Consumers may be becoming more health conscious, but the sweet tooth is still winning out when it comes to dessert consumption. Approximately “40% of consumers say they’re eating desserts after a meal at least twice weekly – compared to 36% just three years ago,” according to a new Technomic report.
The desire for dessert has led to the launch of many dessert-only restaurants, which offer guests the option to treat themselves without the obligation of eating an entire meal. Finale in Boston, The Solstice in Chicago and others offer guests the luxury of a dessert-only dining experience.
Foodservice operators don’t need to go so far as to move to a dessert-only experience, however. Guests embracing and ordering desserts is a big opportunity for all types of foodservice businesses, which means operators should do everything they can to encourage guests to say, “Show me the dessert menu.”
Make Dessert Irresistible
What makes a guest accept or decline dessert? Much of it is psychological. People are more likely to order dessert when they’re happy, feel that they’ve done something to deserve a reward or don’t feel as indulgent because someone will split the dessert with them.
Some of this is out of an operator’s control, but providing excellent service and an exceptional dining experience will help ensure the guest is happy and feeling at ease.
The next step is looking at the menu. Chefs successfully entice guests with ever-changing menus featuring both new and reoccurring seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, fruit or a less indulgent presentation through ingredients like frozen yogurt.
Offering a mini version of traditional desserts is another popular approach because it appeals to guests’ desires for something sweet while easing their conscience. This provides a sweet treat with a less indulgent perception.
Finally, follow trends of what guests are looking for, such as customized beverages from hot chocolate to milkshakes and delicious after-dinner cocktails. Be creative and offer your own take on what already exists in the marketplace. Offering items with similarities to traditional desserts tempts guests without them worrying about the unknown.
Guests will always love dessert, so entice them to say, “Show me the dessert menu.”