Monthly Archives: February 2017

  1. Food-Borne Illness may get the Big Data Treatment

    index We’ve talked about some of the safety measures that can be taken to prevent food-borne illness. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at this from another angle. What if there are restaurants out there who have been spreading food-borne illness and it doesn’t get reported?

    Most of the time food-borne illness doesn’t get reported. It’s a rare case that salmonella will be cause to hospitalize – most people simply take it as the price of playing the game and don’t bother going to a doctor about it. Even though it doesn’t become a ‘newsworthy’ event, it should still be of concern to health inspectors.

    Let’s bring in big data and machine learning. What if there could be a system that pinpoints restaurants for health inspectors to take a look at? The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) has brought something new to the playing field.

    Now, there’s a big chance that people won’t talk about their illness to an epidemiologist or a doctor. They will, however, talk about being sick and where they ate on Twitter. Scientists at AAAI developed an application where they could scan all of the tweets in a localized area and track them back to potential food poisoning outbreaks.

    These tweets were pretty useful, too. Using this system (nEmesis), they were able to identify more restaurants who had health violations, keeping people safe. “nEmesis has proved to be a useful tool for quickly and accurately identifying facilities in need of support, education, or regulation by the health department.”

    This approach could potentially be applied to all kinds of health problems, and it could be eventually used to help those who might want to market their restaurants. Imagine, if you will, a system which automatically sent a tweet to someone in the area who said that they wanted a specific type of food. That kind of timely information could definitely drive sales, and keep those charbroilers running.

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  2. Seven Tasty Food Photography Tips

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    Reposted from our friends at Toast - who have all your POS needs covered!

    We’ve all heard it countless times; a picture's worth a thousand words.

    And with limited space for long descriptions on your menu, good restaurant food photography deserves its seat at the table. Food photography can be used for enhancing menus, improving restaurant social media accounts, advertisements, and more!

    You might not need to hire a professional photographer to start capturing those mouth-watering menu offerings. Below are a few tips and tricks to photograph your food like a professional.

    Tip #1: Use Natural Lighting (And Please, No Flash)

    Most restaurants have windows. Most windows have an abundance of natural light. Natural light is one of the most sought after resources for a photographer, especially when it comes to food photography.

    More often than not, all you need is a single source of light. Lighting that comes from the back or side usually creates the best illumination of the food while mitigating shadows and highlighting the texture of the ingredients.

    On a similar note, never use flash. “Flash photos of food create harsh reflections and glare as well as funny-looking fall-off — your food looks like it's floating in space,” according to Serious Eats.

    Keep your food on earth and don't use flash.

    Tip #2: Keep it Simple

    The most effective food photography is often the simplest: close-up shots of the food itself to show off exactly that - the food itself. Plain backgrounds and tables are favorable over patterns. The less ingredients and congestion on the plate the better. People viewing food photography like to be able to simply identify what the food is. With the focus on the food, the outlying background shouldn’t detract from the ingredients.

    Tip #3: Post Photos on Your Social Media Accounts

    One of the more recent trends in social media is for people to post pictures of their food. We all love to admire and salivate over the marvelous creations of chefs in restaurants. Those can come from both the consumers or the restaurants themselves.

    For social media users to easily scroll through feeds of similar concepts, hashtags are the way to go. Incorporating hashtags is important if you’re trying to grow your follower base with your delicious-looking food photography. According to “A Field Guide to Instagram Food Hashtags” on First We Feast, the following are the most popular food hashtags:

    #foodie (47 million images); often paired with #picoftheday
    #foodporn (140 million images); often paired with #amazing and #manvsfood
    #nom or #nomnom or #nomnomnom (you get the point) (20 million images); a majority of females are using this hashtag, and it is often paired with desserts such as cupcakes and ice cream

    Tip #4: Add a Bit of Oil or a Spritz of Water

    We know your ingredients are fresh, but that doesn’t always translate perfectly to the camera. To make your salads or vegetables look fresh and zesty, add a splash of oil or spray with water to give them a glean. The oil or water will highlight them in all the right places to show off the freshness.

    Tip #5: Incorporate Simple Photography Techniques

    Some of the most basic principles of photography come in handy when talking specifically about food photography. Depth of field and rule of thirds are two that come to mind first.

    Depth of field refers to the range of distance that is in focus in a photograph. It is a commonly used photography technique because it draws the eyes to focus on the important area of the photograph. This technique can be used when you want to have a small focal point in the picture. For instance, if you’re baking a batch of cupcakes or muffins, this would be perfect.

