More full-service restaurants are discovering how lucrative off-premise catering business can be: 64% of off-premise catering dollars are spent at restaurants (as opposed to a supermarket, club store, cafeteria, etc.), according to Technomic’s 2018 Catering Insights Program, and off-premise catering grew 5.8% from 2017 to 2018.
Promoting desserts as desirable add-ons can further sweeten restaurant catering sales. Here are five ways to boost dessert sales.
1. Put dessert first
List dessert offerings at the very top of the catering menu, enticing clients to save room for sweets as they peruse the other sections. Big, beautiful photos of signature desserts are a must: consumers may be more likely to buy if the item is accompanied by a photograph. The same sweets-first strategy applies to online ordering. Desserts should pop up on the very first page—with plenty of pretty pictures, of course.
2. Give customers a taste
When regular clients place their next catering order, including a sampler package of mini desserts for free will introduce customers to the range of the restaurant’s dessert offerings and delivery/takeout packaging and prime the pump for future dessert sales. Alternatively, with catering deliveries, include coupons inviting customers to stop in at the restaurant for a dessert on the house; this can also help drive dine-in dollars from takeout/delivery orders. Showcase dessert offerings with samplings at local festivals and other community events—and prominently display catering menus.
3. Target the sweet spot
There are plenty of opportunities for dessert-focused events. For example, look to promote desserts for business breakfast meetings, when treats such as sweet breads, scones, croissants and coffeecakes pair well with the usual savory morning offerings. And when the crew has to work late nights at the office, some employers order in treats to reward and energize staffers—which is the perfect opportunity for operators to deliver shareable whole cakes or cheesecakes or a tray of mini-desserts, along with a satellite server of hot coffee. And don’t forget birthday parties—for both kids and adults.
4. Offer wholesome indulgences
Customers can feel good about ordering desserts made with clean, better-for-you ingredients. For example, virtually all of Sweet Street’s portfolio of over 300 desserts are non-GMO, free of artificial additives and use only rBST-free dairy. Sweet Street’s Manifesto® line of products start with all-butter dough, pure cane sugar, sustainable chocolates and cage-free eggs.
Invest in labels for food packages that clearly identify the items, along with any serving or reheating suggestions. This is also the place to tout the fact that desserts are prepared with clean, better-for-you ingredients. Similarly, include table-tents with pertinent info on the menu items. Including the restaurant’s logo and address on packaging and table-tents can help drive new customers for catering, take-out and delivery and dine-in occasions.
5. Cater to dietary concerns
In a crowd of any size there are bound to be attendees with dietary restrictions and other concerns. Consider offering gluten-free options. Sweet Street can help with a selection of certified gluten-free desserts, like a Flourless Chocolate Torte. Be sure to clearly label all such specialized items and call them out on table-tents. Cross-contamination can be a concern to those on specialized diets. Reassure those guests with individually wrapped treats like Honduran Chocolate Manifesto® Gluten-free Brownies or Chewy Marshmallow Manifesto® Gluten Free Bars which are certified gluten free.
By hyping up dessert options, putting them front and center on menus and giving customers a chance to try before they buy, restaurants can easily boost participation in dessert with catering orders.
This post is sponsored by Sweet Street Desserts