The Highland Chocolatier

In this exemplar, we explore how a reputation has been nurtured over many years with a commitment to quality through attention to detail. What we also notice is that this attention to detail is common in this little village.


The Highland Chocolatier

In this exemplar, we explore how a reputation has been nurtured over many years with a commitment to quality through attention to detail. What we also notice is that this attention to detail is common in this little village.

After  less than pleasant hotel stay in Inverness [the town is fine] our next stop is Bendarroch House at Strathtay. We are hoping that the next stay is more pleasant. We need not have worried.

We arrive at a beautiful guest house located in a large garden on the side of the Tay River – once again we have hit the jackpot. Our room is large and furnished with antique furniture and we have a bay window with a lovely view of the garden and beyond. There is carparking and wifi that works – it is far more than is promised and exceeds our expectations.

After we have settled in to our room, we wander a few hundred metres down the road, then cross a steel [Bailey] bridge into the village of Grandtully. There we discover the shop of the Highland Chocolatier, Iain Burnett. Once again this is happenstance – we had heard about this shop but little did we know that we would stumble upon the shop. From 50 metres we are drawn to the shop like a magnet and once inside the décor indicates retail passion and an eye for detail. To a marketing scholar, interested in the art of retail, this is what perfection looks like.

The display cabinets are spotless and the chocolates are like works of art and are arranged in millimeter perfect formations. The smell of chocolate creates that mouth-watering sensation that beckons and tempts. The shop assistant is immaculately presented. She tells us that she is ‘privileged’ to work in this shop, that the owner, Iain Burnett, initially trained under the finest European chocolatiers, refined his skills over many yes and consequently has won numerous awards, is recognised amongst the finest chocolatiers in the world, once only supplied Michelin Star Restaurants, the finest Hotels, and British Airways First Class, and now they are available to everyone – she then said that The Queen is particularly fond of this chocolate – I am told that purple is her favourite colour.

In themarketingconcept [e-book] we discuss the importance of people and therefore the importance of internal marketing. The role of the boundary spanner is also discussed, the staff member who can span the boundary between the organisation and the customer. It is such a pleasure to meet people who love their work.

Your right we did buy a selection of chocolates – not to consume in the car as we drive from place to place like a bar of Cadbury chocolate but to take home to Australia and share with our daughter.

Chocolate may not be a product that springs to mind when people think of Scotland, however, Gary Fraser from The Scots Magazine states that there are now more than 70 Artisan chocolatiers in Scotland and that it is likely that there will soon be chocolate tours of Scotland.

There are many people competing in the chocolate market – so how does one chocolatier stand out from the rest. Once again we can see that total quality is the sum of the qualities of the ingredients – and Burnett’s selection of the finest ingredients is obsessive. We can see that quality, value, and satisfaction are related.  That total product quality is not just with the goods, but the other product components –services, ideas, experiences, people, and place – all components are given the utmost attention and create a total product that has a unique value proposition.

Why is this award winning chocolatier located in a little village by the side of the Tay River, perhaps for the same reason that J.K. Rowlings has a house a few kilometres away. Strathtay is a beautiful place to live with many magnificent homes.

Just across the road from The Highland Chocolatier is The Inn On The Tay, this pub was recommended by our host and we soon get chatting with the locals. They scold us for only passing through their lovely village and urge us to stay longer.

The amiable publican encourages us to stay for a meal and we are rewarded with a meal of local produce and local beer.

The frustrations of our Inverness encounter are now well and truly behind us and as we climb the hill to Bendarroch House – we are reinvigorated.  It is 10:30 pm and the sun is setting and before entering the guest house we look down on the River Tay and the village of Grandtully and Anna states that we must come back here the next time we are in Scotland – which is interesting when you think about it – she has begun planning the next trip even before we have finished the present trip. All is quiet and we enjoy a good night’s sleep in a big comfortable bed.

The next morning we are up early and we explore the village of Strathtay, a collection of brick homes set in big gardens, a little local store and a church with a sign that reads ‘if you wish to pray collect the key from the shop’. With our exploring complete we sit down to a full Scottish breakfast. I should just mention that on one side of the river is the village of Grandtully, the chocolatier and our new favourite pub, and on the other side of the river is the village of Strathtay where our guest house, the church and the general store are located.

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