    Rule of thirds is another important concept in food photography. Photos are more appealing when the subject in place not directly in the center of the photograph, but instead in one of the “thirds” of the shot.

    The best part about rule of thirds is how simple it is. To start using this technique, simply divide the photograph up into three horizontal and three vertical sections. The subject (or main focus) of the photograph should be place in one of the intersections of divisions, outside of the center.

    Your photos will seem much more compelling if you start employing these two food photography concepts.

    Tip #6: Mix up the Angle of the Photo

    Not all foods are created equal. That’s why some foods look better in certain angles and positions than others.

    According to the Digital Photography School, “some dishes look great when you shoot from right in front of the food, and others are best suited when the you are looking down from directly above the table.”

    For flat food, try an above shot (like for pizza). Comparatively, burgers look better from the side, so you can see all of the layers of juicy ingredients. Drinks, on the other hand, look good from 45 degree angles.

    Tip #7: Make Sure Plates are Clean and Your Background is Neat

    This might go without saying, but the cleanliness of the plate goes a long way in food photography. Any slight smudge or stray ingredient can detract from the main focus of the image. That’s why some of the most famous food photographers use tweezers when handling and placing food on a place.

    Similarly, plain backgrounds are best used to not distract from the food. The most popular food photography backgrounds are dark backgrounds, light backgrounds, and wood. A neutral background doesn’t have to be completely plain, but it shouldn’t detract from the main subject of the photo.

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  3. Starting Your New Restaurant: Advice to Get you going

    seamless panorama of restaurant bar interior made by tilt shift lens

    Thinking of starting a new restaurant? Good for you. You have a lot of decisions ahead. Come to us for all the equipment you need at the best possible prices, and check out this information to get started.

    Here are some best practices for you:

    • Make sure that you keep your opening costs to a minimum. If you’re new at the game, you might find that the items you believe right now aren’t actually necessary. That keeps more money in the coffers for the other things that you need to stock your restaurant with.
    • Don’t put all of your eggs into the restaurant basket, as you might not actually start making money from the place until several years into the venture. Make sure that your partner isn’t involved so you are able to eat during the ramp-up period.
    • Take some time and schedule out some planned breaks from the restaurant. The vacation will do you good – so that will keep you fresh for serving and making sure that your customers are doing well.

     

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  4. Seven Restaurant Performance Metrics

    Finance Post Digital Device Internet Wireless Searching Concept

    Reprinted with permission from Toast - where you can find the best POS and management software for your restaurant.

    If you’re a restaurant or foodservice business owner, there are certain metrics you need to track and evaluate over time to understand the health of your business. By regularly calculating performance metrics, restaurant owners can catch negative trends and identify areas that require improvement.

    Increasing a business's efficiency and profitability doesn't happen overnight. There are so many moving parts involved in operating a restaurant - so many different costs and revenue channels and factors that ultimately influence net profit or loss - that you cannot simply expect to make one change and see all operations and margins improve.

    Instead, operating a profitable enterprise requires constant tinkering and testing until you find the best practices for your business.

    This article identifies seven key metrics restaurant owners should track regularly and how to calculate each of them.

    1) Break Even Point

    Your break even point is one of the first numbers you should calculate. This number lets you pinpoint how much you must do in sales to earn back an investment. The number can then be used to forecast how long it will take to earn that money back. Break even is a must-have if you're looking for investors or opening a new restaurant.

    You can also use break even to justify a new big purchase, like a commercial kitchen redesign or launching a new marketing campaign. Saying something will cost $20,000 is one thing, but saying it will pay for itself in 3 months is a better way to put that number in perspective.

    Calculating Break Even Point

    If your restaurant does $10,000 in sales one month, pays $3,000 in variable costs, and $4,000 in fixed costs, your break even point in dollars is $5,714.29 for that month, meaning that you start earning profit after selling $5,714.29 worth of food & drink.

    The equation for break even point is:

    Total Fixed Costs ÷ ( (Total Sales - Total Variable Costs) / Total Sales) = Break Even Point

    In this scenario, $10,000 - $3,000 (sales minus variable cost) equals $7,000. $7,000 / $10,000 = $7, and $4,000 (fixed costs) divided by $7 gives you $5,714.29.

