Desserts can be a profit driver for restaurants – is your dessert menu tempting customers right now? As it’s the start of a new year and consumers are more focused on their health, consider lower-sugar options that still offer some sweetness after a meal, or smaller portions (or a shareable sampler of them) that can be enjoyed without guilt. Think in combinations too: Desserts can pair well with liqueurs or specialty hot drinks that help beat the cold and boost check totals.
In stressful times, people tend to consume food that falls into two major categories: Nutrient-dense options that help strengthen and sustain, and foods that bring comfort. Churros are not only great comfort foods – they also bring international flair to your menu and provide a blank slate for a wide variety of sweet and savory flavor combinations. Depending on the seasonings and presentations you choose, churros can round out your dessert or appetizer menu.
Looking for a dessert that is a customizeable, Instagrammable crowd pleaser? Try adding a sweet pizza to your menu. There are dozens of possibilities for making a creative signature pie. The food website Delish suggests such varieties as caramel apple, Nutella with toasted marshmallows, or berries with mascarpone cheese. Dessert pizzas are ideal dishes to feature in-season ingredients, allow for some guest customization, and use surplus ingredients in your kitchen pantry.
What are the holidays without comfort food? If you’re looking for something that brings savory and slightly sweet tastes to your breakfast menu, consider the sausage kolache (or klobasnek, according to its Czech roots). A mainstay in parts of Texas, the sausage kolache is a pillowy, mildly sweet dough filled with sausage and cheese. In the Czech Republic, kolaches can be filled with various combinations of fruit, cheese and other ingredients.
Are your guests demanding plant-based substitutes on your entrée menu? If so, they may have a taste for plant-based ice cream. Until now, many of the dairy-free stand-ins for ice cream haven’t been as much about mimicking traditional ice cream but instead offering an alternative to it. Now, as the Impossible Burger and lab-grown meat aim to mimic the full experience of eating a burger, ice cream manufacturers are also harnessing technology to perfect a plant-based product. Eclipse Foods, which produces a dairy-free and allergy-free product that it says is indistinguishable from animal dairy, recently inked deals with the ice cream brands Humphrey Slocombe and Oddfellows, TechCrunch reports. Eclipse flavorings ranging from Miso Cherry to Mexican Hot Chocolate will soon be coming to plant-based ice cream pints in New York and San Francisco. Armed with funding from some heavy-hitting investors, their flavors may be expanding beyond the coasts thereafter.
As consumers look to eat healthier meals, snacks and appetizers in the New Year, many operators are accommodating those preferences in desserts as well. Is there room on your dessert menu to weave in more superfoods, gluten- and dairy-free options and other diet-conscious ingredients? Nation’s Restaurant News reports that New York City’s Hu Kitchen, for one, offers a Mashbar where guests can create their own healthier concoctions or order ones such as the Taro Trouble No-Yo, which includes grain-free granola, taro pudding, organic seasonal berries, mango and organic puffed quinoa. Alternatively, if you have a signature entrée or appetizer, try to reinvent it for your dessert menu and give it a healthier spin.