Tcho Factory Tour
After writing about TCHO in 2008 and consuming far too many of their delicious chocolates over the past four years, we finally made a trip to visit the factory at Pier 17 in San Francisco.
While we very much enjoyed the retail and manufacturing experience, it was only when we left that we overheard another customer say...
"It's really cool, but I was kind of hoping it was going to be more like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
After a good laugh the comment made us wonder... do you think that customers have an unrealistic perception of experiences based on movies?
It's easy to point to Tiffany's and Bergdorf Goodman as retailers who embrace their Breakfast at Tiffany's and Sex and the City personas, but had that movie and television show preceded the stores it would be important to explore what brand elements might be relevant to a shopping experience.
Given the nature of food production facilities, we're guessing that safety, security, and FDA regulations are a stark contrast to Willy Wonka's fun-loving image. As a potential solution to this dilemma, TCHO could layer storytelling as a tool for bridging the gap between the deliciously creative and modern.
The best part of this potential approach would be that the content would be readily available online and as part of the TCHO Taste Test Trip series. To augment the creative, we would also suggest that the retail management staff the store with more tasting specialists to engage customers instead of having a greater number of employees behind counters. Registers could easily be replaced with handheld iPads as another tactic for creating a more inviting atmosphere.
It's fun to imagine a Willy Wonka X TCHO experience that would resonate with that one customer, but we're careful to point out that our ideas are hardly a critique of the experience.