    2) Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

    Cost of Goods Sold refers to the cost required to create each of the food and beverage items that you sell to guests. In this way, COGS is really just a representation of your restaurant’s inventory during a specific time period. In order to calculate COGS, you need to record inventory levels at the beginning and end of a given period of time, and any additional inventory purchases.

    It is important to track COGS because it is typically one of the largest expenses for restaurants. By finding ways to minimize the cost, like negotiating better rates with your food distributor or selecting in-season ingredients, it's possible to significantly increase margins. Every dollar you shave off COGS is another dollar added to the restaurant’s gross profit.

    Calculating COGS

    If you have $5,000 worth of inventory at the beginning of the month, you purchase another $2,000 during the month, and end the month with $4,000 worth of inventory left over, your cost of goods sold for that month is $5,000 (beginning inventory) + $2,000 (purchased inventory) - $4,000 (final inventory) = $3,000.

    The equation for COGS is:

    Beginning Inventory + Purchased Inventory - Final Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

    3) Overhead Rate

    Fixed costs are good to know because they are straightforward. One bill, one price. But wouldn't it be helpful to know how much those fixed costs are on an hour-by-hour or day-by-day basis? Overhead rate is a form of cost accounting that helps you understand how much it costs to run your restaurant when looking only at fixed costs.

    Calculating Restaurant Overhead Rate

    Let's say your fixed costs for the month were $10,000 total. If your restaurant is open 80 hours per week in a 31-day month. Assuming you are open every day, your overhead rate would be $28.23 per hour and $322.58 per day. However, these numbers would go up if you were calculating for a shorter month, like the 28-day February, because you are allocating the same amount of money over fewer working hours. In that case, costs would go up to $31.25 and $357.14 per hour and day, respectively.

    The equation for overhead rate is:

    Total Indirect (Fixed) Costs / Total Amount of Hours Open = Overhead Rate

    4) Prime Cost

    A restaurant’s prime cost is the sum of all of its labor costs (salaried, hourly, benefits, etc.) and its COGS. Typically, a restaurants prime cost makes up about 60% of its total sales. Prime cost is an important metric because it represents the bulk of a restaurant’s controllable expenses. While you can't control fixed rent costs on a weekly or monthly basis, for instance, you can find ways to decrease prime costs by managing labor carefully. Thus, a restaurant’s prime costs represent the primary area a restaurant owner can optimize in order to decrease costs and increase profit.

    Calculating Prime Cost

    Now that you know how to calculate COGS, calculating prime cost is straightforward. Add up all of your various labor-related costs. These costs include salaried labor, hourly wages, payroll tax, and benefits. Then, simply add the sum of your labor costs and your COGS to find your restaurant’s prime cost.

    The equation for prime cost is:

    Labor + COGS = Prime Cost

    5) Food Cost Percentage

    Food cost percentage represents the difference between the cost of creating a specific menu item (the cost of all of the ingredients in a dish) and the selling price of that item.

    Calculating Food Cost Percentage

    If it costs $3.28 to prepare your salmon dish and you sell it for $15, your food cost percentage would be 21.9%. Although it depends on the novelty aspects of your dish, your guests’ expectations, and your restaurant’s service type, typically a restaurants food cost percentage should be between 25-35%. You can calculate your food cost percentage for all goods sold by dividing your total food costs by your total sales during a set time period. If you understand your food cost percentage for each of your menu items, you can choose to upsell or design your menu to promote the items that contribute the most to your revenue and bottom line.

    The equation for food cost percentage is:

    Food Cost / Total Sales = Food Cost Percentage

    6) Gross Profit

    Gross profit shows the profit a restaurant makes after accounting for its cost of goods sold. The resulting gross profit represents the money available to put towards paying off fixed expenses and profit. To calculate gross profit, subtract the total cost of goods sold during a specific time period from your total revenue (the total sales of food, beverages, and merchandise).

    Calculating Gross Profit

    If a restaurant's total sales number for the month is $15,107 and its cost of goods sold is $5,293, the restaurant's gross profit for the month is equal to $15,107 (total sales) - $5,293 (COGS) or $9,814.

    The equation for gross profit is:

    Total Sales - COGS = Gross Profit

    7) Employee Turnover Rate

    Turnover rate is the percentage of employees that leave or are fired that need to be replaced during a specific time period. The restaurant industry has a notoriously high employee turnover rate compared to all other industry segments. In the fast-paced foodservice environment, high employee turnover can hurt operational efficiency and require a lot of time and attention to get new hires up to speed.

