Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tip #260: Help Build the Next Generation of Sweet Leaders

As an association, RCI is committed to supporting the next generation of confectionery leaders. In 2012 RCI developed the Next Generation group as a platform to encourage members in their twenties and thirties to build relationships and connect through fun, interactive events.

Being part of a multi-generational, family business, RCI Board President Steve Vande Walle, shares his first experience as the new kid on the block and why supporting young confectionery professionals is important to the industry as a whole.
"[RCI's Next Generation event was created to help the younger generation] develop relationships with members their age, many of whom will turn out to be life-long friends, creating a network of confectionery colleagues facing many of the same challenges who can turn to each other to solve problems and learn from, "says Vande Walle. 
"I wish they had something like this 30 years ago, when I first started attending conventions. I remember attending a networking reception in those days, and seeing all of the “older” members chatting and socializing like they were all best friends."
As a reminder for the more "seasoned" professionals, Vande Walle states, "as leaders of RCI, it is our responsibility to make sure professional growth and networking opportunities for our younger members continues to be available as a way to help our next generation flourish. I believe the next generation events are a step in that direction. Please encourage all young RCI members to attend Next Generation events and even consider becoming a member of our Next Generation Committee. Being a part of the inner workings of the association is very interesting and even more rewarding." 
Regardless of your age, you, too, can help foster the success of future industry leaders by mentoring younger staff or members of your community, encouraging them to participate in local organizations for young professionals, enrolling them in an education course or by sending them to a industry-related conference. 

Consider bringing a young member of your team to RCI's Annual Convention & Industry Expo in Cleveland, Ohio June 18-22, 2018. Aside from all the great education, networking and tours, these "next geners" will leave having made meaningful and lasting connections with colleagues their age that could have an impact on their professional careers for years to come. Visit retailconfectioners.org/annual to learn more and register to attend.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Throwback Tip #122: Update Your Ice Cream Display & Increase Sales

I scream! You scream! We all scream for summer!

With summer around the corner, this week's tip suggests taking a critical look at how you display ice cream in your retail store. 

As with candy merchandising, the way your ice cream is displayed can have a positive or adverse affect on sales. During a past conference in Houston, Texas, members visited La King’s Confectionery. The owner, Jack King, shared that when he revamped his ice cream display to reflect a European gelato shop, his ice cream sales increased significantly.

So, if you are still hand-dipping your ice cream out of traditional, round buckets, consider updating your display. 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 by offering 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!

Revamping your ice cream display is one way to help your ice cream sales heat up this summer!

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tip #259 Treats with a Twist: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Although Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico, the holiday has evolved in the United States to commemorate Mexican heritage and culture. To help celebrate the world's largest producer and exporter of limes, we're sharing fun treats with a twist of this zesty citrus fruit.

Party City

Candy Margaritas

Create a cheery display of mini margarita glasses filled with candies and rimmed with colored sugar and wedges of lime-flavored gummies. Consider packaging ingredients in bulk, along with a take-home guide for Cinco de Mayo party goers/hosts to easily grab and DIY these magnificent mocktails at home.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company

Chocolate + Lime

Lime adds a fresh twist to the classic truffle, because the citrus helps cut through the richness of chocolate and the fresh cream used in ganache. Consider incorporating lime juice or oil into your truffle recipe or add lime zest to your chocolate bars. RCI member, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company adds a twist of key lime to their craft chocolate bars.

Chili + Lime

Lure in your more adventurous patrons with samples of chili and lime truffles. Click here to get the recipe from Hope and Greenwood.

Have fun celebrating Cinco de Mayo with these fun treats! Share your favorite lime concoctions in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tip #258: Give Yourself A Break

  • About 31% of entrepreneurs work at least 10 hours a day and 15% work every day of the week, according to a survey by Discover Small Business Watch (Entrepreneur.com). 
  • It’s been found that entrepreneurs work 63% more hours than the average worker (Inc.com).
If you are an entrepreneur, these statistics probably don’t surprise you. What may surprise you is that taking breaks is actually good for you and your business. Whether that means taking short breaks throughout the work day or taking more trips to the beach, numerous scientific studies back the benefits of giving your brain a break. With Christmas and Valentine's Day behind us and Easter on the horizon, many candy professionals may feel obligated to push through the long hours needed to get the job done. Keep in mind, however, if you don’t give your body enough rest, your performance will eventually suffer, making all that extra time and energy counterproductive.

In an article published by Inc.com, Minda Zetlin offers the following tips on how to incorporate breaks into your regular routine (click here to read full article).

Take short breaks often
The Pomodoro Technique suggests working 25 consecutive minutes alternating with short five-minute breaks in between. The use of this technique has resulted in both increased performance and productivity.

Take more frequent vacations

The average American has 10 days of allotted vacation time each year, however, studies show that many Americans end each year with unused vacation days.

Take one day off every week

If you’re pulling more hours than most, this may seem counterintuitive and even frightening. After practicing this approach, participants of an experiment who were accustomed to working every day reported not only a better work-life balance, but also felt more productive and more pleased with their accomplishments.

As we approach the time of the year, widely recognized as “spring break” in the United States and Canada, now is a good time to start thinking about how you can give yourself a much needed break. Comment below what you do to create a better work-life balance.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.