Food trends come and go, but the one treat that remains a universal favourite, year after year, is chocolate. This makes it the perfect hospitality gift. Unlike many other items, it’s equally popular with all age groups and across almost all cultures.
Perhaps it’s because of the cacao bean’s geographically and culturally diverse history. Chocolate is part of the world’s history. In ancient times, it was used as a spicy beverage, known as “God’s food”, by the Mayans. Later it was traded by the Aztecs and “discovered” by explorer Christopher Columbus. It led to a hot-chocolate craze in colonial Europe and was used to boost the weary spirits of soldiers in World War II. In modern times, chocolate features somehow in most special occasions.
Chocolate and satisfied customers
On their blog, lighten, researchers of customer experience strategies, say: “When it comes to customer service, it’s the small things that make a huge difference and that can make or break the customer experience.”
To satisfy new customers and encourage repeat customers, you should pay attention to every detail of customer service, always aiming to both anticipate and exceed customer expectations.
Sometimes this is harder in practice than in theory. What’s not difficult, or expensive, however, is offering each customer or guest a small token of appreciation, in the form of a chocolate. Sometimes a small gesture like this even makes up for shortcomings in customer service, winning you back a happy customer.
Chocolate’s universal appeal
Some scientific theories suggest why most people find chocolate so darn delicious.
Psychologist David Lewis suggests it’s neurological. A study of couples found that the act of letting a piece of chocolate dissolve on the tongue affects the body and brain much like a passionate kiss. The heart races and parts of the brain get an intense boost – but the buzz lingers four times longer than a smooch.
Said Lewis in a BBC article, “There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz.”
Apart from energy-boosting stimulants and endorphin-raising phenylethylamine, scientists say it’s the neurotransmitter anandamide, sometimes called “the bliss molecule”, that brings that chocolate “high”.
Chocolate and health
Is this high healthy, you may wonder?
Apparently, yes. One study showed that the polyphenols in cacao beans are so good for heart health that eating chocolate may lower the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Because the flavonols in chocolate increase blood flow to the brain, eating chocolate is also linked to improvement in short-term cognitive functioning.
Small, sweet and lingering
The luxury hospitality practice of leaving a chocolate on a guest’s pillow is said to have started at the Mayfair Hotel when actor Cary Grant left a trail of chocolates in his room to woo a woman he was courting. The impressed hotel manager decided every guest deserved such an experience.
Today luxury touches such as quality towels, robes and cosmetics are expected. If Although most guests are familiar with the custom of pillow chocolates, they never fail to be delightfully surprised by it.
Whether you place quality, melt-in-the-mouth chocolates on pillows or hand them to your guests or customers as they depart, you’ll be offering them a small, sweet, lingering gesture to remember you by.
In South Africa, Chocolate Time offers one of the widest selections of hotel, pillow and courtesy chocolates, attractively presented and customised to make a lasting impression on your customers.