Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tip #17: Link Up With RCI in San Francisco

We’re busy planning and preparing for our upcoming Annual Convention and Industry Expo in San Francisco, June 11 through 15. This week’s tip is to join us there!

What can you expect at an RCI Annual Convention?
Industry Tradeshow – Meet face to face with confectionery industry suppliers and learn about the new and innovative products on the market. The tradeshow is FREE to confectionery industry professionals so print your free tradeshow ticket (insert link) and make plans to join us!
Networking – Connect with others in the industry throughout the week through a variety of networking opportunities. New this year, we have an evening set aside just for the next generation of industry leaders.
Education – We are excited to have education session topics including packaging, natural products, HACCP planning plus more. Additionally, we have a great idea-sharing session for RCI members called Candy Clinic and a question and answer session with a panel of industry experts.
Behind-the-scenes Tours – The last two days of the convention are filled with tours of area candy stores and suppliers. You’ll want to have a notebook in had because the ideas you can take back to your stores are endless.

For all the details and to register, visit retailconfectioners.org/annual. The early-bird discount ends May 11, so register today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tip #16: Chocolate and Candy Makers Must-Read List

Are you looking for the perfect book to teach you how to make and work with candy or chocolates? Well, of course, there is no such thing as perfect, but we can tell you that the following books have been highly recommended to candy makers by industry experts so we feel very comfortable telling you about them.  
  • Choice Confections by Walter Richmond
  • Candy Making for Dummies by David Jones
  • The Art of the Chocolatier by Ewald Notter
  • The Art of Chocolate by Elaine Gonzalez
  • Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling

While you can search online for used books, one of the best resources out there for confectionery books is MC Publishing. Click here to visit their online store.

Do you have other recommended books about chocolate and candy making? Please take a moment to share them in the comments below. We’d love to add them to our must-read list!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tip #15: Add Some Spice to Your Chocolate for Cinco de Mayo

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, get prepared to add some spice to your confections. You can add spice to nearly anything – from truffles to bark to peanut brittle. Have fun with it!

Some ideas for adding a hint of spice: red paper flakes, cinnamon, melted cinnamon red hots, ground chili powder or you can buy chili pepper flavor oils. Take a day and experiment in the kitchen to see what flavors blend best with your products. Don’t forget about the all-important taste test – get a number of people to test your creations before putting them up for sale.

Don’t forget to top off your creations with red paper flakes for added presentation! (And so that no one picks it up and gets a big surprise in their mouth)!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tip #14: Customer Service Is More Than Common Courtesy

Today’s tip is to take the time to train your employees in the realm of customer service. Reminding your employees of the adage, ‘Treat others the way you would like to be treated,’ is not enough. Take the time to remind them that it is more than just common courtesy. For example, don’t just greet customers – greet them with a smile. Don’t just say thank you to the customer - thank them for their business and invite them to come back again. Encourage your storefront employees to be proactive and go to the customer in the store to offer assistance – don’t let them wait for customers to come to them with a problem.

Phone etiquette is another area of customer service you should be training your employees. Teach them how you would like the phone answered. (Tip: Use the business name and employee name in the greeting to personalize it.) Additionally, if they have to place a customer on hold, teach your employees to ask "May I put you on hold?”. Your customers are busy people, too, and they may choose to call back at another time rather than sit on hold.

If you take the time to train your employees on what customer service really means, your customers will take notice and come back. They may even spread the word that your store is one of the few places that provides exceptional customer service.