How to Start a Chocolate Shop

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start chocolate shop

Chocolate is an immensely popular treat throughout the entire world and can be enjoyed in many different formats. Consumed simply as a bar, baked in a cake, whipped into mousse or ice cream, melted in a fountain or beverage, and even added to chilli con carne, chocolate is an extremely versatile food and one of the most popular confectionary items in the world. So popular, in fact, that 4.74 million tonnes of cocoa was produced globally in 2016/17, generating over $98 billion in sales.

Switzerland is the frontrunner in chocolate consumption; in 2017, an average of 8.8 kilograms of chocolate was consumed per person. This is double the consumption rate in the US, which stands at just 4.4 kilograms per person. Expertise appears to come hand-in-hand with this consumption, as Switzerland is also the producer of many famous chocolate brands, including Lindt, Toblerone, Milka and Nestle.

But while these huge brands dominate a large portion of the sector, there is still plenty of room for small, local businesses selling homemade and hand-crafted chocolates. Often, these types of businesses are associated with expertise and high-quality, unique confectionary. By introducing a range of sweet treats that arent found in the average newsagent or supermarket, you can carve out a space in the market where customers can have a personalised and meaningful experience. So, how do you start your own business with a chocolate shop?

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Start Your Own Chocolate Shop

The first step in launching any business is to identify potential competitors in your desired territory. Dedicated chocolate shops are not as common as clothes shops and Italian restaurants, for example, but its worth considering the local businesses that consumers could turn to or turn down in place of yours. This could include sweet shops or even bakeries. Think about their business models and the type of consumers they appeal to. How can you present yourself as a more attractive alternative? In doing this, youll need to make sure your business corresponds to the area. Does the type of experience youre offering match up with the type of people that will be passing by the shop? Once youve established your target market, create your brand identity and marketing materials with them in mind.

Youll also need to have an angle. Again, think about your target market and the type of chocolates and experience that will be favoured by them. For example, you could choose to specialise in a particular type of chocolate confectionary or tap into the current health/vegan trend by offering chocolate that health-conscious or vegan consumers can also enjoy.

Your business could increase its income by offering to help cater events, such as street food events or weddings. You could also offer customers the opportunity to buy gift-wrapped boxes of confectionary to give to loved ones. This will go down especially well if you create gifts that look beautiful and can be customised.

Once youve got a good idea of what your business will look like, its time to write your business plan. Discuss your objectives and how youll reach them, and include a financial forecast. This will be integral to securing funding from lenders. As youll be serving food to the public, you will need to obtain a number of licences before you can start trading, and be prepared to take all the necessary measures to pass regular health and safety inspections. This is in your interest too if customers see a clean and tidy shop, they are more likely to venture inside and buy your products than if it were visibly dirty or cluttered.

Remember that you should factor in the cost of purchasing necessary equipment into your financial plan. If youre going to make chocolate, you will need professional equipment, including a large refrigerator, pots and pans, mixing bowls and moulds, baking sheets and utensils, as well as packaging materials, such as colourful wrappers and cardboard boxes.

Online Chocolate Shop

While online chocolate shops selling homemade delights will most likely need to launch a stronger marketing campaign than a shop that is visible on the street to passers-by, physical chocolate shops could benefit from having a website that sells their treats online too. This way, customers could access a wider range of products or products that arent always in stock and have them shipped directly to their or their loved ones homes.

Lindt Chocolate Franchise

If you love chocolate, youll probably have heard of Lindt, the Swiss chocolate brand. Established in 1879 by Rodolphe Lindt, the business has grown over the centuries to become one of the worlds favourite chocolatiers. Although Lindt chocolate began life as chewy and rather unpleasant to eat, its founder later discovered the key to blissful, smooth chocolate, enabling it to become one of the key brands in the Lindt & Sprngli portfolio. Lindt operates a number of branded stores across the world; the store concepts range from Chocolate Cafes and Chocolate Boutiques to Chocolate Outlets and Factory Stores, all of which transport customers to the world of Lindt Master Chocolatiers.

The biggest and best store, however, is yet to be opened. Lindts parent company is incredibly proud to be constructing the Lindt & Sprngli Factory near Zurich. This will be an enormous, modern structure, with an entrance hall measuring 20,000 square metres and presenting the worlds largest chocolate fountain, which will stand at eight metres tall. The factory will also feature interactive exhibitions, a research facility and the worlds largest Lindt chocolate shop. It will also host chocolate production demonstrations. This will be a must-see attraction for fans of the chocolate brand, and will be completed and opened to the public in 2020.

Sadly, there is no information to suggest that Lindt is a franchise, but take a look at other food franchises in the Point Franchise directory for other business opportunities.

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