Four ways to boost dessert sales
Dessert provides a great opportunity for both extra revenue and margin enhancing sale… you just need to know how to manage desserts better.
Any waiter will tell you the hardest thing to sell is dessert. The meal has come to an end, customers are ready to go or just enjoy a cup of coffee, and more often than not the dessert menu is met with some pretty stiff resistance.
Add in a climate of tightening belts and reduced budgets, and restaurants are facing a very difficult dessert climate indeed. But dessert provides a great opportunity for both extra revenue and margin enhancing sale… you just need to know how to manage desserts better.
Flavors: Exotic vs. Comfort
Exotic sounding desserts have been very fashionable for the last 10 years or so. But it appears that customer’s tastes are changing to more familiar fare, and desserts are no different. The flip side of that coin is coming across as too conventional, like cheesecake or vanilla ice cream. By all means, serve these venerable stand-bys, but do so with a little attitude and flair. Put some unique, and maybe even a little exotic, twist on your dessert offerings to make them feel fresh but not unfamiliar.
Sizes: Less Is More
Downsizing dessert options encourages customers to indulge a little at the end of their meal. Quick, tasty desserts are the best way to get your guests buying. Not only are more and more people health conscious these days, but also price conscious, and a trim but attractive little dessert addresses both of those issues. And ensure the serving staff are briefed on portion size to enable thme to sell
Price: Less is More Too
Single digit prices (i.e. $9 or less) are vital to selling desserts. Since smaller portions are also more desirable, meeting this price requirement shouldn’t be too hard. Standard pricing also makes the decision easier for the waffling guest. Many restaurants set one price for all their desserts. Some have also introduced tapas-style desserts: super small portions of inventive desserts that can be ordered individually or as a group (think 1 for X dollars or 3 for X dollars).
Training: Servers Need To Know Their Stuff
As with the rest of your menu, servers are going to be the key factor driving sales. If they have followed a strategic means of building rapport to build sales with their guests they should be able to tailor their dessert presentation to what they anticipate the customer will want. Servers should also have a good command of the details involved with each dessert: what’s in it, how it’s prepared, etc. One way to achieve this is to get the servers to try all desserts and to try all new desserts and specials.
Extra tip; Have a "to die for dessert". We go to one particular restaurant to luxuriate in a rum and macadamia molten chocolate pudding with home made vanilla icecream. Especially when the weather is cold or rainy. The dessert is to die for, and I really think, seeing the numbers of these little desserts come out, is the reason the restaurant in a not too good a location, survives. If you can, gain a name for a 'to die for dessert".
Finally, don’t forget to have a good cup of coffee ready to go with all desserts. The two go hand in hand for most people, and making sure your brew is up to par with your great dessert menu is more involved than you might think. Desserts and coffee are mutually supportive, so if you take the time to fine tune both, you’ll end up driving after-dinner sales, and that will make both your servers and your bottom line happy.