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Food Service Industry Updates

Sharing Recipes Can Help Your Business

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As food businesses adapt to COVID-19, they have adopted new ways of turning a profit. Surprisingly, one of those strategies involves teaching consumers how to make their primary products — from the safe sanctuary of their own homes.

ABC News recently reported that Teatotaller, a cafe in Somersworth, N.H., known for its French macarons and fresh Boba (bubble) tea, has utilized this strategy. The eatery, known for featuring the largest weekly teen drag show in the United States and being a stop for several 2020 presidential candidates, had to close due to the coronavirus.

This led owner Emmett Soldati to consider whether or not he would have to close his doors. “As a cafe that has drag shows, our model wasn’t built on takeout,” he told ABC. “You don’t get a fancy latte delivered to you, 30 minutes later, in a lukewarm cup.”

But Teatotaller has survived, thanks to its “Doorstep Boba” offering, where customers can order fresh tea that is delivered to their homes. The cafe also has tripled its revenues by selling DIY baking kits and offering live-streamed tutorials for beginner and intermediate bakers.

Another boba tea provider, RareTea, was forced to close 10 locations in California during the virus. But owner Tony Lei has persevered by teaching his clients to make the tea at home through an online book of simple recipes. “At the end of the day, if your recipes are way too complicated, no one wants to buy for the second time,” he told ABC.

Lei initially thought orders would not exceed more than 20 daily, but his business has grown to sell between 100 and 150 kits each day. The revenue from the kits, ABC reports, enabled Lei to offset his storefront and warehouse rent for now.

But another benefit of this approach is the enhancement of relationships with customers via the Internet. Soldati, who is investing in web design, video, marketing and social media, tells ABC that at first he thought the physical closure of his cafe would hurt the relationships he has developed with customers.

Instead, it had just the opposite effect. “What’s so interesting is when I’m behind the counter a couple months ago selling you a macaroon, I say, ‘Hey, here you go. Enjoy,’” he recalled to ABC. “I don’t know you are, I don’t know what other things you like. And this has been so wonderful to create personal connections.”

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