Taylor & Grant
How pleasing it is at the end of one’s meal in a restaurant to be gifted with just one more treat in the form of a hard candy, mint, or perhaps a chocolate. The impact of that treat can be lasting, as it leaves a sweet impression and a memory of the brand, should it be imprinted on the candy wrapper.
The universal appeal of confections is even more vital today, when so many businesses are seeking avenues to give back to clients while also getting their logo or brand name into pockets and our consciousness.
No one understands this happy intersection of confection and commerce better than Taylor & Grant, manufacturers of quality candies based in Waterloo, Ontario. Taylor & Grant has the unique opportunity to create a positive impression on a company or customer’s experience be it fun, noteworthy, charming or educational.
Serving customers since 1993, the company produces personalized corporate food gifts that serve as an advertising specialty, for instance, those candies from your favourite restaurant or a chocolate on a hotel pillow. Initially a seasonal and holiday corporate gift business, Taylor & Grant quickly expanded, or “deseasonalized”, as President Dundee Staunton put it, to produce a “broad offering” of year-round promotional items and growing into one of the leading suppliers in this category in North America.
“Our business is split between promotional items and the food service industry at about 85/15 per cent, respectively,” says Staunton. Taylor & Grant manufactures, prints, packages and ships its customer orders from its 36,000 square foot Kosher-certified facility. “It is important to our broader marketplace while it is also lends a further element of credibility and validation to our product line and our processes,” says Staunton, of his COR certification.
“Our creativity drives customers,” exclaims Staunton. “We have always emphasized that it distinguishes between our line and our competitors, in that we look for unique items and that we develop much of our own packaging.”
On the promotional side, Taylor & Grant understands that packaging makes the immediate impact on the client because it carries their logo or message, so it must have strong visual appeal. To continually produce innovative and engaging packaging, the team holds weekly product development meetings and is constantly turning over new ideas, always striving to maintain uniqueness.
The company’s manufacturing capability is the engine that drives Taylor & Grant, who have tailored a lean production line, designed for maximum efficiency. To accomplish this, Taylor & Grant has chosen to manufacture some of its core products, like breath mints—a staple product—in many small tins, developing its own formulations, in strict compliance with FDA regulations.
To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, a company must understand its customers’ wants and needs and design processes to meet their expectations and requirements. “We offer our customers flexibility in terms of what they want to offer to their clients and that is through a combination of those manufacturing capabilities and also our sourcing through a variety of relationships,” says Staunton.
The packaging is first class; it’s what one first notices when looking at the Taylor & Grant product line. According to Staunton, this is the result of years spent developing excellent decoration capabilities and a recent expansion of its digital imprinting facilities, unrivalled amongst competitors.
“We are engaged in an ongoing program of continuous improvement that involves all of our employees in reducing waste in our operations. We do not expect our customers to pay for processes that are not providing value to them,” says Staunton.
What that has done, among other benefits, is to reduce the cycle time of customer orders. “We can deliver many more items on a much shorter time frame than we were able to do in the past. That translates into improved sales opportunities and the ability for our customers to present our line more effectively to their clients,” adds Staunton.
Beyond the packaging, the sensory impact of the food is excellent; that’s where Taylor & Grant’s expertise of “drawing on relationships we have built with suppliers who have developed a particular competence in a product area themselves” comes in. “We have always found that the message is retained much more strongly by someone if there is a combination of sensory elements. We have the visual impact of the packaging, and the taste impact of the candy or other food, so those two products are important year round for us. During the fourth quarter, we move into the realm of corporate gifts, which are larger and include everything from boxes and towers of chocolates and nuts to food-related items like wine openers. For the dollar, there is tremendous impact.”
“The packaging and the product both have to be first class, otherwise the overall experience falls short,” acknowledges Staunton. “We really measure ourselves as a company in our ability to enhance the experience, whether it’s a corporate event, an individual milestone or someone leaving a restaurant with a candy in their mouth.”
Taylor & Grant is fundamentally about food and drink. The focus has led them to be leaders in the market. They have not chosen, like some of its competitors, to branch into other products. Rather, they are dedicated specialists in its product segment. Taylor & Grant is well positioned to take advantage of further opportunities in both the promotional and food service segments as those markets recover and it will achieve further growth through participation in niche retail opportunities.
At the core of Taylor & Grant’s product line is its fine edibles. Furthermore, the company considers the impact on the environment from the materials used in its packaging. Its tins, mint cards, boxes and paper products, most of which have keepsake value themselves and are reusable, are eligible for most community recycling programs. Printed materials are produced using FSC paper with post-consumer content and have generally been reduced in favour of electronic transmissions. Among other initiatives, the company is experimenting with biodegradable packaging for certain products and it has reduced effluent volume from its printing operations through the introduction of alternative, more efficient processes.