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Dessert menus: Profit powerhouses

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Here’s some sweet news that might surprise you: Desserts are on the rise.

Call it a backlash or a bonanza, but whatever you do, don’t overlook the opportunity to evaluate and strengthen your dessert offerings, because that’s what your guests are looking for. 40 percent of customers surveyed said they are eating desserts after meals at least twice a week, compared to just 36 percent three years ago, according to Technomic. That’s a big profit opportunity for restaurants.

Here are three simple tips for turning a sleepy dessert menu into a profit-building program that can increase check averages and boost your bottom line. 

Craveable combinations

Guests are becoming more adventurous and driving demand for sweet-and-salty combinations, savory flavors and artisanal creations on dessert menus nationwide.

Applebee's, for example, recently added Shorty Shakes to its dessert menu. Smaller in size than a traditional milkshake, the shakes are available in salted caramel and chocolate nut brownie flavors. The chain's dessert offerings also include Chimicheesecake, a fried tortilla with an appl-cheesecake filling. The dessert is topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce.

And don’t forget: Complex desserts offer an opportunity for cross-selling and pairing with other profitable after-dinner menu items, such as specialty coffees, cocktails, beer and wine.

Quality cues

Building quality cues into menu item names and descriptions can trigger increased ordering behavior. Featuring natural ingredients such as fresh fruits, nuts and honey, which have a healthy halo, appeal to guests who might not otherwise consider dessert.

Similarly, calling out popular brand-name ingredients in a dessert from well-known ice cream brands such as Edy’s® and Häagen-Dazs® to chocolates, wines and liquors, coffees and candies makes a quality promise that guests will pay a premium for.

Mini is big

Whether it’s their bite-sized appeal, shareability or reduced guilt factor, mini desserts continue to be a hot trend on dessert menus. More than 33 percent of consumers said they are more likely to order dessert if a mini portion is available, according to Technomic. Like savory small plates, mini-desserts let diners sample a variety of flavors, textures and dessert types. And mini-desserts can often offer mega-margins, compared with full-size plated presentations.

For more creative dessert inspirations, industry trends, and product news, be sure to visit NestleDreyersFoodservice.com

This post is sponsored by Edy's® Foodservice

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