Is chocolate one of your passions? Have you been attracted by the beautiful chocolate kiosk inside shopping malls? You would like to open your own chocolate store and share your knowledge and taste for cocoa with your customers, but you do not know how to go about it, especially where to start your business?
This article is perfect for you! There you will find many tips for opening a chocolate store, including an analysis of the chocolate sector in France and all the information that will allow you to create a business plan for your chocolate store.
Symbol of French gastronomy and a "refuge product" which is resisting the economic crisis very well, France's confectionery and the chocolate market is doing very well.
Chocolate remains one of the favorite products of the French, with a consumption of around 405,000 tonnes per year, i.e., the average consumption of 6.7 kilos of chocolate per year in all its forms.
Nevertheless, the chocolate bar remains the best-selling product with 130,500 tonnes in 2015. Food for pleasure to consume immediately or used in cake making, the bar appeals to young and old.
Then come in the second position in the classification of chocolate confectionery (bites, rocks, pralines, etc.), representing 105,500 tonnes in 2015.
Chocolate bars, spread, and cocoa powder share the following places.
It will be understood that chocolate is coated and consumed in many forms that contribute to this sector's excellent health.
Before launching your chocolate store, it is essential to remember that the sector is very primarily dominated by mass distribution.
But beware, if 80% of sales are made in supermarkets, this does not mean that chocolate makers are losing ground. On the contrary, there are a little more than 4,000 across the country and stand out from industrial production by offering quality products (pure cocoa butter unlike the agro-food industries), innovative, and daring surprising associations and mixtures. . 30,000 people are employed in the production and marketing of chocolate.
This business is also made up of a variety of companies ranging from the large multinational (Nestlé, Lindt, Ferrero, etc.), to recognized SMEs (Valrhona, Voisin, etc.), to the small independent chocolate maker, these last two categories representing 10% of the chocolate market in France (Panorama of agro-food industries, 2014 edition, Ministry of agriculture, agri-food and forestry, subclass 10.82Z).
The chocolate sector is still marked by intense competition. The networks under banners tend to develop.
Indeed, private labels represent between 10% and 25% of the market. This success only explains in particular by-products of excellent quality, close to artisanal production and therefore tasty, but also standardized and therefore achievable at a very advantageous price.
Artisan chocolatiers and independents must therefore stand out by offering more than good chocolate. And This involves, in particular, a very high-end offer such as Pierre Hermé, for example: or even an animation of points of sale: the famous chocolatier Patrick Roger exhibits monumental sculptures all in chocolate in the windows of his stores.
When you have completed your chocolate market research, you will need to define your chocolate store's commercial positioning.
What type of store do you want to open? For which target? With what concept? What products? Which brands? And above all, a question that encompasses all the others will be the differentiating factors of your chocolate store. In other words, what will your customers find in your store that they won't find in others?
All these questions will help you build a business plan for your chocolate store and inevitably lead you to choose between creating two very different types of structures: independent chocolate stores or franchised chocolate stores. Unless you prefer to take over an existing chocolate store rather than create one from scratch.
However, opening a franchised chocolate store is the easiest option because it does not require finding suppliers, which can be difficult in this sector.
Many brands are looking for entrepreneurs ready to start opening a chocolate store. We could notably cite De Neuville, Leonidas, Douceur de France or even Pralibel .
Opening your franchised chocolate store will allow you to quickly find your first customers thanks to communication assistance and, above all, thanks to the brand's reputation, whose network you will join.
The location of the salesroom is a significant element of the business plan that should not be overlooked. It is the location of your chocolate store that will partly determine the turnover of your shop.
Therefore, it is essential to think about several possibilities while weighing the pros and cons of the different options.
A bustling place will guarantee you good visibility and, therefore, a potentially extensive clientele. The city center, the shopping streets seem to be ideal.
However, you can also consider a location in a shopping center as long as it fits your concept. You can also opt for a bar station in a station, a place of passage, of course, but also a place where you buy last-minute gifts for your guests before taking the train to visit them.
The last possibility available to you, choose a room in a slightly more remote area to save on rent.
