The business we have today was built on the entrepreneurial spirit of two master craftsmen; Charles Taylor, a master tea blender, and Frederick Belmont, a confectioner and chocolatier from Switzerland.
In 1886, Charles Taylor established C.E. Taylor & Sons, a tea and coffee importing and blending business in Leeds. By buying the best tea leaves and coffee beans, and carefully blending teas to suit the local water, Charles established a reputation for quality, winning a gold medal at the London Grocery Exhibition in 1896. Charles also opened a number of ‘Kiosk’ Coffee Shops in Yorkshire towns, and the Café Imperial tea rooms in Ilkley and Harrogate.
While Charles was growing his tea and coffee business, a young Swiss orphan called Fritz Bützer was perfecting his baking and confectionery skills. Fritz had an ambition to travel to England to establish his own business. A letter to his sister in Switzerland in 1907 recalls how he arrived in London, with barely any money and unable to understand English. By accident he found himself on a train to Yorkshire, where he decided to stay.
A family business for nearly one hundred years.
A few years later, he’d settled in Harrogate and married a local girl and changed his name to Frederick Belmont. In July 1919, Frederick opened the first Bettys Café Tea Rooms, right opposite Taylors Café Imperial. The combination of Swiss pâtisserie, beautiful interiors and friendly service meant that Bettys was an immediate success and during the 1920s and 30s Frederick opened more branches of Bettys in Yorkshire, including a flagship branch in York modelled on the Queen Mary cruise liner.
By the early 1960s Bettys was owned and managed by Frederick’s nephew, Victor Wild. The story recalls that a Bettys waitress overheard two customers discussing the fact that the Taylors business was looking for new owners, and so in 1962 Victor and his family purchased Taylors Tea and Coffee, at the same time aquiring their cafes including the impressive Café Imperial in Harrogate.
Since then Taylors has remained true to the principles established by Charles Taylor of buying the best, and blending tea to suit the water. The Taylors Café Imperials in Harrogate and Ilkley were reopened as Bettys Café Tea Rooms, and today there are six Bettys Café Tea Rooms – all in Yorkshire – as well as a Craft Bakery, Cookery School and online shop.
Find out more about Bettys, Taylors of Harrogate and Yorkshire Tea.
Now a fourth generation family business we’re committed to being a responsible business that cares about and shares its success with stakeholders.
Being a family business, it’s no surprise that we think of our business as a legacy, to be handed down to future generations of stakeholders.