Boston Tea Party

We’ve been helping the West Country’s most original high-street cafés become a consistent and serious brand.

What:  Family owned, award-winning café group
Where: Bristol, South West and the Midlands


Established in 1996
19 cafés and growing


The retail café market is incredibly competitive. Yet Boston Tea Party have managed to find a niche by being “the antithesis of the homogenised high street dining experience” – affordable, locally sourced products and each café genuinely rooted in the local community. There’s a lot of warmth and fuzziness stemming from the unique soul of each café – so it’s difficult to bottle the brand. Yet they wanted to be sure that they were delivering excellent service across all branches.


We felt that the right approach wasn’t a traditional fact and data based reporting system. Instead we developed a bespoke mystery dining concept that allowed room for more personal – even emotive – responses. At the same time it still produced the scoring with which to benchmark performance and brush up operations where necessary.


The information gathered has had a profound effect on the way Boston Tea Party operates. For instance, they’ve added signs to spaces left by out-of-stock sandwiches, so customers know they can have them made to order. At the till – one of the main points of contact with staff – the experience has been refined and even the menu has been trimmed to provide the customer with fewer, but better quality options.

“Insight’s mystery dining programme was so successful in helping us tap into what our customers were looking for – the people, as opposed to the products – that we’ve decided to increase the frequency of visits. This way we’re not making changes based on one-off results but measuring each café’s service with consistent reviews.” Sam Roberts, Managing Director/Co-owner

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