Best Hot Chocolate in Ireland branded so poorly

I bring many people to O’Connaill’s if they’ve never been before. This Cork based chocolatier make the best hot chocolate around and come the good weather (July 22nd – 24th in 2008) they’ll also be doing amazing chocolate milkshakes. They only use couverture chocolate in their products which makes them really nice. So many people (inc Cork natives) don’t know about the O’Connaill’s store on French Church Street in Cork and I often feel they could advertise the place much better by just changing their cups. This is one of the cups they use:


They already have queues out the door most Saturdays but generally that’s because they don’t have enough staff perhaps. They have gorgeous chocolates, amazing hot chocolate and they do nice coffees and other bits and pieces too. But they could use the people that visit them to get word out even more. I wonder if they did something like specially coloured cup tops or even the coffee holders with their name or some design which would get attention, could they spread the word more? Not so much boutique cups and chocs, though they are luxury at a good price but something setting them apart. Or are they happy with the business they currently have?

Imagine a chocolatier where it’s not just the experience of the damned fine chocolate that makes them great but the kick of introducing new people to them too? Imagine any product being able to get customers to do that? Is this what Apple does in a way? Every iPhone buyer seems to be an evangelist, is every Vista buyer? Apart from an awesome product, how do you make it easy for a customer to be an evangelist for it?

17 Responses to “Best Hot Chocolate in Ireland branded so poorly”

  1. Such a simple and powerfull marketing opportunity. Its daft they dont use it. I wonder if they think they are saving money by not getting the cups printed.
    A few stats:
    Average impressions number approximately 7 people per cup and have a viewing window of about 15 minutes. And if it tastes as good as you say i am sure there is a smile to go with each cup as well.

    Slightly related bit of fun:

  2. Donal says:

    Totally agree with ya, they’re a bit hidden away but they could do more to get them out in the open. They had a stall out on Patrick St last week which was the first time I had their hot chocolate which was very nice!

    By the way, is this you slipping in a little subtle advertising? How many hot chocolates is this earning you?

  3. Ben says:

    Too much hype surrounded this post.

    Im tired now….

  4. […] Damien Mulley has discovered the best hot chocolate in Ireland (O’Connaill’s  in Cork) and wonders if they couldn’t do a better job at marketing themselves. […]

  5. Mr T says:

    The coffee may be nice, but the Mocha is plain and simply Fantastic. WOW.
    A little roll of stickers and they’d solve their marketing problem.

  6. David Scannell says:

    They have a stall at the farmers market in Midleton every saturday morning.

    I love the apple drops they sell and the range hot chocolates they do like the chilli one.

  7. James says:

    I’m getting my easter egg from there.

  8. kirstie says:

    more like NO branding. I’ll be down next weekend, must check them out

  9. Ben says:

    Look how much publicity / talk has been brought up by NO branding on a cup of hot chocolate eh

  10. seanbonner says:

    This place was amazing. Exactly the kind of thing that should be posted on Cork Metblogs… oh wait.. um…


  11. Ben says:

    It cant be THAT good ? Can it?

  12. Zaniac says:

    My friend works there, so one can assume I get a little discount. I love it though, so good, I got one of their home kits for Christmas and It’s unreal. They have a little cart that comes to UCC once a week too, but there’s not as great a selection there. Best hot choc ever though I totally agree.

  13. To get a really good cup done actually costs quite a bit of money. You really need to order 50k to get something nice done, particularly something like a fancy-coloured lid. You can get cheaper cups printed, but they just aren’t well insulated enough to be safe when holding hot liquid. They could get something printed on the holder, but it really isn’t that great.

    Butlers are probably the crowd to chase on this. But their order quantities are very big.

    There is also the problem of scaling up a business that sells what is essentially an artisan product. The easiest and possibly the best way to grow the profitability of the business might be to just put up the prices. Nobody likes to hear that, but it’s true.

  14. Antoin perhaps it would cost that much if you go the traditional route but to be honest i think that route is a bit lazy. You can so easily end up looking like so many others which is back to the original problem. Its an artisan product, so they should approach it different. Mr T above points out a great, simple and cheap option with a roll of stickers. With the right design it could look awesome, unique and above all cheap as it uses off the shelf commodity items.

  15. Will says:

    Well they have custom printed chocolate bars, so the sticker option is available to them.

    Or are they looking in to franchising? Imagine all that chocolate across the country (and near Sean B)

    Then again, any idea if they are going to make up a website?

  16. Actually not that cheap to print nice stickers, and it is a good bit of work to apply them properly, if the sticker is at all big. The problem is that the cup is cone shaped, not cylindrical so it takes a bit of a knack to get it aligned. Between printing, sticking, wastage and buying the actual cup, it could easily cost you 25c or 30c/cup. The margin just isn’t that big on a cup of coffee or chocolate. You’d probably be better off doing the 50k run.

    They could print the paper holder. But it’s really not a great result, and the holders are a nuisance anyway, you’d be better off with a properly insulated cup. Stil, there might be something that could be done.

    It isn’t *that* expensive to do 50,000 cups, if you are sure you are happy with the brand and you have a steady business. Still, I can see why a small business owner would be reluctant to do it. (You also have to be sure you have the storage space.)

    It does always seem like the problem of small-quantity, quality, branded coffee cups must have an obvious solution. But a friend and myself have been looking for a couple of years, and we haven’t found one yet. Best hope seems to be to do a reasonably big run.

  17. Mind you, I was checking and I see that black lids are available around and about and that would be an interesting change right away. You can order printed double-wall at 10,000 which provides some insulation. But not quite the perfect cup.