Sweeten Your Menu With the Latest Dessert Trends

Does your dessert menu need an update? Sweeten the deal so your guests will want a delicious treat after their meal.
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Make sure your restaurant or cafe is up to date with the latest dessert trends. (Photo: Vitaliy Mateha/Shutterstock)

When customers finish a meal at a restaurant, they are typically presented with the question, “Would you like dessert?”

Most people like to indulge in something sweet after a meal. Why? They may want to experience a sugar high or get a happy little serotonin boost. Or they’ve simply become conditioned to eat dessert after a meal from years of doing it.

No matter what the reason, people love dessert.

Here are a few of the latest dessert trends that restaurants, bars and cafes can tap into, according to two dessert experts. Add a few of these treats to your menu and revel in the sweet taste of success.

Go for a more natural look

Consumers today are wanting restaurants to give them an authentic experience when they dine out — and when it comes to their dessert choices, well, the proof is in the pudding.

According to Fred Langley, chef and director of operations for The Restaurant Expert, gone are the days of geometric, flawlessly shaped desserts. People today are ordering more natural-looking desserts, he said “where it’s not a perfectly cut triangular pie or chocolate mousse. It’s more of a rustic, natural look, where it doesn’t look played with.”

Mix in healthier ingredients

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Take a tip from Natasha Case, co-founder of Coolhaus, and offer desserts made with ‘clean’ ingredients. (Photo: Natasha Case)

Because consumers are much more health conscious than they were in the past, Langley said this has pushed a lot of restaurants to serve mini desserts that people can sample and enjoy without worrying about ingesting all those calories.

Natasha Case, co-founder of ice-cream company Coolhaus, said more people are attempting to “eat clean,” and they expect their desserts to be the same, and made with ingredients that aren’t overly processed.

Related: How to Incorporate Superfoods Into Your Menu

When Case makes a flavor for Coolhaus, she incorporates “clean” ingredients such as organic cane sugar, hormone-free and high-quality dairy, fresh herbs and chocolate that is full of antioxidants.

“It tastes better,” she said. “You still want that moment to celebrate and reward yourself — and there’s nothing wrong with that. You want to do it, though, with something clean and satisfying.”

Add in gluten-free options

According to a study by Mayo Clinic, around 1 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to gluten, a condition known as celiac disease. But as many as 3.1 million people without the disease are also avoiding gluten in their diet — an increase of more than 300 percent since 2009.

“Gluten free is a really big callout for us,” Case said. In fact, Coolhaus is working on a line of gluten-free ice-cream sandwiches. “We want to give customers a lot of options, instead of just saying, ‘here is this one weird gluten-free flavor we’re making to satisfy you.’”

Related: Training Your Waitstaff to Better Serve Customers with Food Allergies

Look for globally influenced sweets

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Desserts from around the globe — like mochi ice cream — will entice adventurous dessert lovers. (Photo: PC.pimpilar/Shutterstock)

Just as globalization has impacted the economy, politics and pop culture, it’s also leaving it’s mark on the dessert world. More chefs are leveraging “interesting ethnic fusions and mash-ups” in their sweet treats, said Case.

For your dessert menu, try utilizing ingredients from different parts of the world. If you want a dish to have some Asian flair, for instance, incorporate sour and spicy tastes into your creations.

Make it meaningful

When looking for a place to eat, more people are considering the tastiness of the menu, instead of only looking at a particular price point. What’s more, they also want to know where ingredients are coming from and how the restaurant is giving back.

For example, Case said Coolhaus sources their ingredients locally, only using California milk, cage-free eggs and fairtrade chocolate in their ice creams.

Related: Restaurant Owners: Tips for Working With Local Farms

Consumers are also paying attention to the story behind the brand and what it represents, she said. “Instead of just buying something, they’ll see what it represents to them and what message they are giving their followers and friends when they buy something. That’s really important.”

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