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5 Low Cost Ways to Increase Dessert Sales and Increase Guest Check Averages! For Restaurant Owners

Updated on September 14, 2009

Making a living as a small business/restaurant owner is challenging at the best of times, and during economic downturns, it can feel downright impossible – but cooler times also give you an opportunity (time) to rework your menus and procedures to ensure that you make as much profit as possible off of each and every guest.

As you know, it takes far more money to make additional sales by attracting new customers than it does to rework procedures that might get existing customers to spend a little more on each visit.

A great way to increase guest check average and decrease food cost percentages is by selling more add-on items such as desserts, apps and bar – and increasing the sales of these add-ons doesn’t need to cost you much, if anything at all!

So double your dessert sales and see how much healthier your bottom line starts looking!

5 Ideas for Increasing Dessert Sales in Your Restaurant

These list items are unlikely ideas you've never heard before - the wheel is not being reinvented here! These are just a few low cost ideas to help spark your own creativity and get you thinking about how YOU can make a little more on your own dessert sales program.

In no particular order

1. The dessert cart

Bring back the old fashioned dessert cart. Give your customers an enticing real-life visual display of their dessert offerings and you should see an increase in orders.

2. Set the table for dessert before presenting the dessert menu

This one won't work well at a family style or very casual restaurant but is effective for more formal establishments. Setting a dessert place setting before giving the guests a dessert menu puts them in a very dessert-friendly state of mind…making the order of a dessert a very natural thing to do!

3. Don't over-stuff your guests during dinner

This one is tricky, and reducing portion sizes can easily backfire on you – but you can't expect many dessert orders from guests who have just consumed "super sized" foods!

4. The dessert card

This one is a no-brainer for a casual restaurant, but really, every restaurant should think hard before dismissing the suggestive selling power of the nicely photographed dessert card positioned on the table.

5. Tableside dessert displays

Anything you can do to get your guests thinking about dessert should increase your check averages – and tableside cooking always attracts interest. Do a tableside flambé (well and safely!) and you will attract the favorable attention of nearby tables.

So there you have it, 5 easy ideas to boost your dessert sales and increase average check sizes. Five ideas that won't break the bank either!

Best of luck!

Some Good Marketing Ideas


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      Lin Silva 7 years ago

      I've always wondered why most restaurants don't give everyone at the table a dessert menu, but rather ask guests to share one or two. If everyone had their own menu, I'll bet more people would order dessert.