On Friday I got to visit TCHO (pronounced “choh!”) at their Pier 17 headquarters to learn about this young, premiere chocolate manufacturer. I felt an immediate connection with TCHO as I heard about their tech roots and realized how their values are similar to Mozilla’s. Here’s what stood out to me:
TCHO is obsessed. With great dark chocolate. With technology. With transparency. With innovation.
TCHO has strong tech roots. It was started by a NASA technologist and a chocolate industry veteran (think Willy Wonka). It’s led by the co-founders of Wired magazine.
TCHO is scrappy and high tech. It’s very much a chocolate start-up that has to make best use of its limited resources.
TCHO exists because of friends and family investing in a dream. Every employee is an owner.
TCHO beta tests. TCHO encourages their customers to help develop their products by participating in limited beta editions on their website. Beta participants are mailed candidates and can vote for their favorites online. I don’t know of any other chocolate company that actively invites their customers to help create new flavors and products. And yes, I made to sure to sign up for their beta program before leaving TCHO.
While I certainly love chocolate, TCHO is the first chocolate manufacturer that I support their values and culture in addition to their tasty products. Hershey’s, Godiva and Ghirardelli haven’t been able to create that strong relationship with me even after years of being a customer. TCHO was able to do that in less than an hour.
It’s difficult to find organizations similar to Mozilla, but TCHO’s values closely align with Mozilla’s. Their transparent, community-driven development process is unique in the chocolate industry. Their obsession with amazing chocolate is felt everywhere at their headquarters – the factory, the offices, and the store. It’s an exciting group to be part of, and I’m already planning my next visit to TCHO.