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Sweet Success: How to Sell Desserts

Sweet Success: How to Sell Desserts

Jamie Popp | Monster Contributing Writer

It is one thing to know how to talk a good game, but Morris says having pastry chef Ailee Regal from the adjacent Warwick Hotel Seattle at its disposal means servers also make diners feel as though the desserts are being made especially for them. Regal makes delectable cakes and sweets for both the hotel and restaurant, so Brasserie guests are treated to fresh desserts whenever they dine. That’s just another way the restaurant transforms what’s on the menu into sales on the floor.

It’s All in the Timing

In many ways, timing the presentation of the dessert menu also plays into how likely someone is to order something sweet. Mel’s Johler says don’t leave the wait station without it when a party has finished their meal.

“Never show up at a table without a dessert menu,” she says. “If you don’t give them time to think and recommend a favorite item right away, nine times out of 10 they’ll order. On the other hand, if you do give them too much time to think about it, many times they’ll opt out.”

Fortunately for servers with proper orientation and training, good desserts will sell themselves, says Maren Hickton, principal of hospitality consulting firm Maren Inc. in Pittsburgh.

But even with their mass appeal, never consider sweets an afterthought. Hickton says it’s important to remember: “The dessert course — with the smiling faces and oohs and ahhs — provides an additional positive opportunity to connect with the dining guest. [That connection] always enhances the diner’s perception of overall restaurant quality.”