Kitkat Chocolatory Now Flowing At Yorkdale

North America’s first interactive KitKat Chocolatory brings fun, excitement and whimsy to your own KitKat-making creative experience.

When we think of chocolate lovers in the world, we may think of the Swiss or perhaps those living in Germany or Belgium. But how about the Japanese?

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With the popularity of the novel KitKat Chocolatory pop-up shop last year in downtown Toronto, KitKat was led to establish North America and Canada’s first permanent KitKat Chocolatory in November 2019 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

When Canadians were introduced to this original concept, and upon learning more about it and searching its background further, many were surprised to learn Japan already has eight permanent KitKat Chocolatories in urban centres to satisfy the country’s seemingly never-ending sweet tooth.

So, just what is a Chocolatory, anyway? It’s a clever and highly experiential approach to retail marketing and brand building in support of KitKat by owner Nestle. In these fun-filled and interactive chocolate emporiums in highly desirable retail destinations, guests can create their own personalized KitKat bars.

Originally introduced in Britain in the 1930s by chocolate manufacturer Rowntree, KitKats are now sold in more than 100 countries. They were first exported to Japan in 1973 and became an instant hit, leading Nestle to experiment with its KitKat Chocolatory concept. The concept is popular from Hokkaido to Osaka to Tokyo, including massively popular and extremely large Chocolatories in such high-rent districts as Shinjuku and Ginza in Tokyo. KitKat Chocolatories can also be found in Brazil, Malaysia and Australia.

Now Canada has joined in the fun, and the KitKat Chocolatory at Yorkdale is introducing new features, further elevating the chocolate bar–making experience.

The Yorkdale location was carefully chosen to be the home of Canada’s first permanent KitKat Chocolatory. It is one of Canada’s largest shopping centres, pulls in both locals and tourists, is connected by the TTC and attracts many new Canadians. It is also Canada’s most productive shopping centre in sales per square foot, and it may surpass the $2,000 mark next year.

At Yorkdale, the designers for KitKat Chocolatory have created a bright, fun, loud and immersive 1,200-squarefoot space, which immediately creates excitement and the urge to roll up your sleeves and create your own bar with hands-on customization.

“KitKat Chocolatory is about creative expression and inspiring people to reimagine the flavour possibilities at their fingertips,” says Ryan Saunders, vice-president of marketing, Nestle Canada. “We are thrilled to be bringing KitKat Chocolatory to North America, where every KitKat becomes a canvas, making a break and something you can take but also create.”

At the Yorkdale location, visitors can explore their inner chocolatier and make their own custom KitKat bar using white, dark or milk chocolate. There are more than 2,000 different flavour combinations, and visitors can choose from a menu of 16 premium ingredients to customize their bar with a personalized name or message, selecting three ingredients to top their bar. These provide a variety of flavours from choices that include rainbow sprinkles, rose petals, mini-marshmallows and even peanut butter chips or rippled potato chips, among others.

The KitKat Chocolatory puts visitors at the heart of the innovation process, and it may be especially attractive to the younger demographic, who like to put their own personalized stamp on everything for their social media postings.

A customized Create Your Break bar costs $15, which is more than at a supermarket, but the quality, flavour and overall experience are well worth it. For gifting, KitKat Chocolatory offers gift boxes, gift cards and personalized greeting cards just in time for the holiday season.

This exclusive retail space was the brainchild of designers OneMethod and Model/Ctzn. Both worked closely with Vaughan, Ont. – based Unique Store Fixtures, which was responsible for the production of the millwork, stone countertops, metal and signage.

Everything about the KitKat Chocolatory is full of fun, whimsy and imagination, and its design has many references to the bar itself. White floor tiles mimic the shape of a KitKat, while the lighting on the ceiling appear to be pieces of a bar. And the dark chocolate wood tones on Unique’s millwork located under tables and on the ceiling reference chocolate. All the designers worked closely together, with a highly co-ordinated and synchronized approach, to make the opening deadline.

“We have no doubt this will be a retail destination within Yorkdale and a magnet for chocolate lovers across the GTA” — Ferro Corrente, Chief Operating Officer, Unique Store Fixtures

“Unique was extremely capable of converting our very intricate, highly coordinated design into a functional built form in a very limited timeframe,” says Justin Vinet, senior environmental designer with Model/Ctzn. “Unique gave us faith every step of the process.”

For Unique and its 100 full-time craftspeople, engineers and store display designers, this KitKat Chocolatory adds to its impressive array of leading global clients, such as Tiffany’s, Gucci and Bergdorf Goodman. “We have no doubt this will be a retail destination within Yorkdale and a magnet for chocolate lovers across the GTA,” says Ferro Corrente, chief operating officer, Unique.

The heart of the Chocolatory is the open kitchen, where visitors can watch their customized KitKat bars being made to order by a team of chocolatiers. Making its world debut at the Yorkdale location is The Chef ’s Table Experience. This is a one-of-a-kind interactive component and immersive journey through the making of a KitKat bar, designed especially for the Toronto store and led by head chocolatier Christopher Neamtu, who may have one of the sweetest jobs anywhere.

There is a reason chocolate is the most popular sweet treat in the world. A small nibble is indeed a break and can make a bad day better. The average British, Swiss or German citizen eats 24 pounds of chocolate per year, the same amount of seafood they eat. And the annual worldwide consumption of chocolate is estimated to be a staggering 7.2 million metric tons, with Asian markets now responsible for 20 per cent of that consumption.

But most don’t consume it like you can at a KitKat Chocolatory, where fun, excitement, creativity and imagination are just as important as the chocolate you choose.

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Rick Muller

Rick Muller