Bettys enjoys record sales as it prepares to celebrate 100th birthday

A waitress outside Bettys in Harrogate. picture mike cowling jun 16 2015
A waitress outside Bettys in Harrogate. picture mike cowling jun 16 2015

The Bettys & Taylors Group announced record sales levels in its centennial year, with turnover having risen by 10 per cent to £208.1m and two million customers having visited its six Yorkshire tea rooms.

As it marks a milestone centenary year, the Yorkshire family business delivered an operating profit of £11.2m in the financial year ending October 31.

Thursday 3rd May  2018, Harrogate 'Picture Credit Charlotte Graham''Picture Shows Bettys' waitress Chelsea Hudson under Harrogate's famous blossoms.

Thursday 3rd May 2018, Harrogate 'Picture Credit Charlotte Graham''Picture Shows Bettys' waitress Chelsea Hudson under Harrogate's famous blossoms.

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The figure is down from £15.1m in the preceding year but is still the second highest profit level reported in the history of the business, with issues surrounding raw materials and Brexit uncertainty impacting on the firm’s performance.

The Yorkshire Tea brand continued to enjoy strong growth, being one of the only black tea brands currently in growth, achieving a market share of 25.8 per cent.

Our centenary year is the perfect time to reflect on the success of the business to date, but also to ensure we are prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

Paul Cogan

The year also saw the rise of an emerging trend in coffee bags, with Taylors of Harrogate almost doubling sales within 12 months to hold 37.2 per cent of the rapidly growing coffee bag market.

Bettys and Taylors is also continuing to progress its £20m programme of investment into the development of its products.

Financial commitments

While footfall into its tea rooms in Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and York has risen, mail order sales continued to represent the fastest growing part of the Bettys business, with more than 122,000 people using the service.

Group finance and resources director, Paul Cogan, said: “We’re proud to mark our 100-year anniversary with a really positive set of results, thanks to the steadfast support of our customers.

“We delivered continued sales growth and our second highest ever net profit, despite dealing with the impact of the rising costs of raw materials, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and investment into strengthening our business.

“A key driver of our performance has been Yorkshire Tea, which has experienced increasing demand from our customers leading to impressive growth in market share.

“Our centenary year is the perfect time to reflect on the success of the business to date, but also to ensure we are prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

“Now mid-way through a £20m programme of investment to satisfy the growing demand for our products, we’re well underway with expanding our tea and coffee manufacturing site in Harrogate and investing in both new equipment and in our operating systems.

“This financial commitment will continue throughout 2019, making it an exciting year of both celebration and preparation for the opportunities that our second century will bring.”

Celebrating in style

In celebration of its landmark official birthday date on July 17, the family business will recognise the contribution of staff towards the long-term success of Bettys & Taylors with a special one-off centenary bonus of £500 for each one of the 1,450 people employed by the group, irrespective of length of service or performance.

These payments will be in addition to the profit-sharing Group Prosperity Scheme, from which staff will also receive over four weeks of additional pay based on the 2018 results.

Bettys and Taylors also contributed £323,000 – both financial and in kind – in charitable donations and community activities in the UK, and a further £814,000 into livelihood and social and environmental initiatives to support the long-term sustainability of its tea and coffee supply chain.

Based in Harrogate, Bettys & Taylors consists of six Bettys Café Tea Rooms, Bettys Craft Bakery, Bettys Cookery School, Bettys mail order service and tea and coffee merchants, Taylors of Harrogate. Taylors of Harrogate produces Yorkshire Tea, a range of fresh ground coffees and speciality teas.

A proud history

Bettys & Taylors is now into its fourth generation of family shareholders.

It was founded in 1919 by Frederick Belmont. He had been orphaned at five and travelled around Europe learning the arts of confectionery and baking. He eventually settled in Yorkshire where he opened the first Harrogate tea room.

In 1962, the Bettys business acquired C. E Taylors and Co, a Leeds-based tea and coffee merchants.

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