Premium branded chocolate manufacturer

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company has a 160-year history of making distinctively rich, slow-melting premium chocolate. It is one of the few companies in the U.S. that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process – from cocoa bean to the finished product. Its product line includes branded confection, gift, and baking items, as well as industrial products for the confection, bakery, dairy, and food service industries. Ghiradelli markets its products through national retailers and industrial channels and through its own signature retail shops.

The Value Creation Opportunity

Ghirardelli had created strong national brand awareness, particularly on the West Coast. In 1996, the Kainos team saw an opportunity to dramatically grow this leading confectionery brand through product innovation and greater retail distribution, including additional Ghiradelli branded stores. The Ghirardelli team sought a partner with a shared vision who had a strong industry network and could help the Company expand its distribution while also investing in innovation and operational efficiency.

Change Capital At Work

Our team and Ghirardelli’s management supplemented the Company’s talent with the addition of product development, sales and marketing executives who could drive product innovation and retail relationships.  This new team led the introduction of ten new products including branded baking mixes, ingredients, beverage products and food service products for coffee shops.

We also completed the acquisition of Burke Chocolate Company, adding an additional facility to our network to better service Midwest and East Coast consumers. The Kainos team worked with Ghirardelli to strengthen the Company’s pricing strategies and implement operational efficiencies at its plants, resulting in stronger gross margins.

With expanded distribution capabilities and a new product assortment, Ghirardeilli was able to significantly increase its third party retail sales. Additionally, to add to its iconic retail presence at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, we worked with the Company to open additional locations, including in Harrah’s Las Vegas, Walt Disney World and Chicago’s Miracle Mile.

In 1998, Ghiradelli was acquired by Lindt & Sprungli, a global leader in premium chocolate for over 170 years in more than 120 countries around the world.