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John Lewis to open cocoa bar café in Edinburgh store

DEPARTMENT store chain John Lewis is to open a Hotel Chocolat cocoa bar café in its Edinburgh store as part of a drive to improve its food offering to customers.

CAFÉ CULTURE: A Hotel Chocolat cocoa café will open in Edinburgh early next year and small batches of chocolates will be made on site. Picture: John Lewis

Scheduled for opening early next year, this is the first time Hotel Chocolat has placed a catering concession with a major high street retailer. Small batches of chocolates will be made at the outlet.

Angus Thirlwell, chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: "We already have a strong relationship with John Lewis as our chocolate is one of the department store's best-selling gift food lines.

"This new venture is exciting for both our brands."

The café will offer a cocoa-inspired menu and will have a conch on site to process cocoa from bean to chocolate.

Mr Thirwell added: "As cocoa growers ourselves we are able to really draw on this exciting ingredient, and our unique new menu in John Lewis offers a delicious concoction of both sweet and savoury dishes."

Another Hotel Chocolat cafe will follow in York while John Lewis also plans an outlet of healthy juice and sandwich chain Joe & The Juice in its Solihull store as it explores new ways of attracting customers into its stores.

Andrew Murphy, the Scot who is retail director at employee-owned John Lewis, said: "Food is a big part of our customers' lives. These collaborations will take our offer one step further, inspiring customers with exceptional food and drink freshly prepared in our shops.

"We want to create more compelling reasons than ever for customers to visit our shops, and partnering with two such inspiring brands will be a real draw."

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