Hotel Chocolat, the luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower has opened a new concept store called ‘Roast + Conch’ in Covent Garden.
The new store format brings together all of the company’s activities under one roof – from cocoa growing processes and chocolate making, to innovative new cocoa-based drinks and food. The brand’s first ‘Coffee Versus Cocoa Bar’ sits at the front of the store, creating the aroma of roasting cocoa and fresh coffee beans which envelopes the customers. Staff acts as brand advocates and eagerly share their expert knowledge of chocolate and coffee pairings.
Distressed wooden flooring and shelving, low lighting, exposed brickwork and worn canvas bags from the brand’s Rabot Estate in St Lucia create a feeling of provenance and authenticity. Small batches of rare chocolate are made daily in the store’s basement kitchen, which shows customers how cocoa beans are roasted and ground in a “conch”. The journey of the cocoa beans is told via digital screens located in relaxed seating areas.
‘It’s an utterly unique opportunity for customers to see the whole process in action,’ explained Hotel Chocolat chief executive Angus Thirlwell. ‘Forget ‘bean-to-bar’, we’ve moved on to ‘tree-To-bar’. This is something that very few chocolate makers in the world could even consider doing and we are thrilled to be the first.’
Consumer Insights: The store caters to the growing number of chocolate connoisseurs interested in a deeper appreciation of the product. The format encourages and rewards a sense of discovery and experimentation.
Brand take-away: Hotel Chocolat’s premium products are presented in a theatrical manner which engages all the senses. Having their own retail space allows Hotel Chocolat the freedom to tell a compelling story and re-enforce their points of difference from competitors.