American diners continue to make their best effort at eating healthy meals. One of the latest trends is an attempt to reduce sugar intake. And since dining out has become a regular occasion rather than an occasional indulgence, it can be tough to persuade customers to treat themselves with an indulgent dessert. But, with a little creativity, innovative restaurant managers are finding ways to convince customers to leave a little room for dessert, a practice which can pay off in higher check totals.
Here are some tactics which have proven successful.
Plenty of diners are happy to end their meals with a small sweet treat even if they don’t have room or calories to spare for a full-sized dessert. Add mini-desserts to your menu that are just a few indulgent bites, and you can satisfy your customer’s sweet tooth while fattening up your bottom line.
For diners who want to enjoy comfort food without being relegated to their comfy pants, sharing may be the answer. Write menus describing some dishes as “large enough to share” or train your servers to suggest sharing to diners who are hesitating to order a dessert.
Publicize your desserts on social media on your website with mouthwatering pictures. If diners enter your restaurant with the intent to save room for your signature dessert, they won’t feel guilty when they indulge.
Popular healthy meal items are slowly working their way onto dessert menus. Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with nuts or granola is a popular choice. Hummus, typically a savory treat, is being created with chocolate or other dessert flavors.
Diners who avoid decadent chocolate desserts may be willing to indulge in a sorbet, frozen yogurt or fruit dessert. Single crust pies are also an option. Using very ripe fruit can reduce the need for added sugars.
Accommodating special diets
Because they may serve people who eat gluten-free or low-carb diets, restaurants are providing options for diners to end a meal with dishes based in fruit, nuts or cheese. Open your mind as to what can constitute dessert, and you might be pleasantly surprised at the options available to you.
Many cultures feature desserts with just a little sweetness – not the sugar bombs that are typical of American treats. Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, in particular, are lightly sweetened, but still offer a bit of a treat. Baklava, stuffed dates and mochi are just a few examples. Consider how these cuisines can be adapted to your restaurant’s dessert menu for a guilt-free end to a delicious meal.
Make takeout an option
Even diners who will happily have their unfinished meal wrapped to take home may not think of takeout dessert. A server can easily say, “Our bread pudding travels well and it’s great reheated for breakfast” to a customer who is too full for dessert in the moment.
Partner With a Top Restaurant Recruiter
The team at Horizon Hospitality focuses entirely on search and placement of restaurant managers and executives. They can provide expertise in smart hiring and retention strategies as well as help you keep up on the latest strategies to keep your business running efficiently and profitably. Contact our restaurant recruiters today to start your search.