Tea 42 café-bar concept launches in Manchester with nationwide expansion plans

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gluten-free diet

The group's plan is to reach twenty standalone outlets within the first two years of launching
The group's plan is to reach twenty standalone outlets within the first two years of launching
The team behind Blue Rainbow Aparthotels, a collection of serviced apartments in Manchester and Edinburgh, are investing heavily in Tea 42 Restaurants – a new, ‘alternative’ café and tearoom experience which it hopes to grow to more than 20 sites in two years. 

The venues will serve a large selection of specialty, hand-blended teas, locally-sourced cakes and light refreshments, with the first site launching this autumn near to the group’s Aparthotel near The Arndale in Manchester.

Having already invested £325,000 into the new venture, Will Hannah, managing director at Blue Rainbow Aparthotels and Tea 42, is confident that Tea 42 can be expanded across the UK.

Hannah told BigHospitality: “Initially, Tea 42 sites will be launched close to Blue Rainbow Aparthotels locations, which will allow guests to access refreshments with ease. However, in the future, there is also potential to roll Tea 42 out as a standalone venue in cities without properties, including Liverpool and Leeds.

“The plan is to reach twenty standalone outlets within the first two years in addition to the locations within our new hotels in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. We believe that most cities can support at least two Tea 42 branches.”


The first site will have approximately 60 covers in a mixed format of casual and formal seating, with some private booths. Produce has been sourced from local companies, with an extensive gluten-free food menu also available, supported by eight locally brewed gluten-free beers.

Blue Rainbow Aparthotels founders Will Hannah and Jason Abbott

“The aim is to provide as many gluten-free, high-quality offerings as there are ‘standard’ menu items,” added Hannah, who is gluten-intolerant himself.

“There will be gluten-free cakes, platters, pies, sandwiches and even a fully gluten-free traditional afternoon tea. In addition, there will be what we hope is the UK’s largest gluten-free beer selection. It is important to note though, that the Tea 42 is not purely a gluten-free café bar – it is a modern café bar for all tastes that makes gluten-free eating and drinking “normal’.

Blue Rainbow Aparthotels was founded in 2005 by Hannah and Jason Abbott. It now has three properties in Manchester Central, Manchester High Street and Edinburgh’s Queen Street.

The group has ambitious plans to grows its annual turnover from just over £4m this year to nearly £13m in 2017.

Hannah concluded: “Tea 42 reflects what we have always been good at – creating a new niché by cherry-picking the best ideas in the market and combining them into something truly unique.”

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