Tea Lounge franchise

Park Slope's Tea Lounge may become international chain

The Brooklyn Paper
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Park Slope’s answer to Starbucks is about to become a bit more like, well, Starbucks.

The Tea Lounge — the neighborhood’s longtime home for laptop-clacking writers and mommy meet-up groups — will become a chain with in-the-works franchise locations under consideration in Long Island, Virginia, and Kuwait, said owner Jonathan Spiel.

“This could turn into something big,” Spiel said. “People have shown interest all over the world.”

Spiel says nothing will change at the sprawling flagship shop on Union Street near Seventh Avenue, where comfy couches host freelancers, musicians — and just about any Park Sloper looking to escape the house for a couple hours.

But the shop’s new transition to a franchise business model will allow would-be partners to tap into their own creative and entrepreneurial spirit by making small community-specific tweaks to their branches — from the music to the beverage selection.

“I want franchisees to be creative,” Spiel said. “In the south, for example, someone might want to add ice tea with lemonade to the menu.”

Cafe owners looking to open a Park Slope-approved business elsewhere in the world can shell out $25,000 and a five percent royalty fee for the right to operate under the Tea Lounge name, use the java joint’s logo and looks, and train workers under the shop’s coffee-making program.

Some of those longtime patrons say they don’t mind their hometown coffee shop expanding, as long the new locations retains some of its soul.

“I like anything that’s homemade and comfortable — if they go to Long Island, I hope they keep that,” said patron David Moody.

The pending expansion comes four years after a beloved Tea Lounge outpost at Seventh Avenue and 10th Street closed down amid a rent dispute.

— with Ben Lockhart

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Scott from Park Slope says:
I like the Tea Lounge, but does the world really need another coffee house chain? One of the refreshing trends of late has been the one away from homogenisation and toward differentiation. Why go to Paris if the only restaurants you can see are McDonald's, KFC, and Starbucks? No, you go other places because you want to experience different things. It's great to go to the Tea Lounge now because it has its own identity. But if they throw up locations all over the place it will dilute that to meaninglessness.
June 5, 2012, 9:21 am
Hugo Furst from Bay Ridge says:
Is it Fair Trade tea?

Isn't it owned by a Tea Partier?
June 5, 2012, 9:48 am
Miguel Carraway from Clinton Hill says:
This has failure written all over it.
June 5, 2012, 9:51 am
Jared mcnulty from Park slope says:
Is this a joke?
June 5, 2012, 9:57 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
Some people have no imagination.
June 5, 2012, 11:18 am
OWS from zukki park says:
Corporate greed.
June 5, 2012, 11:44 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
There's no there there. This sounds like a trial balloon of lame proportions. Do you really need to franchise this? What a joke.

PS: As a package, the TL isn't horrid, but their coffee is super sub-par.
June 5, 2012, 1:06 pm
joey from Clinton Hills says:
just change the name to Central Perk
June 5, 2012, 2:35 pm
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Will the dirty couches be a part of it too? Smell of baby poop and soured milk, hence the "Teat Lounge"?
June 5, 2012, 5:44 pm
Brooklyn Native from Brooklyn says:
This might work if each location provides its share of Park Slope-type mothers and nannies using the premises as their private daycare playground. And then, if it becomes difficult for paying patrons to find a place to sit without squalling children running around, people in France, maybe, will feel that they're experiencing a real Park Slope moment.

People will expect no seating, rude mothers and nannies, less than hygienic premises, and maybe a spot of breast milk in their tea.

This will be just like out-of- towners going to a deli and expecting a rude waiter, or in a taxi, a non-english speaking driver with no sense of direction. Ah! The true New York experience!

And maybe they should change the name to Free Day Care Place (And We Also Serve Tea) Lounge.
June 5, 2012, 6:12 pm
Archduke from PLG says:
I think the place would be even better if there were no music playing during certain times of the day. I'm a composer who would love to get out of the studio for a few hours and work on my laptop (with headphones, of course), but the thumping bass of the music makes it hard to concentrate. Oh well..I guess if I'm in public, I should act as though I'm "in public" and ditch the laptop/headphones...
June 6, 2012, 10:38 am
J from Windsor Terrace says:
How long has this guy Spiel owned Tea Lounge? Is he a new owner with a new mission? From what I remember, the owner was a younger, curly-haired guy.
June 7, 2012, 8:06 am

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