Jérôme Grimonpon was elected Chocolatier of the Year 2020 by the Gault&Millau guide. It is a very endearing, humble personality that I had the opportunity to interview in this podcast. Together we look back at his career as an entrepreneur and the recipes he has put in place to maintain his enthusiasm and develop his business.
A belated entrepreneur
Jérôme Grimonpon is French. He was trained to work with chocolate in Belgium, but he only started his entrepreneurial career 6 years ago, after an already busy career in other companies. The uncertainties of life have pushed Jérôme to become “self-employed”:
«I came to Belgium to study chocolate […]. I worked in a chocolate factory, which, unfortunately, no longer exists. Afterwards, I worked for 13 years for another company, supplier to the Court, where I was in charge of production for 7 years. The way this company was going was becoming more and more industrial, and I didn’t like it as much, so I wanted to go back to a smaller structure, and that’s when I had the opportunity to open my own company».
Established in the south of Brussels, in the green commune of Uccle, Jérôme first settled in a small 45m² area where he sold and produced. With the help of his fame, he took some risks which allowed him to flourish.
How to double your customers in 12 months
The characteristic of every entrepreneur is to feel the pulse of his market and to adapt his growth trajectory accordingly. As Jerome’s market is above all local, he had no trouble seeing that it was reacting positively to his offer. He was, therefore, able to take some risks and chose to move to larger premises, only 200 metres from his first location. A wise decision that allowed him not to change -too much- the habits of existing customers, while seeking better exposure and a greater ability to satisfy the clientele.
« A year and a half ago, I moved my business. In the beginning, I had a small structure of 45 m², where I had a workshop and a shop. It was relatively compact. I have recently moved to an area of 150 m². I made a shop with a tea-room overlooking the workshop. I have a bay window that allows you to see the entire chocolate-making process. It’s been a pleasant evolution, and I didn’t move very far. I moved 200 metres, and I saw my clientele double. It was a massive step for me ».
Reception, service, fresh products, innovation are the different ingredients of Jérôme Grimonpon to satisfy his customers and develop their loyalty. This knowledge of the clientele and his local anchoring are now helping him to overcome the crisis.
Objectives achieved despite the coronavirus crisis
A little like Monsieur Jourdain who was doing verse without realising it, the discreet Jérôme Grimonpon is doing marketing (and very well!). You can sense in him a real communicative passion for the product, and the coronavirus crisis has not stopped him. While in confinement (during the Easter holidays) he set up home deliveries; a marketing strategy that is made easier as his clientele is local. And it worked! The customers remained loyal. One can even bet that this home delivery service will have strengthened the ties with the customers and that customer loyalty will be further improved as a result.
Tags: hospitality, market research belgium