Popping up everywhere you turn in our industry today are new mini desserts. Baskin-Robbins just launched the concept last week, and many new offerings are in place or set to be in place from the retail shelves to the dessert carts of this country. All of this is a direct result of consumers trying to eat healthier or at least smarter and the industry responding. As soon as I read the launch had happened last Friday in the USA Today I had to get me to a BR and give it a try.
Regularly, I see blogs and articles saying that menu labeling is having no impact on the way people order. My question would be that if people are not changing the way they order based on numbers why are these mini treats, low calorie, smaller portion options everywhere you turn?
I first saw a choice of mini desserts in shot glasses at my local Johnny Carino's. Clearly trying to add to the ticket after providing a recession-buster price for the meal, they brought to the table a tray of amazing-looking desserts. I, like I am sure so many others, just had to try one. This was at least three years ago, which was in front of the trend before calorie numbers were in site. Today at the same concept two of their regular dessert items are available in the "mini" size and the nutritionals are done for those that want to have the info.
This new treat lets customers have their own happy ending to the meal without needing to go to the gym afterwards to do cardio for an hour to work off part of the dessert. The restaurant industry is seeing a huge benefit in that people are ordering dessert again and adding to their checks. Why not increase the average ticket sale if at all possible? This is a sweet way to get that done. Clearly, there will be a longer-term payoff for your concept.
When places like BR which is a destination calorie killer (In my humble opinion) starts letting everyone enjoy their fair as a result of smaller offering the game does change and the effect is felt by all who are paying attention. Are you offering this option at your restaurant today?
Betsy Craig brings 20 years of food service industry experience to MenuTrinfo, LLC a menu nutritional labeling Company. Her commitment to the betterment of the food industry and her desire to affect the dining public are the driving forces behind her new company Kitchens with Confidence, LLC.