The Coaching Inn Group, the 14-strong operator, is launching an afternoon tea offer following on from the success of its morning coffee offer.

In a bid to add new dayparts, the group has already branded 12 of its sites as ‘coffee houses’, boosting mornings at the market town sites.

The group is now hoping to do the same with tea to fill quiet afternoons after lunch, with a quality offer from Teapigs and Lincoln & York standardised across the estate in a bid to increase sales.

Speaking to the European Coffee Expo ahead of its event next week, Coaching Inn chief executive Kevin Charity said: “We’re in the coaching inn market, with sites in A1, first class places in regional towns. They tend to have masses of square footage and we wanted to fill the day-parts. A good coffee offer has been really good for business in the morning – which is exactly what we set out to achieve.

“By calling the venue, for instance, the Talbot Hotel, Eatery and Coffee House, we’re telling people clearly that they can get a coffee here, without worrying that they’re going to have to buy a full meal. It’s working - we’re selling enormous amounts of coffee.

The coffee is served from a defined counter area of the bar, alongside sweet pastries, to give customers confidence they are taking hot beverages seriously.

Charity added: “Without a doubt the mornings are really busy, but people are also drinking more coffee and tea throughout the day. People are quite happy to order a coffee at the bar at 10pm. Things have really changed. In my era, blokes were expected to go out and drink eight pints in the evenings, while today we’re in an era, a far better one in my opinion, where there are no rules, people are free to drink what they like, when they like. The pressure to drink alcohol doesn’t exist any longer.

“Operators have got to get their acts together and do coffee and tea well - there’s still a great deal of benefit to businesses who can take advantage from the surge in tea and coffee sales.”