Meet the Manager: Hotel Chocolat.

We love getting to know the teams in our stores and restaurants and introducing them to you! So this week, we caught up with the manager of one of our newest stores – Shamila from Hotel Chocolat and here’s what she’s got to say about her passion for her product, life at Market Place and beyond…

What is your job role?

Store Manager

What is special about Hotel Chocolat?

Hotel Chocolat is one of the world’s few chocolate makers to actually grow cocoa, which we do at our beautiful Rabot Estate plantation in Saint Lucia. Connecting cocoa-growing with luxury chocolate making and retailing, makes Hotel Chocolat unique in the UK, and gives Hotel Chocolat an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact the final flavour of our chocolate, right from the growing tree.

We create our own recipes, make our own chocolates at our chocolate factory and see the joy they bring in person at our 110 stores – and counting.

Centuries ago, Mayans revered the potent cocoa bean as a gift from the gods, but somewhere along the way its power has been lost in translation. As sugar prices have dropped, British chocolate has focused increasingly on sweetness. Today, sugar is 20 times cheaper than cocoa, and a typical bar of milk chocolate contains more than twice as much sugar as cocoa. Hotel Chocolat’s mantra has always been ‘More Cocoa, Less Sugar’. Cocoa will always be our number-one ingredient, even in milk and white chocolate.

What are you responsible for?

I am responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day supervision of my store, including sales, staff, stock and resources management. Part of this role is proactively educating our guests about our products and our brand to deliver 100% happiness and exceed their expectations. I am also responsible for providing excellent leadership to build and inspire my team and maximising commercial opportunities to drive store sales and deliver KPI targets.

What is your typical day like?

Getting excited over new products, tasting chocolate, training the team, feedback to the District Manager and providing amazing VIP service to all the guests. It also involves a great deal of visual merchandising, to make the store look visually appealing to all our guests.

What is your favourite sweet treat?

It has to be the Patisserie H-Box – the best-loved cakes, bakes and puddings, recreated with all the flair, imagination and skill of an artisan chocolatier. A dessert lover’s treat.

Most popular item at Hotel Chocolat?

The Velvetiser In-home hot chocolate system. Imagined by Hotel Chocolat, engineered by Dualit. You’ll get Barista-grade hot chocolate, as served in Hotel Chocolat cafés, velvetised at the touch of a button. Then there’s the VIPME Loyalty card: Our new rewards scheme, which you can sign up to in store to receive 15% off your next purchase and a whole host of other VIP benefits including a surprise gift on your birthday and exclusive offers and previews.

What is the most fun part of your job?

Working with an amazing company who are passionate about chocolate and the people who work for them. Trying new chocolate and putting a smile on the face of every guest that walks through my store.

Is there anything you dislike?

Nothing.

What is special about Market Place and Bolton?

Market Place is an upcoming shopping centre that caters for all ages, one destination for food, shopping and entertainment. Bolton is a nice town with lovely people.

Will there be any offers or promotions available in the coming weeks?

We have launched Valentine’s in store and we have three amazing products to look forward to this Valentine’s: Love Potions: The real zing. Shake up your Valentine’s Day with colourful chocolate cocktails made with real pressed fruit. Art of Love: Caramel-milk chocolate heart, hand-finished with 22-carat gold.  And finally the Straight From the Heart Chocolate Box: Vintage glamour served with 35 stunning chocolates.

Tell us your favourite thing in the world?

My favourite holiday destination is Dubai – a mix of modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment.