Although the shift toward health and wellness has changed the way many consumers eat, dining away from home is often an excuse to indulge. Most customers still love to end a restaurant meal with something sweet. Operators have long capitalized on this opportunity; in fact, over 90 percent of all restaurants offer some variation of dessert, according to a recent report from Chicago-based research company Datassential. Notably, QSR dessert menus have grown significantly since 2005.
With so many locations offering consumers the chance to indulge, how can operators differentiate their dessert menus from those of their competitors? For some, the answer lies in incorporating flavors and formats from around the world.
Aligning with the global-flavors trend, offering ethnic-inspired desserts can be as simple as tweaking menu items consumers already enjoy. For example, Asian desserts are on the rise, according to Datassential, so operators could incorporate flavors such as green tea, red bean or yuzu into familiar sweets for an approachable twist.
For example, Slurping Turtle, a polished-casual concept in Chicago, offers classic macarons in raspberry wasabi, yuzu, kaffir lime and chocolate-sesame flavors, among others. Likewise, Krispy Kreme offers a donut filled with dulce de leche, a popular Latin dessert flavor.
Other operators have found success by borrowing formats from ethnic cuisines. Casual-dining chain Applebee’s recently menued a “chimicheesecake,” a twist on the popular Mexican dish chimichangas. The dessert features a fried tortilla with an apple-cheesecake filling. By cross-utilizing ingredients from the savory side of the menu and adding a few sweet elements, it’s possible to create globally influenced desserts without too much effort or expense.
This post is sponsored by Knouse Foodservice