For example, You can choose this option if you want to do tasting workshops or chocolate making. And This will undoubtedly require you to have a few additional square meters, especially since your customers will not only come to buy chocolate in a flash but to share a gourmet moment, a culinary experience, alone or with others.
Who says business creation says administrative procedures and the drafting of the famous statutes of your company.
You have to consider The legal status of your chocolate store carefully because it will impact not only the tax regime of the company but also the social regime of the manager (s) and how you will make the decisions within your company.
Therefore, before opting for legal status, ensure that it is consistent with your type of structure, the number of partners, and the amount of capital you deem necessary for your activity.
When you have finalized your market research, you will have developed your concept where your premises are found. And that the legal statutes will have been defined, it will then be high time to look into the estimated budget of your chocolate store, and therefore for that, to identify the investments necessary for the launch of your shop.
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Setting up a chocolate store requires a lot of up-front costs. In addition to the initial shock, it is indeed necessary to plan the purchase of the furniture of the place of sale: displays, counter, etc., but also the decorative elements that will make the place welcoming and warm, and finally, all the features necessary to the sale and management of the company: computer workstation, payment terminal, etc.
It is when drawing up your estimated budget that you will also need to consider your staffing needs.
You will, of course, take care to favor salesperson/customer advisor profiles with a strong appetite for chocolate.
If you want to set up a chocolate-making workshop open during the week to benefit a school audience, consider hiring someone with an affinity with children, with a BAFA, for example.
On the other hand, if you target a very high-end segment, favor profiles from the world of luxury and who have learned their skills at Fauchon or Ladurée, for example.
Do not forget in your budget estimate to add all the services necessary for the excellent running of your shop: the insurance of your chocolate store but also the administrative and financial management of your business (accounting, inventory management, management of timetables, pay, VAT, etc.).
Part of the administrative tasks can be outsourced to a chartered accountant.
To accurately estimate the amount of each item, ask for quotes from professionals.
The development of the marketing plan is the step that follows the definition of the human and material needs necessary to open your chocolate store.
A well-honed marketing plan is a key to success. It will allow you to acquire, and especially to retain, your customers.
Two tools have proven their worth for local shops:
· street marketing, which will allow you to quickly make yourself known to your new neighbors when you launch your chocolate store
· just like the deposit of flyers in the mailboxes of the inhabitants of your new district
You may also want to consider the following actions:
· create an e-commerce site to retain your customers
· set up loyalty cards, for example, a small box of chocolates offered every 10 purchases
· develop a community on the internet by sharing recipes or gift ideas on your blog, in a newsletter, or on social networks
· get you listed on the internet: Google Maps, city directories, etc.
As you can see, the possibilities are numerous, and it's up to you to make the right choices. Also, remember to correctly estimate the time and budget necessary to implement each of your communication actions.
When you have finalized your marketing plan, it will then be time to compile all the studies and research that you have carried out to open your chocolate store in your business plan.
The business plan contains a detailed and costed presentation of your project to create a chocolate store.
It includes in particular:
· a presentation of your company: legal structure, directors, location, etc.
· your chocolate market research and local market analysis
· the justification for the positioning of your store and your commercial strategy
· and of course, a provisional budget highlighting the need for financing and the profitability potential of your project
This document, essential before any search for financing, must convince investors or banks to follow you. It must therefore be perfect!
To open a franchised chocolate store, count an initial investment of between 50,000 and 150,000 €.
In addition to equity, that is to say, the money contributed by the partners (you or private investors), there are several possibilities to raise this sum.
Among the most common financing solutions, we can go to a bank to take out a loan, but we can also turn to the various support systems for business creation set up by the State and local authorities.
Finally, another less conventional mode of financing, crowdfunding (or crowdfunding), will allow you to finance yourself from private investors via a specialized platform in exchange for gifts (boxes of chocolates, for example) or shares in your company.
Our article is coming to an end, and we hope it has given you a better understanding of how to open a chocolate store. Please note that we remain at your disposal to help you in this process, and if you know someone who might be interested in this article, do not hesitate to share it!
Ant Display is a professional commercial furniture builder especially for fast food, chocolate bar counter, and chocolate factory furniture manufacturing. Whether you need bar counters, glass display showcases, or a customized chocolate kiosk, you will always find your best work here!