Consumers are eager to get restaurant meals – but soaring consumer prices (inflation is at its highest rate in 40 years) can create a barrier. This often means that a meal eaten at a restaurant or taken out has to be extra special. Are there ways you can level up the experience of your menu with a memorable presentation or ingredient? Your appetizer and dessert menus are ideal places to start, since your guests may not prepare multi-course meals for themselves at home.
Your restaurant can provide a much-needed place for your guests to reconnect with friends and family this year. As you plan your menu, consider creating dishes that are presented in an easy-to-share form. Offering a dish designed to be shared with one or more table mates can help you entice guests to boost check totals with an added appetizer or dessert. Plus, offering a shareable item is an easier sell to guests looking to eat more mindfully in the new year.
At a time when restaurants need to find every opportunity they can to carve out a profit, your dessert menu needs to earn its keep. That can be difficult when desserts are often shared by guests, there is a limit to how expensively they can be priced, and they increase the time it takes to turn a table in-house. To help, consider adding some lighter and more savory items to the menu to balance any heavier, sweeter items that many guests feel they must try to resist. Reduce portion sizes where possible so ordering an individual portion of dessert doesn’t feel like such a splurge. Finally, suggest some alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to complement your dessert offerings.
Dessert doesn’t have to be decadent – and at a time when consumers are concerned with their health, providing some interesting end-of-meal options that aren’t only eye-catching but are also lower in sugar and higher in nutrients can help you boost check totals. Consider offering simple combinations of fresh ingredients or using fruit or yogurt to create a lighter twist on classic desserts.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, your customers will be looking for reasons to treat themselves and their significant other. But at the same time, many of them want to avoid sugar – as the current demand for allulose, a new natural sugar replacement, has been demonstrating. Your dessert menu can provide some appealing options that don’t pile on added sugar. Look to fiber-rich fruits – whether fresh, frozen or canned – to bring natural sweetness to your dessert menu without the extra guilt.
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.