    How to calculate employee turnover rate:

    Start by adding the total number of employees at the beginning and end of a given period of time. Then, divide the sum by 2 to find the average number of employees during the set period. Take the difference between the number of employees at the beginning and end of the set time frame and divide the number of employees who left by the average number of employees.

    The equation for employee turnover rate is:

    (Starting Number of Employees + Ending Number of Employees) / 2 = Average Number of Employees

    Lost Employees / Average Number of Employees = Employee Turnover

    If you have 10 employees at the beginning of a given month and 8 at the end the equation would look as follows:

    (10 + 8) / 2 = 9

    2 / 9 = .222

    To calculate turnover rate, simply multiply the quotient (.222) by 100 to get the turnover percentage. So, in this example, the turnover rate is .222 * 100 or 22.2%.

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  5. Live Music to Liven Up Your Restaurant

    Man plays the guitar
    One of the best ways you can bring in more customers and revenue is by hosting live music events at your restaurant or bar. While giving a reboot to your atmosphere, good live music can help encourage your customers to stay longer and spend more money. You also have more potential for new customers as the music wafting out your door onto the street lures in those passing by as well as the possibility of drawing in fans of the local bands you hire. So there are lots of advantages to making music part of your scene.
    But, while it may seem easy to find a band and book them for your successful and lucrative live music nights, without planning or knowledge, you could end up driving customers away or getting into legal trouble.
    First, you have to get your space and business ready for live performance. You need to ensure you have mapped out an ample floor space where the band can perform but will not be in the way of your patrons or staff. You should also make sure you have a decent lighting and sound set up, and that the noise from the music will not disturb neighboring businesses of violate local noise ordinances. As far as the legal end, you need to make sure you have a valid music license for live music and that your insurance covers the musicians. Finally, make sure you set a budget that accommodates the band you want to book. Artists need to make a living too.
    When you go to select a band, musician, or artist to perform, make sure to research them. Even consider going to check them out yourself first. You should also check out their social media and see what kind of following they have. Local bands are a great target because they will be a bit cheaper and eager to cross promote as they are growing their following in the community. But make sure that they understand you are expecting them to show up, act professionally, and deliver what your customers want.
    Make sure you have a clear contract that is signed and agreed upon by all parties. And keep in contact with the band’s manager throughout the night to address any issues that may come up so that they may be dealt with quickly and keep everyone in the agreement happy.
    It is also important to pick live music that fits your current clientele and venue. The genre of the music should be a good match to the personality of your restaurant. For example, if you have an upscale restaurant where people enjoy a several course meal, you may not want a loud, rowdy rock band that may be better for a bar setting. And consider the general age of the crowd you draw and try to make sure that the music you select is what they would listen to.
    For some venues, it may be a good idea to charge a reasonable cover at the door on the nights that live music is happening. But always make sure to let the press and promoters in for free.
    Remember, if the band gets a review in the paper, your venue will get a nice mention too!
    While there may be many things to do when starting to book live music at your venue, it will most definitely be worth it financially in the end and the process will definitely become easier once you get through the first few events and get on the map as a music venue restaurant!
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  6. How to Set up and Manage Your Event on Facebook

    black hog beer dinner (9 of 1)
    Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. And Facebook events are a great way to spread your restaurants brand and get new and returning customers’s attention. Plus, most people have Facebook events connected to their smartphones so it is an easy way to ensure that your events are in your customers calendars.
    Here are some tips to get the most out of Facebook events and get people to attend yours!
    1. Name Your Event
    Your event should have an official and unique name. Don’t just say “Happy Hour.” Have the name include the theme, the holiday, or a clever pun name and always include your restaurant’s name in the event. This will help your event stand out and be talked about.a
    1. Write a Clear Description
    Your description of the event is where you give the important details and information like pricing, special guests, schedule, and food and drink specials. This is a great opportunity to market with clever copywriting to get the customers interested.
    1. Use an Eye-Catching Event Photo or Graphic
    The image that people see should be captivating enough to compel customers to come before they even read about the event. This image should also clearly express the purpose of the event while also carrying your restaurant’s branding and logo. Since this image is used in several sections of Facebook, make sure it is also an image that looks great even when resized. This image should not just be used on Facebook, but should be the same branding and advertising you are using other places as well including posters, postcards, ads, etc. You want this image to become immediately recognizable to your customers and associated with this event.
    1. Use Keywords for Tags
    You can optimize your Facebook Event by including relevant keywords in the tags section. Don’t limit yourself to just branded keywords. For example, if your event includes live music, use the genre of the music as a tag.
    1. Let and Encourage People to Post on the Event Wall
    When creating a public event, you want to make sure that not only the host can post. Make sure to leave that box unchecked when setting up the event. The more active the event looks, the more excited people will be to attend. Having a public wall also allows you the organizer to answer questions and address concerns. You can also post updates and reminders here.
    1. Set an End Time for Your Event
    This is important and often overlooked but it helps your customers plan.
    1. Run Facebook Ads
    Getting people to find out about your event is sometimes a struggle so Facebook Ads allow you to easily, effectively, and cheaply promote your events. This extra reach also helps you spread awareness of your restaurant and event beyond your current customers.
    1. The Earlier the Better
    The earlier you get an event up on Facebook, the more time you can promote it and let Facebook do its job of helping you spread the word. It also allows your customers a chance to plan and make your event their priority.
    1. Create a Sense of Urgency
    People love special deals, so consider having benefits, discounts, or freebies for early RSVPs or committed reservations. This is a great tactic to ensure excitement for your event.
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  7. Cheers To Ginger Beer!

