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‘My phone was going crazy’ - caterer turns to afternoon tea delivery after events cancelled

PUBLISHED: 13:25 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 28 June 2020

Billy Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy Smith

Billy Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy Smith

Archant

A north Norfolk caterer who found herself without work during the coronavirus lockdown turned her hand to a great British tradition to get by.

And to her surprise, Sheringham’s Billy Smith found afternoon tea deliveries were just the remedy many people needed to make it through the past few difficult months.

Miss Smith, who runs Norfolk Catering and Events, said she has delivered more than 330 afternoon sets since she launched the venture on April 16.

The 39-year-old said: “A couple of weeks after lockdown started, I realised it was very unlikely I would be able to do any of my large events or weddings this year, so I decided to offer afternoon tea deliveries.

“I didn’t expect to get a huge amount of orders but suddenly my phone and social media were going crazy with orders.

Billy Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy SmithBilly Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy Smith

“A lot of people were ordering it as a treat or a gift for friends and family they were unable to see and celebrate birthdays with. VE Day was an especially busy day, it was nice to offer something to people to celebrate the 75 years.”

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According to Google Trends, more people were searching for afternoon tea or cream tea deliveries during part of the lockdown than were searching for deliveries of KFC, McDonald’s or even Nando’s. Miss Smith said afternoon tea had grown in popularity even since Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, developed the meal in 1840. She said it became fashionable as more households were able to cheaply light their homes in the evenings, and so started eating dinner later, leaving a longer gap between meals.

Billy Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy SmithBilly Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy Smith

Miss Smith said: “The duchess found herself peckish in the afternoons, so the solution was a tray of tea and a light snack, taken privately in her room.

“In time, friends were invited to join her in her rooms, other social hostesses picked up on the idea and soon afternoon tea became a fashionable event, respectable enough to be moved into the formal drawing room.”

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Miss Smith said there was even a national Afternoon Tea Week, which will take place from August 10 to 16 this year.

Billy Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy SmithBilly Smith of Norfolk Catering and Events said demand for afternoon tea deliveries had been strong throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Billy Smith

Her teas include favourites such as quiche, sandwiches, macaroons and scones.


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