Build Dessert Sales with Sweet Insights from Dianne’s Fine Desserts
Give dessert lovers what they seek by staying ahead of the trends and demands that drive today’s dessert sales. Make your dessert menu a surefire success with insights from the expert insiders at Dianne’s Fine Desserts.
Key Flavor Trends and Seasonal Ingredients
Most consumers agree that one of their favorite childhood memories involves something sweet. The aroma of a particular dessert can be reminiscent of a time, place or specific person. A certain scent might conjure memories of a grandmother’s cookies or beloved desserts ordered at a local diner with a group of friends. It’s truly remarkable how desserts can trigger these sentimental emotions.
Restaurant operators are using these childhood memories as inspiration to be inventive with dessert flavors. Gourmet cake pops are one of these inventions – calling back to a childlike dessert favorite, cake pops have the flavor of birthday cake people loved as children, infused with the portability today’s on-the-go adults require. These bite-sized desserts have been popping up in major coffeehouse chains like Starbucks, as well as numerous local bakeries.
Two other popular menu flavors reminiscent of childhood are milk-and-cookies-infused desserts and banana splits. Some bake shops are using milk and cookies to inspire new cupcake creations and donut flavors. Additionally, restaurants are using banana splits as a foundation for building extravagant adult-versions, topped with ingredients like salted caramel, coconut and booze-infused sauces.
Other common childhood flavors like root beer floats and s’mores have been working their way onto menus for quite some time now and are still trending tastes today.
Consumer Insights and Data Points
Smaller-portioned desserts are in high demand – with these tinier takes on classic favorites, diners can have their mini cake and eat it too! A recent Technomic study found that 34% of consumers are more likely to order dessert if a smaller portion option is available. Operators are joining this wave by offering dessert flights and petite pastries. These tiny treats are being created with fresh and unique ingredients that formulate creative samplers to enthuse and intrigue diners.
The availability of great food in small, shareable portions is desirable for consumers and operators alike. They provide consumers with more variety at a lower price, and a more fulfilling experience, since they don’t have to skip on dessert. For operators, the smaller portions can be plated in ways that evoke a more upscale dining experience.
Another appealing approach restaurants are utilizing this summer is designing desserts tailor-made for dipping. A top seller at The Mission, a modern Latin restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz., features espresso churros that are served ready-to-dip into an Ibarra chocolate milkshake. By adding interactive elements to eating, the overall dining experience is more fun, especially when these desserts are shared among a group.
Menu Spotlight & Dessert Menu Trends
Breakfast—it’s always been touted as the most important meal of the day, and recently it’s been heavily influencing what chefs are putting on their menus. According to Mintel, breakfast sales are expected to reach $60.4 billion by 2019 – in other words, consumers are really craving breakfast.
And breakfast is not just the typical sit-down morning meal, anymore. Consumers are demanding portable versions of the sweet breakfast favorites they love. Items like breakfast bars and coffee-cake slices are becoming popular grab-and-go morning offerings for people to pair with their to-go cup of Joe.
Breakfast is also influencing dessert menus across the U.S. The popular bakery, Milk Bar, with locations in New York and D.C., is taking inspiration from breakfast. Often referred to as “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country,” this culinary empire, founded by award-winning pastry chef and MasterChef judge Christina Tosi, is the birthplace of the highly addictive cereal milk™ ice cream. The ice cream tastes just like the milk leftover at the end of a bowl of fruity cereal and can be incorporated into a traditional sundae or made into a milkshake with custom toppings.
There’s no doubt about it, breakfast is influencing the culinary experience – whether you offer dessert items for breakfast or let breakfast influence your dessert menu at dinner, you’re certain to please palettes!