    Refreshing Golden Ginger Beer

    Over the past couple of years ginger beer has been popping up on drink menus everywhere. Its natural refreshing flavor & hint of spice make it a versatile go-to mixer.

    Below are 3 ginger beer cocktail recipes. They’re easy, delicious & so refreshing. That first drink will go down so easy & leave you wanting more.

    PINEAPPLE MOSCOW MULE

    Ingredients:

    1.5 ounces vodka
    1 ounce lime juice
    1 ounce pineapple juice
    3 ounces ginger beer
    3 dashes Angostura bitters
    1 mint sprig
    1 pineapple slice
    2 cups ice

    Instructions:

    Add vodka, lime and pineapple juices in a cocktail shaker and shake to combine ingredients. Strain into copper mule mug filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Add 3 dashes of angostura bitters and garnish with a pineapple slice and mint sprig.

    APPLE CIDER GINGER BEER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients:

    4 oz apple cider
    1.5 oz vodka
    1 can/bottle ginger beer
    cinnamon sticks & apple slices
    1 cup ice

    Instructions:

    Fill your glass with ice & store in freezer to chill while drink is prepped. Pour vodka and apple cider into a jar and stir. Pour mixture into chilled glass and top off with ginger beer. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, apples & a dash of ground cinnamon.

    GINGER BEER MARGARITA 

    Ingredients:  

    10 oz silver tequila
    36 oz ginger beer
    2 cups of ice
    1 tsp agave nectar
    Juice of 2.5 limes

    Instructions:

    In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice and agave nectar until the agave dissolves. Add lime/agave mixture, tequila & ginger beer into a pitcher and stir well. Add ice and stir until drink is cold. Garnish glasses with lime wheel and salted (or sugared) rim.

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  8. To Open or Close on a Snowy Day?

    Close-up as man shovels snow

    If you live anywhere in the north of the US (or occasionally ... even in the south), you can expect a couple days and nights of snow, snow, and yet more snow. Large snowstorms and blizzards can make for terrible driving conditions, which poses a dilemma for restaurant owners - to close or stay open? Here's some factors to weight in when making your decision:

    Check the weather early and often to plan ahead. Even with the most advanced satellite technology, large storm patterns are notoriously unpredictable and can change at the drop of a hat. If you have a large event planned, it's probably smart just to cancel it all together, and give your customers advance notice that you are doing so. Typically, large storms can be tracked with a decent degree of accuracy 3-4 days in advance, so you can start planning early, cancel large events and reschedule, and also communicate with all of your staff to ensure they can make it in safely.

    Staff safety is, of course, a large concern for you and your management team. If you have employees who live closer by to your establishment, ask them - with a couple days advance notice - to swap shifts with employees with longer commutes. This cuts down on dangerous driving conditions, especially late at night, for your staff as they try to leave work. Communicate with your management team and ensure that they know to tell servers, line cooks, and everyone else scheduled to let them know if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe commuting. Chances are you'll be slow, so less staff means less overhead.

    Speaking of - is it worth it to stay open? This depends largely on your customers. Pay attention to their habits and react accordingly. If you're in a walkable, metropolitan area, they may welcome the chance to spend their snow day with you. If you're in a more remote location, however, is it really worth staying open for just a couple customers? Probably not - but look at sales from previous 'bad weather' days when making your call.

