If you run a food business, snack shop, deli, restaurant or lunch-only business, don’t forget to put desserts on your menu. Baked desserts aren’t always at the forefront of customers’ dining decisions, but that doesn’t mean they need to be an afterthought. Cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweets have made their way onto menus of all types of limited-service restaurants, giving operators additional sales opportunities during lunch, dinner, and, increasingly, snacking periods.
“Dessert is no longer only an end-of-the-meal occasion, but an all-the-time snacking occasion,” says Kathy Hayden, foodservice analyst with Mintel, a market research and consulting firm. “There is a great deal of activity going on.”
Items with chocolate and fruit seem to be on the rise, and higher-quality ingredients are being used in some newer products being added to menus.
“Consumers are becoming more thoughtful about their dietary choices when they eat out, so desserts should be memorable and innovative to make it worth their selection,” writes Vic DeMartino, director of marketing/bakery for Sara Lee Foodservice, in an e-mail. Operators want to provide desserts that can fetch a premium price and also provide portability and high-speed service, while consumers “are looking for value, food quality, taste, and menu differentiation,” DeMartino adds.