facebook pixal

Meeting the demand for dessert to-go

Photograph courtesy of Sweet Street Desserts

Takeout and delivery are inescapable realities for most operators. Technomic’s 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise report found that 60% of operators are seeing more takeout delivery orders now than they were in 2016, and demand for delivery is projected to expand about 12% per year over the next five years.

Even better news: Off-premise customers tend to spend more on orders—sometimes a great deal more. Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise report found that 43% of consumers ages 18 to 34 (and 30% of consumers overall) say they purchased more food when they order it for takeout or delivery than when they dine in. Experts say having the leisure to peruse the menu online encourages add-on sales that would not be captured on the premises.

Promoting desserts is a smart play to capture even more of those dining dollars. In some ways the process is no different than for guests who are dining in. “Don’t forget dessert” or “Room for dessert?”-style online menu prompts that pop up during the ordering process are a solid way to drive clicks on the dessert category. On top of that, a menu that includes drool-inducing photos and captivating descriptions can also help seal the deal. Complete meal deals that tie in a choice of dessert open up yet another way to boost checks.

Offering choices that lend themselves to portability and making sure they are packaged in a way that preserves their integrity are two more strategies to drive incremental takeout and delivery sales and keep customers satisfied. And already portioned, ready-to-pack desserts enable operators to satisfy a wide variety of tastes.

Some desserts, like whole pies and giant cookies, can travel well in pizza boxes. But individually wrapped options, such as Sweet Street’s lineup, including cookies, brownies and bars fit the bill for convenience. Four packs of cupcakes designed for family meal orders (or any kind of cupcake lover) are perfect for those who want sweets for a crowd (or a second dessert later on). Visually striking bags and boxes ideal for accommodating a wide variety of individual and multipack items like cheesecake, bars, scones and other treats also help pique interest. Also available are box stickers, repack labels with nutritional labeling and bar codes, and countertop displays to encourage takeout orders.

Delivery packaging that keeps items separate and intact until they reach their destination is crucial. In the case of desserts with sauces, containers that keep sauce segregated are a smart solution. For frozen desserts such as ice cream treats, insulated bags and other tools are a must.

Which dessert categories rank highest? About half of consumers surveyed for Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report (51%) said they enjoyed fruit for dessert at least once per week. That was followed by cookies (40%), ice cream (40%), cake and cheesecake (28%) and other baked goods (28%). Three-quarters of consumers admit they are more likely to order dessert as a treat or reward. For the majority, ordering takeout or delivery represents a break from cooking, but the second most common reason to order out is to indulge a craving—for a favorite pizza, ribs, tacos, Chinese or other treat. Positioning craveable desserts alongside these popular foods puts them in good company.

This post is sponsored by Sweet Street Desserts

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know restaurant industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Restaurant Business on news and insights that matter to your brand.