The pandemic has changed the way many Americans look at health, and that might be one of the reasons consumers are gravitating toward tea: Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, trailing only water according to the US Tea Association. With noted health benefits and broad appeal, tea is helping operators achieve sales at a time when they need it most.
“If you’re using a high-quality tea it’s going to attract all different types of diners,” says Emily Wood Bowron, vice president of strategic marketing at Red Diamond Coffee and Tea. “Taste is king for everyone, but millennials especially enjoy knowing that tea is also good for them. For the older generations, there’s a mental clarity component offered by the antioxidants and caffeine—tea is also even shown to reduce the risk of certain diseases.”
But tea isn’t just healthy and popular, it’s also a versatile menu item that is helping operators surge back toward profitability. With diners having an expectation for a wide variety of beverages and elements of personal customization, tea has a lot to offer. It can be served hot or cold, with or without sweetener. In fact, in a testament to one form of tea that’s been especially popular of late, Datassential reports that unsweetened iced tea grew 350 percent on menus from 2019 to 2020.
“As operators try to streamline offerings, tea is an easy choice to keep on the menu,” Bowron says. “At its most basic, tea is a flavorful and healthy beverage that is an upsell from water. On top of that, consider a Red Diamond four-ounce premium tea. It can be used to create unsweetened iced tea, sweet tea, a mocktail, or even leveraged to flavor things like Sweet Tea Barbecue Chicken.”
One of the biggest challenges for operators this year has been finding ways to sell beverages to off-premises customers. Some brands have gotten creative in bundling iced tea in gallon jugs to be paired with a family-style meal. This is something Bowron and her team at Red Diamond have encouraged operators to do, and it’s one of the things operators like most about working with Red Diamond as a vendor.
“It’s not just that we have a really high-quality product, but we also look for ways to become an asset to your operation with our knowledge, recipes, and ideas,” Bowron says. “We get that this is the service industry, and we look for ways to help operators continue to find a balance in serving the consumer the best they can with what is most efficient for the operation. We want to make our customers’ lives easier and their restaurants more profitable, and we see menuing tea as a great way to do that.”
To find out more about the second most popular beverage in the world, visit reddiamondbevservice.com.