Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tip #70: Educate Your Employees on Chocolate

Do you realize your front-line staff is asked a variety of questions by your customers? From how your confections are made to where the chocolate comes from, customers these days are more inquisitive than ever about how the products they consumer are made. Therefore, this week’s tip is to take time to train and educate your employees on how chocolate and your particular confections are made.

Below find a few ideas to help you begin creating a training program:
  • Let employees get to know you, the owner, as well as the head candy makers (of course, oftentimes that is one and the same). If you have small company, consider a quarterly lunch with the newest employees to introduce them to how you came into the business and why you are passionate about it. Then, they will be able to tell your customers how and why the owner is passionate about quality confections which will help build trust and value for your company.
  • Put together a list of required reading and do monthly or quarterly quizzes. The restaurant industry does this for servers – trainees have to take a test on the menu before they are allowed to be on the floor taking orders. You can create a variety of quizzes, from how your company’s confections are made to where and how cocoa is grown. Of course, you can make it fun with prizes, rewards, etc. for the top scoring employees.
  • Utilize thestoryofchocolate.com. This website has great information and videos for your employees to discover the origins of cocoa and gain an appreciation for the farmers that grow the beans. Rather than expecting employees to visit this site on their own time, consider providing time at the beginning or end of the day that they can use a company computer to view specific videos, articles, etc. to make it a formal part of your training program.

As you educate your employees regarding how confections are made, they will be able to provide valuable information to your customers as they are perusing your store.

RCI Members: Peter Higgins of Purdy's Chocolates presented on the program they use to train their employees to be chocolate experts last fall at our Canadian Chocolate Tour. Access the session handout by signing in to the RCI website as a member. Then, click on Past Education under the Events & Education tab.

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