Getting more people to order dessert


I remember reading some articles last year about how restaurants can increase their dessert sales. The ideas were simple but seemed quite smart: offer lower-cost desserts with a meal purchase, provide smaller portions at a lower price, etc. Well, I’m happy to report that at least one restaurant chain in Chicago is finally giving this a try.

According to our waitress, the restaurant has cut the portion sizes — and the prices — in half. Reportedly, this was because customers wanted smaller portions after eating a large meal, and I’m sure the current economy influenced the pricing side of things. A step in the right direction, for sure. But they left out one other critical element: offering desserts that aren’t so rich and filling. Aside from portion sizes and price, I often avoid dessert because it just feels like overkill. Adding some less decadent options would help a lot.

In fact, the restaurant that I’m describing does offer a sorbet dessert that’s relatively light. But in an ironic twist, it’s not on the menu — you have to ask for it separately. By simply adding the sorbet to the printed menu and identifying it as a lighter option, they should be able to address all of the reasons that people avoid dessert: cost, portion size, and feeling too “full” when you’re done.