    Regardless of whether you stay open or closed, let everyone know your plans (and if they plans change). Social media is a great tool to communicate with your customers, and most of them will think to check it (or call ahead) before heading out in bad weather. Update your website as well, and perhaps, send out a quick e blast. If you're closed, the last thing you want is people driving or walking up to bang on your door and find out in person in dark, cold conditions. If you are open, you of course want to attract as many customers as possible, so letting people know that you are operational is equally important.

    Last, don't be afraid to play things by ear. If the weather conditions change drastically, if your staff is unable to make it in, or if the storm blows over sooner than expected, switch things up and open or close accordingly. If you are open, plan some fun specials or offer all day happy hour to entice people to come on down and stay for a while. Chances are they will be drinking too, so drink specials in particular are appreciated.

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  9. Spring Into a New Season At Your Restaurant

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    As the days grow a bit longer and the weather a bit warmer, it is a great time to lure your customers out of hibernation with some fresh changes that reflect the transition into spring.
    At the bar, start with your cocktail menu by changing up your flavor enhancers that will set you apart with drinks that are as fresh as the new season. Try new mixes with Mezcal, cucumbers, orgeat, fresh fruit, honey, and peat for cocktails that are like a bouquet of spring flowers.
    And while you are at, try getting some new and interesting versions of classic glassware. Think of this as dressing up for in the new fashions of the season. And don’t forget how simple it is to let spring in by just putting vases of blooming flowers on the tables. Your customers will definitely notice and feel inspired.
    With spring and inspiration, also comes the desire for most people to start gravitating towards a healthier lifestyle. Customers will embrace having less rich, heavy, comfort food and be delighted to find light, healthy dishes filled with vegetables. This may be a great time to connect with local farmers about collaborating to provide local, farm fresh seasonal dishes. You don’t have to overhaul your whole menu, featuring dishes that are vegetable heavy or adding one new feature will go a long way.
    Bringing the garden into your restaurant doesn’t have to stop at vegetables, a great way to make it an early spring is to elegantly garnish cocktails, main dishes, and desserts with beautiful edible flowers such as marigolds, orchids, violets.
    As you are sneaking these spring touches into your restaurant, go ahead and let everyone know about! Now is a great time to create special events such as “Spring Fever Happy Hours” or “Garden Fresh Lunches” to get your customers excited. And while the spring holidays don’t have the large group and marketing buzz of the holiday season, Easter and Mother’s Day are wonderful holidays to plan special prix fix dinners and brunches around.
    Spring evokes newness, light, happiness, and freshness so play with those in your marketing and concepts and take advantage of that imagery to create unique and fun marketing to get customers new and old to warm up to you and the warmer sunshine.

     

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  10. Tea Party Tips: How to Host The Perfect Teatime

    Tea party and buns

    Tea parties aren’t just for little kids. It can be fun way to get together with friends, relax & enjoy life at a slower pace. With the right food, drinks & decor your tea party will be a hit! Below are some simple tips on how to host a fabulous teatime.

    1.) PREPPING THE MENU

    A tea party requires two basic things, tasty treats & tea of course. Foods offered can be simple like, tea sandwiches, bite sized quiches, fruit & cheese, scones, macrons, cupcakes…the choice is up to you!

    For tea, serve something special. Don’t just open a box of everyday teabags they can get at the grocery store. Instead opt for loose leaf tea. The flavor will be richer, more complex and unique (and impress your guests!) Serve a few different types of tea so guests have a variety to pick from. Provide condiments like honey, sugar, & milk for guests that like to jazz up their tea.

    2.) INVITATIONS

    Get creative and DIY. If crafting isn’t your thing, then look for customizable ones online like Etsy. Send out invites early to give your guests plenty of notice. And let them know if there’s a dress-code. Traditionally tea parties require classy attire & elegant hats, but decide if you want your’s to be fancy or casual!

    3.) TABLE SETTING & SUPPLIES

    Don’t feel pressured to serve tea in a matching china set. Visit your local thrift store & stock up on unique tea cups & tea pots. Whatever style you decide on, just be sure that the patterns, shapes, colors compliment each other. Decorate the table with fresh flowers, dollies & fun colored napkins. Food can be served on a separate buffet table or where guests will be seating. Decide what will work best for how many guests you’re expecting & the types of food you’re serving.

    Lastly, remember it’s your party, so add whatever unique touches you’d like. The goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where guests can unwind, chat, and enjoy the afternoon together.

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