Free Tea Day has a lot of meaning for McAlister’s® Deli franchisees. Started as a promotional concept around June’s National Iced Tea Month a decade ago, the brand began Free Tea Day as a way to say thank you to loyal guests and to give new guests an opportunity to experience the brand’s genuine hospitality. Now, with more than 400 McAlister’s® locations in 28 states, the event has become the biggest sales day of the year across the system.
“Free Tea Day is a way to appreciate our loyal guests, but it also gives new guests an incentive to experience our genuine hospitality in each of our restaurants. Breaking dining habits takes work and strategy, and our Free Tea Day programming is planned to give franchisees tested tools to disrupt their markets, create community around this day and earn new customers,” said President, Paul Macaluso.
As a brand, McAlister’s® Deli sells more than 54,000, 32 ounce glasses of tea a day. The tea offered by the franchisees are held to the highest standards, using Rainforest Alliance™ Certified leaves, steaming-hot filtered water, crystal-clear ice, fresh lemon wedges, and pure cane sugar in the brand’s famous sweet tea.
By cultivating an ideology and process around its Famous Sweet Tea, the brand and its franchisees become, in essence, brewmasters of sorts. However, the brand has always taken its tea making seriously, so the title, while trendy, is authentic and well-earned.
“Free Tea Day is our favorite day of the year,” said Chris Smith, multi-unit franchisee and owner of Peak Restaurants. “It’s a chance for us to thank our loyal guests and celebrate our famous tea. It’s something our teams look forward to every year.”
In preparation for Free Tea Day, McAlister’s® provides franchisees with its full support as the system prepares to serve over 400,000 glasses of tea. Programming on staff needs and operational requirements, as well as marketing preparation and execution, are provided as part of the brand’s promise to its franchisees. The franchisor focuses its ad fund to promote Free Tea Day in national and regional markets. Training videos and webinars are only a small part of offerings that help local store owners prepare, and the McAlister’s® Deli National Conference places emphasis on showcasing Free Tea Day photos, feedback and continuing education.
According to Macaluso, “It’s a long day for all of our franchisees, their teams and in our company stores as well, but to see the lines of customers eagerly awaiting their glass of tea makes it all worthwhile.”