Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tip #122: Update Your Ice Cream Display

La King's Confectionery, RCI 2011 Fall Regional

It’s almost summertime which means it’s nearly prime time for ice cream! Therefore, this week’s tip is to take a critical look at how you display the ice cream in your store.
As with candy merchandising, the way your ice cream is displayed can have a positive or adverse affect on sales. During our 2011 Fall Regional Conference in Houston and Galveston, Texas, members visited La King’s Confectionery. The owner, Jack King, shared that when he revamped his ice cream display to be more of a European style (similar to the way gelato is displayed), ice cream sales in his store went up. The photo above is an example of how he currently displays his ice cream.
So, if you are still hand-dipping your ice cream out of traditional, round buckets, consider a display redesign. By displaying ice cream in a more modern style and adding embellishments such as cookie crumbles or caramel swirls, your customers won’t be able to resist your delicious ice cream!
Take it a step further: Take your display a step further and offer a toppings bar nearby.  Take products that you currently offer (i.e. chocolate covered pretzels, caramel, nonpareils, etc.) and let customers create a new favorite ice cream treat!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tip #121: Perform a Technology Audit

Is the technology at your company helping or hindering productivity? This week’s tip is to take some time to perform a technology audit to determine how it is working and also how it can be improved.
Not sure where to start? Unless you have a skilled IT professional on your staff, you will likely need to hire someone to help you through the process and make recommendations that best fit your company size and goals. The following points are from the SCORE website as items to be sure you consider during a technology audit:
·     Information Security
·     Training your staff so that they’re using technology as efficiently and securely as possible
·     Your future needs and what current/developing technologies will help meet them.
·     What is not working right now or what could work better?
We also found this checklist as well as this step by step guide that will help you get started.
Be sure to include your staff in the process as they are in the trenches and can provide some great insight as to what is and is not working in terms of technology and processes. While a technology audit is an investment, it has the potential to provide a large return if you take the time to do it well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tip #120: See If Your Company is Being Pinned

We’ve mentioned Pinterest on our blog multiple times, typically because we love to find ideas there to share with you, our faithful blog readers. Did you know that there is a way to determine if your company has images or links being pinned by others on Pinterest? This week’s tip will show you how to check that and also why it matters. 
First, why does it matter if people are pinning links and images from your website on Pinterest? Pinterest users post captions to their images. By reviewing the pins along with the captions, you may find great customer insight regarding your current products as well as ideas to adapt them or make them better.
Second, how to find if you are being pinned. You may search to see if anyone has pinned your content by typing the following into your web browser’s address bar:  http://pinterest.com/source/retailconfectioners.org (instead of “retailconfectioners.org, enter your own url). The page that shows up allows you to check out the boards that have pinned images and links from your website. Take a few minutes to review the content and the captions. In addition, it might be a good idea to do a quarterly check on this to see if popular pins and content change based on the seasons or other factors.
It’s always a good idea to track your company’s online presence. We hope this week’s tip gives you a great tool to help you do just that! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tip #119: Whip Your Truffle Centers

Are you looking for a new variation on the standard truffle center preparation? Or, at least you have wondered if there is another way to do it. Why not try it whipped?
A light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture can be obtained by this method. After preparing your truffle center with the flavors, cream and chocolate, whip your cooled truffle center in a mixer until it becomes somewhat fluffy. The color will be noticeably lighter and the final density will be approximately 0.75gm/ml. After whipping, you can scoop or gently roll the center for enrobing.
This method is used in the hands-on lab sessions at our Chocolate Boot Camp® to show an alternative truffle preparation and it has been very popular with the students. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tip #118: Celebrate National Pretzel Day

Have you ventured into the land of chocolate covered pretzels? If so, we bet they’re a customer favorite! Saturday, April 26 is National Pretzel Day so this week’s tip is to celebrate! Below find a few fun ideas we found on Pinterest to use pretzels in confections. Do you have a unique idea for pretzels? Please share it in the comments below!