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Dish Up Standout Desserts That Bring Guests Back

Desserts add pizzazz to the end of any meal. It’s the last chance to make an impression, and when priced right, they tend to have lucrative margins.

There’s no denying dessert is a popular choice for many guests. More than half of diners admit to eating dessert in the past day, while 6 in 10 restaurant owners say that dessert is a factor in driving profits.

Some reports argue that ordering dessert can encourage guests to linger, which means less table turnover. However, dessert also brings with it another round of cocktails, coffees, and can take the overall guest experience from standard to exceptional.

The dessert course is also an opportunity for restaurants to make up for any service blunders that may have happened during the main course.

When made well and marketed even better, desserts can beef up a restaurant’s bottom line. That’s because crave-worthy desserts create loyalty.

Investing in high-quality ingredients is more likely to make guests return – and inspire them to brag to friends about their experience. Just look at Blue Moon Fish Company, whose perfectly crusted crème brulée is the talk of the town in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s served with top-of-the-line ice cream, delectable made-from-scratch caramel, and is just about the best bite guests will ever put in their mouths.

Flashy sweet treats tend to do well with organic online marketing, as well. Dishes that are visually stunning make guests want to take pictures and share on their social media accounts, which helps spread the word about a brand’s unique creations.

Even free dessert can turn up revenue. No, “free” is not a typo.

Some restaurants offer after-dinner freebies that leave guests with a perfect lasting impression. Asian-fusion restaurant Tatu serves up beautiful bouquets of cotton candy to finish off their eccentric fare, while Jason’s Deli provides unlimited access to self-serve frozen yogurt. Free dessert brings with it free (and enthusiastic) word-of-mouth recommendations.

Ultimately, restaurants should strive to make guests feel like if they’re not there, then they’re missing out. Buzzworthy desserts help spread the word about how great your place is, also spreading the FOMO like icing on a cake.

If dessert has become an afterthought and your menu needs some attention, look to these tasty creations as inspiration for the sweetest upsell you’ll ever implement.

Hawksmoor’s Sticky Toffee Pudding (New York, New York)

When guests are looking for the most authentic sticky toffee pudding this side of the pond, they need to look no further than Hawksmoor. The London-born steakhouse tantalizes taste buds with every morsel it serves. But their delicious meals are not complete without this British dessert favorite, which is reasonably priced at $16.

Sticky toffee pudding is nearly impossible to make at home. It’s a tricky recipe that seems to be even trickier to make in the U.S. Americans and Brits alike agree that it’s definitely worth a trip over to Hawksmoor in New York to eat a proper version made with only the finest ingredients.

Chica’s Flaming Skull (Las Vegas, Nevada)

If you want to add some shock value to your menu, take a page from the book of Chica. Their “Flaming Skull” dessert lights every sense on fire with its visually stunning presentation of a literal chocolate skull they light up with flames! As the golden chocolate melts, it reveals a molten cake. This masterpiece is $38 – and worth every penny.

On the printed menu, the description simply reads: “Warm Lava Cake, Horchata Ice Cream, Corn Marshmallows.” Nothing more. The lack of a heads up probably adds to the amazement as this unforgettable dessert is presented tableside.

Jaxson’s Original Kitchen Sink (Dania Beach, Florida)

When in doubt, make dessert the main event! That’s what Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour did. This restaurant’s main focus is ice cream. Classic American food is also served, such as hot dogs, chicken fingers, and french fries, but it all comes in a distant second to their dessert creations. Ice cream sundaes are the highlight, and are only limited to what a guest can imagine.

The Original Kitchen Sink is a must-have for groups of four or more. Priced at $19.95 per person, this menu item features over one pound of ice cream along with toppings galore. The best part? It’s served in a literal sink. Adult guests feel like kids again as they partake in a childhood dessert dream.

Whether restaurants choose to satisfy with intense flavor, or shock and awe with presentation, dessert is always a good idea. You can start with smaller gestures like free homemade candy or fresh-baked cookies, or go all out and concoct massive sweet creations that blow guests’ minds. Guests will appreciate options that add to their experience.

Offering confections that align with branding is the best strategy, but it also doesn’t hurt to think outside the box and offer up something that will surprise your clientele (and give them something to post about!).

Guests walk away remembering that last moment, so make it a sweet one. Put desserts front and center starting today.