How to open a tea room

Written by liza hollis
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Tea rooms are an exciting choice for those considering opening their own business. Tea rooms are celebrated for their classic appeal, but that doesn't mean you can't offer a tea room with a modern twist. These businesses have such wide appeal because they are perfect for special events, casual lunches or formal gatherings. To open your own tea room, you'll need to do plenty of research—and this will help you create an exciting and profitable business.

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  1. 1

    Visit other tea rooms in your desired area and note their menu, decor, pricing and staff. Also become exceedingly familiar with your product. You need to be able to offer your customers something better than what they are used to. Make it easy for them to choose you over the competition.

  2. 2

    Choose your location. To pick the perfect location, consider the needs of your chosen clientele. Just because you start a business 5 minutes away from your own doorstep doesn’t mean it is convenient to anyone else or has the potential profitability other areas offer. Determine the cost of spaces in various locations to asess what is reasonable and decide what you can afford.

  3. 3

    Plan out your budget and needs. List all of your expenses, including equipment costs, rent costs, staffing costs and marketing costs per month. Also factor your own personal expenses into the budget, enough to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. This will help you determine how much to charge to break even and to make a profit.

  4. 4

    Formulate a business plan based on your research and needs. With the research and budgeting information you've assembled, draw up a thorough business plan. Include your objective, goals, design specs, expenses and other aspects of your business. When it comes to starting your business, this document will be your bible. Plan for the unexpected with your business plan. You will likely incur expenses you never could have anticipated.

  5. 5

    Consider your funding options. You'll need capital to get your business off the ground. If you can’t afford to pay for it all out of pocket (and this is common), consider taking out loans for your business. The amount you need should be outlined in your business plan, but you will need to find a bank or other lending organisation to get your start-up capital. Friends and family members can be another financial resource. Outline payment obligations to them as you would with any other loan to preserve healthy relationships with your benefactors.

  6. 6

    Purchase your equipment. Your business plan should list the equipment you need, such as kettles, tea cups, ovens, stoves, dishwashers and sinks. How much equipment you need will depend on how much you plan to offer. Your business plan will guide you through this part of the process.

  7. 7

    Design your space. Tea rooms are known for their classy style. It doesn’t matter which aesthetic you choose specifically (traditional, antique, shabby chic, or hip and modern). More important is creating an atmosphere. Your customers will be paying for the experience. Keep this in mind when creating your space.

  8. 8

    Hire a knowledgeable and courteous staff. So much of owning a tea room is about creating an ambience. You want your guests to be comfortable, but you also want to make them feel a bit special. Hire staff members who will be informative and make customers feel well-tended and appreciated.

  9. 9

    Market yourself. This is one of the most important aspects of owning a small business, yet one of the most overlooked. Get your customers in the door by handing out flyers, airing TV and radio commercials, and taking out newspaper ads. Get creative with your advertising and offer incentives to encourage people to come in.

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