Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tip #109: Use Nonpareils to Decorate Chocolates

Here’s a quick and easy tip for you! Looking for an easy way to add color to your chocolates and decorate your moulds? Nonpareils are a great option and a little bit goes a long way!

For example, decorate Easter eggs and bunnies using nonpareils to add Spring colors. Or, since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, use a mixture of pink and red nonpareils to decorate chocolate lips and hearts. And later in the year, place a bit of melted chocolate on the eyes of a moulded jack-o-lantern after it is set and and then sprinkle with orange and yellow nonpareils for a spooky Halloween glow.

You can get creative and have fun with this tip at each holiday!

Last week RCI was on a Winter Getaway in Barbados, building connections with fellow candy makers and suppliers. Check out photos on the RCI Facebook page!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tip #108: Care for Your Community

This week’s tip is to make caring for your community part of your company culture. As a business you have a great opportunity to give back to the community that supports you and to provide opportunities for your staff to give back as well.

Volunteer together as a staff   The options for volunteering as a group are endless - serving a meal at a soup kitchen, preparing a meal for the families at the local Ronald McDonald House or doing yard work for a senior citizen are just a few ideas to get you started.

Make product donations to local charities  Most candy and chocolate stores are asked for product donations on a regular basis. Are you giving? While donating to every single request may not be financially feasible, consider creating a policy for these requests such as a set number per month on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Provide paid volunteer hours for staff  By providing paid hours for your staff to volunteer, you are solidifying that this is an important part of your company culture. Consider providing two hours per month for your employees to give back to your community. Best practice would be to require a form be signed by a supervisor where they are volunteering to ensure accountability.

It has been shown that individuals who volunteer have higher life satisfaction. And satisfied employees often are going to be better workers. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get out and give back!

P.S. Kettle Talk, RCI’s quarterly publication, had a feature story and interview with Kriston Dean of Purdy’s Chocolates in the Jul/Aug/Sep 2012 issue. She discussed how they give back as a company. RCI members may access past issues of Kettle Talk by signing in on the RCI website.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tip #107: Clean Behind Candy Cases

You’re very diligent to clean fingerprints and smudges on the front of your candy cases but have you given thought to how often you clean the inside of your cases and other fixtures? This week’s tip is to remind you that cleaning behind fixtures is just as important as cleaning the front of cases and fixtures.

As you know, presentation matters when it comes to displaying your beautiful chocolates and candies in the store. You may not think the inside of your cases would get dirty but dust could collect there in addition to smudges from moving product in and out of the case. A pristine case will help increase the perceived value of your products so take the time to ensure it is clean both inside and out.

How often should you clean the inside of your cases? That depends on how often the doors to the cases are opened, when product is moved, etc. Whatever you decide, be sure it is added to the cleaning schedule so employees don’t overlook this important task.

P.S. This tip was from the GMP series featured in the Jan/Feb/Mar 2012 issue of Kettle Talk. RCI members may access the entire series by signing in to the RCI website and viewing Kettle Talk issues from 2012.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tip #106: Get Your Office Organized

Welcome to 2014! We hope you had a great time bringing in the New Year!

This week’s tip is to get your office organized. You’ve just been through a mad holiday season and orders and receipts were flying left and right. Now that December is behind us and before Valentine’s Day is upon us, it’s time to get your office organized again. We’ve found some great office organizing tips on Pinterest!

Organize the Papers on Your Desk with Labeled Folders

Use Clipboards to Organize Items You Need to Access Easily

Create Moodboards for Upcoming Merchandising/Packaging

Get Those Unruly Cords in Order

One last thing - get a labelmaker. We talked about this fantastic tool in Tip #7 and still think it will change your organizing life.

P.S. If you are heading to the Philly Candy Show this weekend, stop by the RCI booth and meet the staff! Be sure to mention you read the Tip of the Week blog!