HomePlacesBanyan Tree Chocolate & Café in Sarasota, Florida

Banyan Tree Chocolate & Café in Sarasota, Florida

(This article appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

Morag Reid, Owner Company Mission

To introduce and educate our customers in the world of fine chocolate using a variety of products that combine traditional techniques and American style, but most importantly showcases the variety of flavors in our bonbons, truffles, and other products.    

Signature Product

We are best known for our bonbons. People come to us because they know they will get a choice of traditional flavors and flavors that will challenge their palate. We collaborate with and source many of our ingredients from local companies and incorporate their products to create an intense hit of flavor; they never have to guess what’s in it. We also have an amazing chocolate cake that’s truly decadent, made with rich chocolate sponge and Swiss buttercream that we sell by the piece or whole, often for birthdays.

Production Tip

The one thing about chocolate is that it’s fickle and requires patience and love. If you try to take shortcuts or speed things up, you’ll end up taking longer than if you’d taken the time to let it do its thing.

Equipment “Must-Have”

I love my tempering machines! I have three – one automatic and two semi-automatic. They are called Francesca, Thelma and Louise. I don’t have all fully automatic one, due to cost. But they all save me so much time, energy and money. I wouldn’t be able to produce nearly as much as I do without them. I still hand-temper when I need smaller amounts or a specialty chocolate, but my tempering machines save us a lot of headaches.

Secret of Success

One thing that has made us successful is producing a quality product and not compromising on that, sticking to the brand. I see other companies introducing other products that don’t really reflect their brand; it’s just one more thing to sell and detracts from the main product. Another factor was reaching out to those in the community around us and building relationships, as well as forming partnerships with other small businesses. Also, being active on social media; we are located in an odd location away from downtown or the beaches, so it was necessary to find ways to drive people to our location. 

Future Goals

When I first took over the business it was a mish-mash of several different brands and products. I’ve spent the last four years streamlining it and cutting certain aspects of the business. Now I think the time has come to expand it again, but within our brand; what makes us “us”. Every summer we produce a very small number of bean-to-bars. I would dearly love to expand on that so we can produce year-round. We just need to secure funding to enable us to get there.

Visit www.banyantreechocolate.com for more info

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