating there. As does visiting the toilet and finding a grubby towel or no soap.

    On a different level I am a fan of bone china, pretty table cloths and sugar lumps (not sachets). It is about so much more than the food/drinks it's about creating an atmosphere.

    I don't know where you live but one of my favourites is Badgers Tea Room in Alfriston, East Sussex.

    If you are in the South of England/tourist area you can get away with charging higher prices.

    I think 'meal deals' in Tea rooms work-Badgers has 3 Breakfast menu options.

    This is such a fantastic opportunity for you!

    Good luck, can't wait to hear more.

    Sft x

  12. I have been following you for a while but never commented - hope you don't mind my input. I would love to do something like this!! I haven't got time to read the other comments at the moment - so forgive me if I've repeated anyone else's advice. The couple of things that spring to mind immediately are: please don't put mayo on every sandwich - my mum hates it and you wouldnt believe how hard we find it sometimes to sit and have a sandwich somewhere.also much prefer lattes to be served in a cup and not a glass!! And it's always lovely to get a little biscuit or truffle on the side. Probably loads more I could say - will have a think!!!

    Good luck!! How exciting!!!

    Lisa F xx

  13. How exciting & lovely to. If I go to a tearoom. I think blackboards with the menu chalked on look lovely. Tea in a cup & saucer is lovely especially with a teeny tiny biscuit on the side (like the do in M&S cafe!). Glass cloches with lovely cakes inside. The sound of the coffee machine adds to the atmosphere along with the smell of the coffee to!.Enough room between tables to move is good as sometimes I wont go in to a place that is to on top of each other especially if backs of chairs back on to the person behind. Classical music playing softly in the background adding to the calmness. Hope that helps! Cant wait to hear how it goes x x