Why Cocolat is a dessert chain with a difference

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Inside Franchise Business: handmade product is central to the Cocolat business modelCocolat offers handmade delicacies including chocolate and gelato desserts, and is described by director Duncan Powell as “a dessert destination”.

“We make our own products right is the heart of the Adelaide Hills,” he says. “One of the key differences that sets our brand apart is that each product is handmade using local produce. A lot of our products are not sold elsewhere.”

During week days, the target market is mums with prams, especially in groups who seek coffee and cake. In the evening, Cocolat appeals to individuals seeking desserts after dinner.

“Our desserts, chocolates and gelato are not mass produced. Our signature desserts such as The Wild Thing and our chocolates such as The Guilt Bar are trademarked.

“When it comes to the brand and experience, each Cocolat location delivers the same experience of quality delivered in a plush environment.”

In terms of innovation, Cocolat introduces new products by way of seasonal changes. This is done twice a year, winter and summer, to allow the brand to “innovate via subtle differences in the seasons”.

There are three Cocolat store concepts:

  • Kiosk: in shopping malls and in the middle of walkways
  • Store: in large shopping centres and usually between 100 to 130 sqm
  • Street strip: in areas of high foot traffic

Shop fits vary from $220,000 to $450,000.

“There are several financial institutions we have referred potential franchisees to for finance, and this help is readily available,” says Powell.

“Our franchises are turn-key solutions. All our products are handmade in our central kitchen, delivered fresh into store. Our products have a high shelf live to minimise waste. As we make most of our products from scratch, there is no middle man for distribution. Our ingredients are bought in bulk.”

As for tech, plans are in the works. “Currently, Cocolat is working on a model that allows customers to order their specialty cakes online and opt to have them delivered to their home or pick them up from a local store.”

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