The title question came in from a wholesale customer with Art of Tea and here is my answer…
Pricing is always more expensive to be served something than to buy it retail. There are always added costs involved when running a wholesale tea program; training, preparing, serving vessels, cleaning, labor, equipment. All these things add up. You can often buy a glass of wine in a restaurant for the same price as a bottle in a retail store. Think about a bottle of beer; $2.50-$3.00 in a restaurant. A six pack will cost you $8.00 in a store. How about a ribeye steak? Same thing.
The partners that I have are charging $1.75-$2.25 for togo teas in casual cafes and $3.50-$5.00 for pots of tea in restaurants. Yeah those same teas might be only $4-8 for 2 ounces, but that’s the way it goes. Take it home you have to sell it to yourself, train yourself, make it yourself, serve yourself and clean up after yourself. I serve myself at home all the time but I am willing to go out and pay for someone else to so it – especially if it is done correctly and professionally. It doesn’t matter if that is a $2.00 cup of tea or a $150 dinner. You willing pay for the experience of being served.
Tea houses may have been some of the first depots for weary travelers during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Prior to the late 1700’s, beyond the borders of China, there were no restaurants in the world. If you ate somewhere other than your home it was because you went to someone else’s house or you were traveling. A “restaurant” was first sold in Paris as a restorative broth for health benefits. People were sick, living conditions terrible, plagues etc. The root of the word is “to restore”. People started making these potent broths of various meat stocks with precious metals. They thought it would be a good defense for the diseases of the day. Eventually they started adding bread and sliced tomatoes. By the early 1800’s it became a full meal. That restorative broth became the largest industry in the world.
Why am I telling you this? That Ginger Peach Apricot thing that you paid $2.99 to enjoy was your restorative broth. Yeah your could have made it at home, or in your shop, but your chose to go out and be served. Sometimes it is the being served part that is more soothing than the product you are served. You get “restored”.