Hotel Chocolat is an upmarket chocolatier and cocoa grower that trades through around 120 locations across the UK, and international outlets including Denmark, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York.
The company started out selling chocolates online in 1993, set up Chocolate Tasting Club in 1998, before opening the first-ever Hotel Chocolat store in 2004. In 2006, founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris bought the 250-year-old Rabot Estate cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia, becoming the only UK company to grow cocoa on its own plantation.
The vast majority of Hotel Chocolat’s operations are standalone stores, but it has also introduced Hotel Chocolat cafes, restaurants, tasting experiences and even a luxury hotel on the plantation in Saint Lucia. It also supplies the likes of Amazon and John Lewis on a wholesale basis.
The company was “born digital” and is a highly profitable business today – it claims to be one of the UK’s earliest etailers, and now generates nearly 20% of its sales online.
In 2016, Hotel Chocolate floated on London’s junior stock market AIM, raising around £55m to accelerate growth.