Dessert in the Driving Seat as 60% of Consumers Say They Would Ditch Starters

If they could have just two courses, 60% of UK diners would prefer to pair a main with a dessert rather than a starter and main when eating out, according to new research from Coup de pates.

The findings of our latest research conducted by a panel of food lovers across the UK, lays bare the profit potential of an innovative, well-considered dessert menu.

Head of Marketing and Product Development for Coup de pates, Mariam French, comments: “The research proves that, done well, dessert is the place where profits can be made. But with so much choice on where to eat out – and an ever-growing marketplace – consumers need new experiences, new flavours and a sense of ‘theatre’ to keep them captivated – elements which an innovative dessert menu can deliver time and time again."

“Dessert is your calling card, the final memory of a meal – if operators can make the experience truly memorable, people will keep coming back for more.”

At the forefront of the ever-changing foodservice landscape, Coup de pates has compiled five key considerations to help foodservice operators take dessert menus to the next level.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Limiting menu options is a trend that has taken hold of foodservice in recent times, borrowing much of its influence from the rise of street food and its penchant for single item menus. Keeping the dessert menu short and sweet means busy kitchens can retain a sense of creativity without getting bogged down on quantity. And, as the old adage states; ‘it is far better to do a few things well’.  

Sharing is Caring

Why should a sharing board be reserved for the starter menu? Adding innovative mini desserts or taster portions to a board for two adds a premium feel which, just as with its savoury counterpart, should help command a more premium price point.

Pairing is Also Caring

Incremental add-on sales are incredibly important for operators, so try pairing a certain dessert wine, coffee or even a beer with a dessert. Highly drilled waiting staff with a keen knowledge of flavour profiles can help the sale along by making a recommendation, or the menu itself could carry pairing notes for each option. Either way, consumers want to feel that they are getting something that no one else can offer – try pairing a Cocoa Bavarois Slice with a half measure of dark porter or stout and watch the smiles develop.

Surprise, Surprise    

You need only look at the very recent trend for theatrical hollow chocolate domes that open like a flower under the application of hot chocolate sauce, revealing a miniature dessert within, or the addition of new or surprising elements like saffron, lime or black cherry – the latter being one of the most used new dessert ingredients this year - to understand that every dessert menu needs a surprise element. When planning and creating a dessert, think about the extra elements, garnishes and alike that can add to the theatre. Consider also the ‘Instagram-factor’ – is your dessert good enough to (socially) share? 

Freeze, Punk!

Put simply, if the methods are pure, the ingredients are top quality and the skill in bringing this all together is as high as it possibly can be, then using frozen desserts, or frozen sweet base products should never be viewed as a compromise. Choosing frozen safeguards against waste and ensures ultimate consistency, taking the hard work away and leaving room for personalisation – something we know that time poor chefs crave. 

At Coup de pates we twin the essence of French gastronomy with innovative, trend-led product development resulting in a range of individual, mini reception, premium patisserie, tartelettes and semi-prepared bases that work with the creativity of chefs. We use the very finest ingredients and old world methods to create high end products.  

Date Posted: 12th April 2016