EXCLUSIVE: Turnover hike at Bettys in spite of challenging market

Natasha Ralston. She's pictured in the Imperial Room at Bettys Caf� Tea Rooms, Harrogate.
Natasha Ralston. She's pictured in the Imperial Room at Bettys Caf� Tea Rooms, Harrogate.

Iconic Yorkshire brand Bettys & Taylor’s Group grew its turnover by six per cent to £173.6m amid a challenging market and rising overheads.

The historic Yorkshire family business nudged its profits up slightly by £300,000 to £9.8m for the year ending October 31.

During that time Betty’s welcomed more than two million people to its six tea Rooms in Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and York and also celebrated the 30th anniversary of its mail order business, with more than 90,000 people having purchased goods during this period.

The period saw Betty’s & Taylor’s focus on investing its core trio of brands Yorkshire Tea, Taylors of Harrogate and Bettys, the former of which continues to partner the England and Wales Cricket Board, taking the brand around the world.

Bosses also hailed the firm’s stakeholder model as helping to drive the results and reaffirmed its commitment to customer services excellence having achieved a number of national accolades on this score.

Group finance and resources director, Paul Cogan, said: “This is a strong set of results for the business.

“During the year we have really focussed on investing in our three brands – Yorkshire Tea, Taylors of Harrogate and Bettys – and it is encouraging to see that this approach has been valued by our customers.

“The year has had many challenges. The markets in which we operate continue to be competitive.

“As is the case for many businesses that import raw materials, the fall in the value of sterling following the referendum result will present challenges for the longer term. The decisions we made in the last year meant we were not significantly impacted, but this will be something we need to manage carefully going forward. Thanks to our strong brands, combined with the hard work and dedication of our people, we remain confident the business will continue to thrive.”

Based in Harrogate, Bettys & Taylors comprises the six Bettys Café Tea Rooms, tea and coffee merchants Taylors of Harrogate, Bettys Craft Bakery, Bettys Cookery School and Bettys mail order service.

Taylors of Harrogate is the home of Yorkshire Tea, the third best-selling black tea brand in the country.

Taylors is also the market leading fresh ground coffee brand with a market share of 32.7 per cent of the filter and cafetiere market.

Yorkshire Tea cemented its position in 2016 as the only FMCG brand to be listed in the YouGov Brand Index’s top 10 brands, ranking at number seven on the list for the second year running.

While consumption of black tea in general is in decline, Yorkshire Tea is the only standard black teabag in sales growth.

The renewal of its deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board for a further three years sees it remain the ‘Official Brew of England Cricket’.

In the 2016 financial year, Bettys welcomed over Bettys reservations-only Lady Betty Afternoon Tea held at The Imperial Room, Bettys in Harrogate and at The Belmont Room, Bettys in York remained highly popular.

Its customer service offering was honoured in November 2016 when the Tea Rooms won the Outstanding Customer Service Award at the annual Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards.

Rather than a single chief executive officer, the business has a collaborative CEO team, modelling an approach to peer-based working and distributed leadership which is mirrored throughout the company.

The year also saw the business continue its commitment to environmental responsibility.

The group also contributed £337,000 to charitable and community projects in Yorkshire and in tea and coffee growing countries.

In April 2017, the family-owned business was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, recognising Bettys and Taylors’ work to build a sustainable global tea and coffee supply chain.

It is the company’s third Queen’s Award.