Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker

By Michael Hannan, Greta Hsu
2004 | Case No. OB46
On April 26, 2003, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker opened its second retail store in the newly renovated San Francisco Ferry Building. It joined a number of other prestigious artisan food and specialty retail shops at this prime location at the foot of San Francisco’s Market Street. The opening of this second store took place as Scharffen Berger was in the midst of rapid expansion. The company had recently raised $4 million in its second round of funding, and it had been growing at an average rate of 60% over the past five years. As the first new chocolate making company to open its doors in the U.S. in the last 50 years, Scharffen Berger had achieved unprecedented success in an industry dominated by a handful of large-scale producers. Since they first set up shop in 1996, the company’s two founders—John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg—gained national attention for their high-quality chocolate produced with small-scale European artisanal methods. Through their dedication to quality, Scharffen Berger became a media darling and an important player in the burgeoning gourmet chocolate industry. Maintaining its carefully-developed reputation for quality while expanding production capabilities was likely to be a key issue for the company as it continued to grow. OB50 is abridged version of case.
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