I have found a fabulous venue and am now perfecting the menu. Any comments or suggestions welcome. I like to be a bit quirky so please bear with me. Having never done this before, I am interested in constructive criticism and ideas. I am thinking of asking for a donation of £8.
Sandwich Platter with Seasonal Salad Garnish and Vegetable Crisps
Organic cucumber and Okehampton pink peppercorn cream cheese
Home-baked ham and pear pickle
Trio of Savoury Mini Scones served with homemade butter, Cornish Wild Garlic Yarg and a Selection of Chutneys
Parmesan and Pesto, Parsnip and Maple, Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper
Trio of Sweet Scones served with Local Clotted Cream, Homemade Preserve and Summer Berries
Lavender and Lemon, Delicate Rose and Almond, Traditional Fruit
Choice of Delightful Cupcakes, Tarts and Seasonal Fruit Jellies
Home-made Cordial or Chocolate Milk on Arrival and During Tea
Selection of loose leaf Afternoon teas
So what do you think? Too crazy? I love the mix of flavours but maybe people would appreciate a more normal menu?
Sounds wonderfull when and where will it be
Hello Gerald, the first event is on 11th August at 2pm. The location is disclosed upon booking and will be in South Tawton. There is also a folk festival there that weekend so lots to do and see. You would be most welcome to join us if you are in our neck of the woods. No end time as we hate to think people would be rushed, just a relaxing and entertaining afternoon.
I think your menu sounds amazing. £8...will that even cover your costs?
Don't under value yourself and what you are doing. Would a high street tea room charge £8 for all the above? Maybe do a cheap one the first time but really the minimum for what you are offering is £20 I'd say.
Hi. I think your menu sounds really interesting and definitely captured my imagination. It is good to be unique and I think that is what people are looking for in a secret event. Is £8 enough, how many people are you thinking of? I am setting up a secret tea room in Derbyshire and I've looked at all my costs and I know its not easy knowing what donation to ask for? Good luck!
Thanks for the comments. I have asked for a donation of £10 now and arranged it so that it can be booked in advance with the booking systrem recommended on here. I've been quite canny and secured the use of the hall free (I don't have room in my home) in return for the extra £2 per head going to the charity that owns the building. This works on two levels, firstly it gives me a venue and secondly it gives me certain advertising and hopefully bookings from their usual supporters.
Second thing I did was to get onto twitter and look up anyone local then see if they grow anything, own a shop or farm or anything that could be supportive. I really, really love good local networking but am new to Devon and as an 'outsider' here it is difficult, even more so that I cannot drive and live on Dartmoor. Hmmm. Not my most sensible move!
I've secured a deal with local producers. My ham is coming at reduced cost from the local farm, my dairy products and cheese are all coming from a local charity (Gillead Foundation and they have the most wonderful double yolk eggs that the supermarket wont take at a whole tray for £3.50 delivered!), my fruit for my jam is donated from the local pick-your-own etc etc. My costs are not very high.
My other BIG issue here until I get a name for myself is the competition. Devon cream teas are sold at almost every lamp post. Not always good ones either! You can get an afternoon tea at the very posh Borringdon Hall at £12 for two people and includes sarnies, cakes, cream scones and the teapot re-filled as much as you like. People down here need to know what the difference is before they will buy and I need to find the people that care about their food enough to appreciate the difference. This is proving difficult as the local economy here is miserable. Okehampton had two main employers and both closed down last year. Farmers down here are really struggling, it is horrible to watch local shop after shop closing. I aim to promote people to spend a little more but spend it locally and support the things we have left before they too vanish. Not sure quite how entertaining a few people with nice food does this but it is a good ethos and i'm sticking to it.
The economy includes me. I am freelance and have had nothing in ages. I'd love to open a tearoom one day, the dream is there but for now, I can't even get on the property ladder and this lovely hobby keeps me happy and sane, gets me to know people here and best of all I get to cook. :)
Phew, that was an essay! Sorry. x
This sounds really lovely and I think that you're very lucky with the deals you have managed to establish with the local producers and also with getting a location. Social Media is a great way to promote yourself so I'd definitely suggest pushing yourself on Twitter and getting a facebook page. The menu sounds fab so all the best with it all :)
So far no bookings. Locally it is a nightmare promoting it as there are so many cafes round here that sell tea cheaply. I knew price would be an issue but hopefully we'll get a booking soon. Even one would be nice! If not then I shall just try again in Sep.
I know what you mean about difficulty in getting bookings but I have come home to an email where someone wants to book for an afternoon tea on 22 September, very exciting. I am due to hold my first afternoon tea on 25 August but so far no-one has booked so will keep my fingers crossed for you:)
Woohooo for the booking! I have spent the day networking online and in person with a load of postcards. Hopefully they will work. We'll see. :)
Thank you. I've just placed leaflets in the tourist info and the hotels round here in their leaflet racks. I have it in my diary to check them each week over summer in case they run out. Also placed cards in the deli, butcher etc. Our local paper wont do a press release as they feel it betrays the cafes that pay for advertising! Drives me nuts, this area is so against anything that they feel threatens the big shops, hence few little suppliers ever get heard of. I am off to the organic farm today as they struggle too and between us all we can network to our target market effectively if we all work together. I doubt i'll have many in Aug but aim to keep going and make the autumn and winter menus seasonal and exciting for foodies. I'm thinking chestnut scones and lovely soups.
Thank you, grabbing a pear juice and a snack and will sit down for a read. No bookings yet :(