Why your customers aren't staying for dessert

How many times have you asked yourself “Why aren’t my guests staying for dessert? If you’ve managed to get customers through the door to your restaurant, establishment or eatery, it’s important that you encourage them to stay for dessert, not only is it the perfect way to finish a beautiful meal but it’s a critical revenue opportunity (not to mention a chance to share more of your creativity). With 80 per cent of clients not ordering a dessert according to NPD Crest, many businesses are missing out on the opportunity to create more sales, more revenue, and happy customers. At Joe Delucci’s, we’re not just Gelato experts, or the most remarkable wholesale Gelato suppliers but we’re absolute dessert connoisseurs. Providing the finest Gelato this side of Tuscany, we help restaurants, dessert boutiques and hospitality venues across the UK to give their guests an authentic, delicious end to fabulous meals and we’re here to help you understand and solve why your customers aren’t staying for dessert. So grab a Gelato and an expresso and dig your spoon in (all puns intended) to the top 5 reasons and solutions to your dessert distress…

1. You’re Serving Excessively Large Main Courses

As much as restaurateurs would love for their customers to have an endless appetite for food, unfortunately the average customer can only consume so much food before they start to feel overly full and sluggish. With research indicating that most chain restaurant main meals sit at a whopping 1,000 calories – which accounts for half of an adult’s recommended daily intake – some would suggest that it’s no surprise that customers aren’t staying for dessert. Not us by the way, we’ve always got room for Gelato, and Cake, and Souffles and pretty much all desserts!

Back on track, simply put, if you’re serving portions of starter and main courses that are too large, the chance are that some of your customers won’t stay for additional food. It’s therefore important to create a menu that carefully considers portion sizes, especially when it comes to particularly filling food groups such as fibres and carbohydrates. It’s key to ensure that your clientele are satiated, but are still able to be tempted by dessert, in order to amplify how much your customers are willing to spend on their all important final course. It’s worth noting too that dessert often means coffees, a more leisurely meal and particularly where the evening service is concerned, shorts and additional beverage revenue.

2. You’re Not Advertising Your Desserts Properly

It goes without saying that customers won’t be ordering food from you that they don’t know exists, which is why it’s important to self-promote to the best of your ability. Having your staff reference dessert at the start of a meal, and ensuring they are well versed and able to recommend it after the main course, is a great place to start, but menu placement is equally as important at making your consumer base aware of what’s available to them. Adding your dessert menu on the bottom or the back of your regular menu can subliminally indicate that dessert is an “add on” or an “afterthought” for customers, rather than a necessary option to complete their meal. What’s more, providing a comprehensive menu to your clients, and then taking these menus away once starters and mains have been ordered, doesn’t encourage the consumption of dessert either.

Given that we supply wholesale Gelato to some of the finest restaurants and bistros in the UK, you’d think we’d know a thing or two and if you’re are struggling with desserts, try keeping your dessert menu separate so that diners aren’t choosing between appetisers and desserts but are instead presented with a ‘surprise’ menu option at the end of their main course. This will encourage the consumption of both appetisers and main courses and, if you have portioned your main course correctly, they’ll certainly have space for dessert.

3. Customers Don’t Think There’s An Option For Them

Veganism has more than quadrupled in popularity since 2014, and vegetarianism is even more popular, with 1 in 50 Brits not eating meat or fish. But it’s not just our choices that we need to consider but the growing range of allergens that all business owners and head chefs need to consider. It is therefore important to cater to these demographics in order to amplify your dessert sales and encourage return custom. The same can be said for those on a diet – desserts are typically seen as being overly sweet, often stodgy ends to a meal that can tip consumers far over their calorie allowance for the day. Offering options that are less calorific can leave customers feeling proud of their dessert choice, which can subconsciously encourage return custom . Vegan Gelato, Vegetarian Gelato and Gluten Free Gelato are all ideal choices for a more inclusive menu and of course are a great complement to existing menu items.

Similarly, a dessert menu full of generic or similar items makes customers feel limited in their dessert options: as much as many of us enjoy chocolate (and trust us we do), a choice between chocolate Gelato, chocolate brownie and chocolate cake doesn’t provide the kind of variety that excites customers enough to order dessert.

4. There Are Too Many Options Available

On the other hand, having too many options can have a detrimental effect on your customer’s perception of your dessert menu. As many of us dine out in groups, coming to a consensus at the end of a meal as to whether to have dessert is already a difficult choice, and reading a novel length dessert menu only adds to complications. Research indicates that too much choice can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction, especially since a long menu is far more overwhelming to read. The golden ratio for menu choice is to provide 10 appetiser options, 10 main course options, and 6 dessert options. So long as you heed reason three and provide variety within your six choices, your customers should find something to enjoy on your dessert menu. If you’re considering adding Gelato to your menu or looking for a more remarkable Gelato supplier then give us a tinkle, we can share our in-depth knowledge of seasonal Gelato trends, flavours and of course help share our expertise in the most popular Gelato flavours.

5. Customers Don’t Have Time To Stay For Dessert

Kitchens and especially dessert stations can be a well-oiled or frantic environment but spare a thought for your diners and their complete experience. When main courses are taking a while to prepare, your diners are on a tight schedule and members of your dining parties group may have to get home for a certain time, it can be difficult to justify staying for another course. It’s therefore worth considering the size of your desserts: after all, eating a large sundae will be far more time consuming than consuming a light sorbet. This is why palette cleansers are such a good option for clients, as they are typically small portions that are quick to consume and leave customers feeling refreshed. Sorbets and palette cleansers can also be marketed to customers as a necessary step that leaves their tastebuds neutralised after strong tastes and flavours that may have been served during main courses.

Wherever you are in your dessert journey, if you’re looking for a surefire way to ensure your customers stay for dessert then adding a remarkable, quality Gelato from Joe Delucci’s is a must. Made the traditional way from generations old Gelato families in the heart of Italy our wholesale Gelato is quite literally the only way to finish a perfect meal, from light and fresh palette cleaners, to contemporary, complementary flavours for modern dessert the familiar to scoops of classic gelato flavours, and even brownies and macarons: we have an option to suit your clientele.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your customers coming back for more!