The new trend in some chocolate shops appears to be forgoing the traditional temp controlled candy case and using a granite countertop (with glass or plexiglass barriers) and small plates for displaying truffles and chocolates.
Can anyone give some info on this from their own experience? I am assuming that the truffles, especially ones without preservatives, would have to be removed and stored every night. Or maybe not? If so, what kind of storage is used?
I am considering going the granite top route rather than a traditional case, but would like to hear some pros and cons from others. Thanks. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
I have kind of a combination of these, I have the case but I put everything on to Oneida Sushi plates, With the smaller plates I can fit more in the case and I like the way it looks. Also while researching our shop we looked at other shops here in CT and a guy in a nearby town had that setup and had flies and fruit flies all over his stuff ( we didn't purchase anything from him) I don't know how the bugs are in upstate NY but the refrigeration really controls this issue.
Chris, Thanks so much for the reply.
Most I've seen who do this, beneath the granite top is your fridge, same temp ranges as a normal chocolate case but built like a lowboy. So you have a few for show and the rest tucked away. Some have a top to the case and then you can get airflow and keep that part of your display cool as well. Then you don't need to transfer for night storage. Those like Frans who just have a plexi shield up are constantly restocking the little trays and I'm sure they put things up at night.
I haven't understood how you do volume sales like that. We have a rather standard built AA Fixtures case and when the season is hopping we are tearing through that case like chocolate fiends. If I had to duck down and pull out product my back would be broken.
We also run our shop rather cool, 67-69', the cold case is holding at 65' so really we can hold truffles in our kitchen for quite some time and end up doing so for a few days as we finish bulk runs.
It's really all in how you want to be perceived. I like the idea of having just a few of something out, it gives a little more focus and for some reason seems high end(?) but on an efficiency side I just can't see operationally how you rock through a peak sales period. Each of our trays in the case can get stacked I think 64+ units, easy and fast to draw from and multiple people can be in the case at the same time.
AA Fixtures will make that kind of case for you, I think Federal will too, but since it's not standard it's going to have some custom fee associated I'm sure.
We're opening our first shop this fall and I will be using the granite top display with glass barriers. I think it makes the display classier, that along with the crazy cost of refrigerated cases just made the decision easy.
I am also considering doing that with my little shop : on little plates and on a marble counter with air conditionned non stop, seriously, it works well since i saw it working at others. As you someone else here said the refrigerated desktops are so expensive ! and since my shop is a real tiny one i can without problem pop my truffles and pralines in wine refrigerators in boxes though if air conditonned is working no problems! But in case there is problem with the air conditionned machine...
Couple of fators to consider:.................
Shopping centers have central a/c, very few flies, and no direct sunlight. You can get away with no cases in this scenerio.
My store, for instance, has windows facing due south, halogen lighting, spotty a/c and a lot of cutomers who like to "look" with their hands. In this scenerio, a display case is best. I ended up making trays for my bon-bons, with a plexi-glass bottom and wood sides, about 1" high, these fit nicely into my display case
I have been debating this as well...and I just can't decide. I really love the idea of the granite top but am concerned about some of the practicalities. I think the granite top display offers a much better look but due to space limitations, I am probably going to have to move forward with purchasing a used case. Still deciding between refridgeration v. non, though I have to make the decision soon.
As I have been moving through the process of opening my store I have been trying to visit a lot of shops and the ones with the open display always seem to impress me more. I asked some of them about how they store product. It seems most just leave them out without coverage in a chilled shop. These also seem like the busier shops that move product much more frequently. The others just cover with their product with plastic trays over night. I haven't come across anyone who actually pulls the product each evening.
If you have the space...I think the open display is great.
Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. Great input with good perspectives. While I love the look of the granite top display, after reading all the posts--pros/cons--I have decided to go with a candy case for more controlled storage/display purposes. (I am a "control freak" by nature, so maybe that is it!) I have used a case in my small shop in my former business 9 years ago (relocated, now retired from Education and reprising the business in the Adirondacks of NY State),so it is a known factor to me. (No one was doing the granite top displays back then that I was aware of).
I just want to say that since I joined this site, I have gained so much more knowledge about chocolates and the business itself, which I am applying this time around. I really enjoy reading what others--business people and just lover's of chocolate--have to say about the world of chocolate. I believe that chocolate just may be the "universal" language! (P.S.--a big thanks to Clay for developing and running this site)