The Franchise King®

The Shelly’s Team Rooms Franchise Opportunity: How About An Afternoon Tea?

interior of a shelly's tea room

(Sponsored post about the Shelly’s Tea Rooms franchise opportunity)

You’re about to find out about a new franchise opportunity in the food and beverage space that’s focused on tea, and its proper food accompaniments. But first, some history about Afternoon tea.

The History Of Afternoon Tea

What started out as a luxury item for the wealthy, soon became extremely popular across all social classes in England.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy).

AI image of Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford

(AI-generated image of the seventh Duchess of Bedford)

In all actuality, Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840.


The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.

The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

Then it spread throughout England.

photo of an Afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea Is Still A Thing

This past Mother’s Day, my daughter, who’s known for coming up with great gift ideas, picked up my wife and drove her out to an English Tea Room. Why?

Because when my wife was in high school, she visited England-and fell in love with its culture. And since enjoying traditional Afternoon tea and crumpets is the closest thing to being there…

Word is, they both enjoyed the experience…the key word here being “experience.”

That’s because enjoying traditional hot tea along with food that’s normally served with it, should be an experience.

And that’s what the owners of Shelly’s Tea Rooms are focused on.

Next, I encourage you to click the image (and turn up your volume) to see what I mean:

The History Of Shelly’s Tea Rooms

Who came up with the idea of bringing an English Tea Room to Massachusetts?

Sean and Michelle Sinclair.

From their website:

After owning and running our two award-winning Tea Rooms in England, one in a breathtaking 15th-century building, built a hundred years before the first pilgrim set foot in the US, near Canterbury and the other in the exquisite beauty of St Margaret’s Bay near Dover, for over 10 years; having fallen in love with the United States more than 25 years ago after many vacations here, we decided it was time to bring our English Tea Rooms revolution to America.”

phone booth in front of shelly's tea rooms in plymouth mass

And speaking of pilgrims, would you like to know where they opened their first location of Shelly’s Tea Rooms?

In Plymouth, Massachusetts

image of plymouth massachusetts harbor

It feels like Sean and Michelle chose a great location to open their 1st Shelly’s Tea Room. Agreed?

And while enjoying tea in a beautiful, historical area like Plymouth sounds nice, the food that is served with the tea matters too. Check this out.

Shelly’s Tea Rooms Franchise Opportunity: Menu

I know you want to talk about dessert first.

With that in mind, here’s the “Desserts, Cakes & Treats” portion of the menu:

shelly's Tea Rooms franchise opportunity dessert menu

I can easily pick two of those scrumptious sounding desserts right off the bat. You?

shelly's tea rooms franchise opportunity pancakes from the menu

And here’s the rest of their menu

The Shelly’s Tea Room Franchise Business Opportunity: Costs And Fees

Here are the initial costs for one Shelly’s Tea Room franchise business.

  • Initial Investment: $206,325 and $279,945
  • Initial Franchise Fee: $39,995
  • Royalty Fee: 8% of gross sales
  • Local Marketing Fee: Must invest a minimum of 1% of gross sales on a monthly basis

Area Developer Option

If you’d like to be more aggressive, you have the option of purchasing the rights to open up two franchises. If that’s the case, your upfront Development Fee will be $73,900.

Note: if you’re an honorably discharged U.S. military veteran who meets our qualifications for a franchise, you’ll get a 30% discount on the Initial Franchise Fee for your first franchise business.

Training-wise, Shelly’s Tea Rooms provide initial training at no cost for up to 4 people in Plymouth. However, no more than two people can attend the initial training program at the same time.

The Unique Advantages Of Owning A Shelly’s Tea Room Franchise

Here are several unique advantages of owning and operating a traditional English Tea Room like Shelly’s in your area:

  • Many tourists visiting the U.S. seek out authentic British experiences. An English Tea Room can attract these customers, especially if the franchise is located in a popular tourist destination-or a popular area.
  • Establishing an English Tea Room franchise business can help differentiate the business from generic cafes. This can lead to customer loyalty and repeat visits.
  • Serving classic British fare like scones, crumpets, clotted cream, and specialty teas provides a real point of differentiation.
  • An authentic English Tea Room like Shelly’s can tap into a niche market, which creates a memorable brand and customer experience in the U.S. market.
  • You can host numerous special events like bridal showers, baby showers, or birthday parties which can drive additional, consistent revenue streams.
  • Tea rooms can sell premium teas, tea accessories, and British food products to customers, generating additional income.
  • Shelly’s Tea Rooms can become a gathering place for the local community, hosting events, classes, or book clubs that promote social interactions.

And more.

Are You The Right Person To Own A Shelly’s Tea Room Franchise?

In my experience, it’s rare to come across a franchise opportunity that’s truly unique. Shelly’s Tea Rooms most certainly fits the bill.

That said, here’s what the founders, Sean And Michelle Sinclair, are looking for in a franchisee.

  • Enthusiasm
  • A passion to be the best
  • An excellent communicator
  • Hands on and personally involved in the day to day
  • running of your shop
  • A willingness to adhere to systems & processes
  • In-depth knowledge of your local area
  • A real desire to give back to your community

If those things describe you, and you’d like the opportunity to own a truly unique local business, use the contact form located here to request more information and talk to Sean and Michelle.

Territories are available now!

scones and more from shelly's tea rooms
Please Share This Article!
follow us in feedly
franchise article written by joel libava
Note: When you buy through links on this website, we may earn an affiliate commission. In addition, I've started to use AI to help me craft better article titles and headings.
The Franchise King® Blog
Get proven franchise research and buying tips, helpful franchising resources, plus the latest franchise news updates and more.
Recommended Reading
How Franchises Work
How Much Is A Franchise?
Pros And Cons Of A Franchise What Is The Franchise Fee? How To Buy A Franchise
Best Franchises To Own

Top 33 Business Ideas
Starbucks Franchise Facts
Featured Franchises!
10 Best Franchise Websites
About Franchise Consultants
How To Read A FDD
Questions To Ask Franchisors
Questions To Ask Franchisees Franchise Discovery Day Franchise Reviews
Top 10 Franchise Buying Tips

Free Franchise Tools Franchise Compatibility Quiz Net Worth Calculator
joel libava

I'm The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. I help prospective franchise owners avoid bank account emptying mistakes.
For 23 years, I’ve been showing people how to make smart, informed decisions on franchises to buy, and I can help you, too!
P.S. I'm not a franchise consultant/broker.

Joel is Highly Principled
There are many people in the franchise business who claim to to be experts in the field. Unfortunately many of them lack both knowledge and integrity. Joel, however, is without question one of the most qualified and principled people I know, in or out of his industry."
- Greg Reynolds, Retired Outplacement Counselor
"Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it."
- Harper Lee

All Franchise Owners Need A Great Business Plan!