Restaurant Marketing: 6 Ways To Increase Dessert Sales Up To 40%

Restaurant Marketing: Desserts can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Even restaurants that don't normally sell desserts – pizza restaurants and Chinese restaurants – are all getting into the act, realizing the importance of getting that additional dollar – even if it's just selling simple fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies at the counter, as an impulse buy.

In a diet and price conscious world, it takes a fair amount of creativity to sell desserts, whether that creativity is in the product itself, the price, the packaging or the promotion – revisit my WOW issue on "The World's Smallest Chocolate Brownie" – and you'll then realize the financial benefits of doing dessert.

Here are some great recommendations to increase your dessert sales with the impetus of at least adding a $1 to your average check. Do this and you'll see the bottom-line difference.

1. Make Coffee A Dessert: Coffee is the easiest to sell. Thanks to Starbucks, we've all become coffee connoisseurs which makes it easier to offer premium coffees, lattes and cappuccinos. Consider offering Starbucks or Seattle's Best Coffee – mentioning those brands makes it easier to get that additional sale. Include the various liqueur flavorings and wow your coffees with peppermint or cinnamon sticks along with whipped cream.

2. The Famous Dessert: Become famous for a specific dessert. Make it a signature item and promote it heavily in your restaurant with large table tents and posters.

3. The Super Huge Dessert Tray: Most restaurants display desserts on a table in the lobby area. That’s great, but as soon as a customer is seated in the dining area, they've forgotten how great that visual display looked. Instead, place the desserts on a tray and present them to your customers.

4. The Separate Dessert Menu: A separate dessert menu is a must. List at least 5 desserts with great photos and descriptions. It's the eye that buys! Present your dessert menu (or dessert tray) to your table after the entrees are removed.

5. The Dessert Festival: Turn your signature desserts into special event promotions like a Strawberry Pie festival or a Holiday Pumpkin Pie event. Have fun with your desserts. Give them special names that are appropriate to your concept.

6. Special $1 Mini Slices: A lot of guests are turning away from pricey desserts like a slice of Carrot Cake at $4.95. Rather than lose a $4.95 sale, offer "mini slices" for $1.