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Promoting on-trend refreshment with fresh-brewed iced tea

It’s no secret that iced tea is one of the most profitable non-alcoholic beverages that restaurants can sell. Unsweetened fresh-brewed iced tea is also a great choice for health-conscious people who want something refreshing to quench their thirst but don’t want to drink extra calories. A tasty refresher with ample profit margin, iced tea is increasingly top-of-mind for consumers who seek light, rehydrating beverages as well as for those who shy away from drinks with empty calories and carbonation.

Today’s competition for share of stomach (and share of thirst) makes offering a great-tasting, fresh-brewed iced tea more important than ever. Customers are predisposed to order it, and if it tastes great, they want more. Since premium, fresh-brewed iced tea costs just pennies more per glass than ordinary iced tea, there is no reason not to offer the best. Customers will buy more glasses, and incremental sales will flow to the bottom line.

Health is also on the minds of a growing number of people when they are looking to satisfy their thirst. As carbonated soft drinks, still the largest category of refreshment beverages, continue to decline in sales, zero-calorie beverages like unsweetened iced teas and waters are starting to fill the beverage gap.. In fact, carbonated soft drink volume slipped by 3.2 percent—from 13.3 billion gallons in 2012 to 12.9 billion gallons— in 2013, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation. At the same time that the bubbly bandwagon is losing riders, tea is on the rise. Away-from-home consumption of tea has been increasing by at least 10 percent annually over the last decade, says The Tea Association of the USA, and total sales have increased by 16 percent over the last five years.

When consumers cut back on soft drinks, they may consider alternatives such as water or iced tea. However, plain water can’t match the overall appeal and high profitability of iced tea since it’s given away free of charge. Operators can encourage guests to choose iced tea and protect their bottom lines by promoting a premium, fresh-brewed product.

Using fresh-brewed iced tea also allows the operator to make tea-based specialty beverages that are appealing as well as healthful. For example, menuing mocktails that include a splash of fruit juice and fresh-brewed iced tea is an easy way to create premium-priced signature sippers.

To get the most out of your iced tea program, partner with a brand that has been a tea specialist for generations. According to research by Ipsos InnoQuest, Lipton® is the brand preferred 2-to-1 by restaurant patrons, and more than half of iced tea drinkers are more likely to visit a restaurant that serves Lipton®.1 In fact, consumers are willing to pay up to $0.65 more per glass if the iced tea is Lipton®, according to research by The NPD Group.2 The bottom line is, Say It’s Lipton®, Sell More Tea.

Learn more about the consumer-preferred tea brand and get special offers from Lipton.


1. Ipsos InnoQuest, August 2012.

2. The NPD Group, Lipton® Iced Tea Brand Study, June 2010.

This post is sponsored by Lipton®

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