Eating out allows customers to over-indulge themselves a little - so why not give them, and your takings, a helping hand by offering a tempting range of desserts.
Desserts form a major, and most importantly, a closing element of the meal experience. There is nothing better than rounding off a good meal with a decent dessert.
While there has been a strong move towards greater health consciousness in the UK over the past 15 years or so, this has not in any way dampened consumer desire for a decent dessert. For most people, eating out is still an "occasion", which means it is a time to over-indulge a little and enjoy something you probably wouldn't bother with at home.
The stereotypical "great British pub" is renowned for its traditional, home-made, hot desserts, as epitomised by the likes of apple pie and custard, apple crumble, jam roly-poly and bread and butter pudding. While these dishes are, arguably, better when home-made, they are available pre-prepared.
These days, technological advances in desserts production means that consumers will find it difficult to distinguish between "home-made" and "home-cooked", which is good news for pub caterers who either don't have the time to make their own desserts or lack the relevant skills.
When planning a desserts selection on your menu, it is important to cater for all tastes. By all means, include the gooey, sweet desserts but make sure you cater for those who are on a diet. Variety and choice are key.
Always offer a fresh fruit salad and, if possible, offer one or two home-made or locally produced dishes simply to generate interest in the dessert menu.
And don't forget ice cream and sorbets. Ice cream is a universal favourite - and kids love it too - and while it is something you can make yourself, most pubs tend to buy in the big brands such as Wall's, Carte d'Or, Haagen Daz, Ben & Jerry's and others. Again, it is worth investigating local ice cream suppliers who might be able to offer something with added interest for your customers.
Marketing is something a lot of pubs fail to do effectively. When it comes to desserts, why simply list them at the back end of the main menu? Bring them to your customers' attention - offer a dessert of the month, provide a dedicated desserts blackboard or even a deal, something along the lines of "buy one, get one free". If you are making your own, say so, or if you rely upon a local supplier, talk about the company or the person concerned, especially if local ingredients are used or if the dessert in question is of historical significance to the area.
In other words, generate interest.
A Ray of Sunshine
Clementine and Cranberry Crepes
Ginger Crunch Fruit Creams
Vanilla Ice Cream with Mars®
Chocolate and Coffee Brulee