While Red Cacao began only three years ago as a small, boutique chocolate maker, they have seen gradual expansion within that time; their annual business growth rate of 50 percent has earned them a reputation as a hotspot within the Adelaide Hills region, and their weekend dessert bar is always bringing customers back. “We have a café menu which operates throughout the day, and the value of those products will vary from a coffee all the way through to dessert platters that we have, waffles, and things like that,” says Director Marcus Booth-Remmers. “We do offer a chocolate and coffee experience – which is what we’ve become really well-known for – where we actually do chocolate and coffee matching.
We’ll select single-origin coffee beans from around the world and match that up with truffles and chocolates to combine the flavours, which is a really interesting and unique thing as well. The dessert nights that we do, that’s more like actual plated desserts; a restaurant-style menu where you can actually choose from three, four, or five different desserts at any one time, then you actually get served as if it was in an actual restaurant for fine-dining, which is really good fun.”
The confection and dessert game is one that is constantly changing, and Booth-Remmers understands the importance of not only staying current, but striving for consistency of product and service despite the constant pressure of change; this dedication and commitment to value has heeded two Best Dessert Bar Awards for Red Cacao, on behalf of the Restaurant & Catering Awards. “That has a lot of discipline, and making sure that we maintain that day in and day out, every single minute, every single hour that we’re open,” he says. “So, it’s definitely consistency and excellent products. It’s actually two years in a row now that we’ve won that. We won it last year, and then did the double and got it again this year; that basically highlights us as the premier place for desserts in Australia, which is fantastic.”
Healthy relationships within industry have always been instrumental to success at Red Cacao; these help solidify the supply chain that ensures quality products and services. “You can’t deliver a consistent product, or an exceptional product, if you don’t have those relationships,” says Booth-Remmers. “If you’re getting low on something or there’s a shortage in that supply, if you’re looking after suppliers, they’ll look after you first – that’s really important. Just as a holistic business as well, to make sure that we’re not cutthroat against each other. It’s about working together. Personally, that’s really important to me. It’s one of our morals and ethics, and it’s built us really strong on that basis. For us, industry associations are a really good chance to network. You get to get out there, look at other businesses, meet other people, talk to other people – which is also an important aspect of it. You get to learn a lot if you’ve got your ears open, listen to what other people are doing and going through, and also get some tips and tricks from other industry experts as well.”
Booth-Remmers believes that an upcoming shortage of product within the next few years may present an issue, as raw chocolate prices may increase drastically; however, this provides an opportunity for industry leaders to think creatively in order to guarantee the best product for their customers, despite any quantity setbacks. “Whatever you are doing dessert-wise or café-wise, you have to make sure you stay on point as far as trends are concerned,” he says. “The industry definitely expires very quickly, so your business needs to look and feel quite different than what it did three to six years ago. So, you have to maintain that, which means you’ve got to remain flexible as well. You have to be on your feet and ready to move and change.”
Receiving two consecutive excellence awards for his own business reminded Booth-Remmers of the sense of confidence and achievement he felt as a young chef; he hopes to increase that feeling in the coming years by continuing to provide award-winning products and services to his own customers. “When we would receive those awards, it was a really big thing for the business and for the whole team,” he says. “Now, to be doing that personally and knowing that award goes directly to what I’ve created is huge. So, for the future, we’d love to see ourselves do three in a row on this particular award; that would just be incredible. We always want to improve the product, so we want to make sure that we’re innovative in what we’re doing as well. We want to see two or three new products released every two or three months.
We’re looking at streamlining our production facility to make sure that’s operating and producing faultless product, yet always expanding in our actual mind-frames and what we’d like to offer to our customers. The region we’re in is actually something that’s a bit special. Adelaide Hills is just sitting outside of Adelaide; that gives us a really nice rationality, allowing us to look at other local producers of the area. That’s something that we’re really passionate about, saying we support the dairy farmers or orange producers of the region. We’d like to really make ourselves part of that community as a regional business.”