I am planning to start my own business shortly making and selling chocolates and as a shortcut to my research i am asking those of you running your business what would you suggest as basic range of chocolates and flavours to get the clientele into my shop?.
Any other confectionary related products that sell well?
August 1, 2006
I don't have a business, but I've visited various shops (and worked in one years ago) and what-not and have a rough idea as to what sells. But your roster of chocolates will depend on the type of clientele you want to attract (and this includes how receptive you think they are to fine foods and flavor combinations) and your location. From my impressions so far, folks want familiar flavors. I've seen seemingly ordinary flavors crank up sales like there's no tomorrow. Tiramisu, mint, assorted fruits, and nuts all sell well, especially a plain dark piece. These generally sell where people are of a more conservative mindset and where the population tends to be older as well.
Some people might not appreciate exotic flavor combinations such as Anise Pink Peppercorn or Rose Caramel, so if you want to go that route, introduce them slowly. What I've seen a lot of chocolatiers doing in their boxes of chocolates is offering predominantly neutral flavors that pretty much anyone would like, while at the same time throwing in some unusual and exotic pieces too. I imagine this is the creative side of the chocolatier, and that he's hoping to prime palates and make them more receptive to these sorts of combinations.
This isn't to say there is no market for unusual pairings...because there is. You just have to evaluate your local market and understand what sells and what doesn't. This is probably the most important step you can take because you need to understand your clients before you can cater to them.
Regardless of what you do, though, I think it's important to make sure your chocolates are of excellent quality. Flavor types, then, essentially becomes secondary. I've had chocolates that weren't complex or interesting in flavor but were so good in their basic flavor that they have become among my favorites.
October 13, 2009
Originally posted by Montegrano
Some people might not appreciate exotic flavor combinations such as Anise Pink Peppercorn or Rose Caramel, so if you want to go that route, introduce them slowly. What I've seen a lot of chocolatiers doing in their boxes of chocolates is offering predominantly neutral flavors that pretty much anyone would like, while at the same time throwing in some unusual and exotic pieces too.
One thing I, and many others, would *really* like to see is boxes of chocolates with one flavour rather than assortments only. Many people have very clear ideas about what they like and don't like and the inevitable result is a box with a few chocolates that never go eaten. It always seems like a waste. Furthermore, certain chocolates, especially as Monte points out basic flavours such as simple plain ganache (just chocolate and cream, nothing else) are always more popular and are ones many will want by themself without other flavours to get in the way of enjoyment of the one they've decided to fixate upon. Usually among this range there will also be a "signature" creation that you'll want to make that everybody remembers and, once again, wants by itself.
On overall range, a plain dark chocolate ganache (often called truffle) is the first and most obvious must. A few Canonical Flavours: coffee, hazelnut, raspberry, caramel, mint, rum, are pretty much essential and expected everywhere, and it's nice to have at least one other nut, one other fruit, one other confectionery centre, one other liqueur, and cinnamon. Have some milk chocolates and white chocolates as well, for those who aren't fond of dark. From there you can get more creative. I like floral flavours (rose, jasmine, lavender, etc.) and they also bring in crowds because they seem exotic but accessible. Nuts and spices together also make for some fun ideas. An couple of examples that I like (not necessarily part of the "basic range", but illustrative) would be cardamom/almond or nutmeg/walnut.
Lots to try: again as Monte says basic quality will in the long run count for a lot more than flavour originality, and when in doubt, stick with what you know how to do well and blindfolded, rather than experimenting with things that are really far outside your core strengths.
HI Monte and Alex
Thanks for the replies, the basic range was as i thought, and a visit to the local thorntons would give me a guide to as what was popular.
Thanks for the for your thoughts on alternative flavours, as in most things it often pays not to get to complicated with a product, "less is more" as they say.
I just asked as there might have been a surprise out there that caught peoples imagination.
And yes i agree, Quality is paramount in all areas, product, presentation and service.
Thanks again for your input
January 16, 2006
Don't forget novelty items. Chocolate lollipops, chocolate medallions with names on, etc. They have great appeal and can still be quality products as well as being very profitable.
If you are looking to be doing most of your selling in the shop location is very important and what Monte says about exotic flavours is right. I know someone who recently opened a chocolate shop. She tried selling a range of adventurously flavoured truffles; chilli, green tea, various spices etc. Very nice quality too, but they just didn't sell in the shop. The location and clientele is too suburban and conservative. They would probably do well in a town centre with coffee bars, restaurants, clothes shops and more coffee bars. On that subject, Les, you may want to change your mind and open the shop as a coffee bar, or nail bar - or both! Every other shop in my area seems to be going that way.
March 17, 2005
January 16, 2006
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