Offering Dessert: Is It Profitable or Time Consuming?

Offering Dessert : The Perfect Ending or Time Consuming Extra?

Dessert is for many diners the best part of the meal, where the sweet stuff hits the table and coffee, cappuccinos and after dinner drinks are enjoyed. For many guests this a great way to end dinner. A little sweet at the end of a meal is usually good for leaving guests with a little sugar induced positive affect. However, dessert isn’t all warm and fuzzy for those working in the restaurant. Servers and managers can at times be very indifferent to the offering dessert. This mostly happens when price doesn’t justify time (see a busy night).

offering dessert can be time consuming

The downside of offering dessert is that many times, the price doesn’t justify the time it takes for the service to be executed. Imagine a dessert that has to be heated to order, such as bread pudding, a guest might pay $9 for it and wait 5 minutes, add another 5 for eating and a final 5 for taking payment and leaving. 15 minutes for an additional dessert, that is not even counting the time it takes to turn the table and reseat it. What happens when the guest has a $4 coffee and lingers with several refills! Some would also argue that dessert is often overlooked in restaurants due to the low revenue generated by it.


Hidden Profits in Offering Dessert


Many times desserts and coffee support the bottom line of a restaurant. How much does it really cost to make a chocolate cake or even a cheesecake? Even if a restaurant is purchasing desserts, the ingredients are generally inexpensive, making the dessert per piece equally low! This low cost means profit! Profit is good for a restaurant, considering entrees, especially seafood, do not carry good profit margins. If a premade cheesecake costs a restaurant $3 per piece and they are charging $7, that means each piece sold brings in $4 in gross margin. Likewise, coffee as well offers up a great opportunity for profit in a similar manner. Although very inconvenient to make, a cappuccino at 2.5 times the price of a coffee is well good for the bottom line. The cost per serving is most likely about 20% of the price charged.


What is best, go for the profit and experience?


Ignore dessert unless a guest asks, it takes up too much time!



Offering Dessert Pro’s

  • A great way to end a meal by put a sweet touch on the experience.
  • Buys time if new guests sit and need more attention.
  • Can mean in getting out a little earlier by avoiding that late table!
  • More tip, more sales.
  • More profits for the restaurant.
  • CHOCOLATE! An easy sell!

Profiting from dessert

Offering Dessert Con’s


Offering dessert takes time away from guests that are potentially going to spend money on wine and drinks that are at a minimum double that dessert spend it.

  • Too much time!
  • The kitchen doesn’t always put an emphasis on dessert
  • Can result in “camping” and even more tips lost
  • The kitchen wants to leave, not make desserts
  • Servers make their own desserts (some restaurants)

Bottomless coffee after offering dessert?

Which side of this debate are you on? There is no problem being a flip-flopper on this either. There are times to stumble over offering dessert and times to turn it up. We feel it is a judgment call, no different than skipping over a special that is priced less than an average entrée!


Until next time…think sweet or fast!

Spread the word with the whole staff!

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