15 Delicious Dessert Menu Ideas for Your Restaurant

/ Foodservice Tips, Restaurant Tips / September 23

Dessert Menu Ideas - Cupcakes

Many restaurant owners overlook their dessert menu and give customers just a few, unappealing items. The end of the meal is another opportunity to make sales, so it’s important to offer a variety of options that are not only appealing to your customers but also practical for your business.

If you want to give your customers a variety of flavors and textures, these restaurant dessert menu ideas are popular, profitable and easy-to-make. By expanding your menu in a way that makes good business sense, you’re sure to improve your establishment’s bottom line.

1. Chocolate Cake

From devil’s food to molten lava, chocolate cake is always a hit with customers since there are so many chocoholics. This dessert can be a bit rich, so why not have servers ask customers if they’d like a cup of coffee or a glass of milk, too. Not only will guests have a drink to cut the sweetness, but you will also increase restaurant revenue by cross promoting menu items.

2. Layer Cakes

If you want an eye-catching dessert, a layer cake is just what you need. Whether it’s carrot, red velvet or Victoria sponge, handcrafted layers of cake and frosting have a simple elegance that few desserts can match. Make sure to put your layer cakes on cake stands or in a display where they’ll be seen so you can get some impulse buys.

3. Cupcakes

Although the cupcake craze is over, putting cupcakes on your restaurant’s dessert menu is still a good idea. Since they’re baked in individual, disposable cups, both serving and cleanup are easy: you don’t have to worry about cutting perfect slices or doing a lot of dishes. Additionally, cupcakes are perfect for guests who are craving something sweet but want a smaller portion.

4. Cheesecake

The dense, creamy texture of a cheesecake sets it apart from other desserts, so putting it on your dessert menu is a good way to offer guests a variety of textures. Although cheesecake is absolutely fantastic plain, dressing it up with some chocolate, raspberry or caramel sauce is a good way to elevate a normal dessert into something more elegant.

5. Brownies & Bar Cookies

Not quite a cake and not quite a cookie, bar cookies like brownies, blondies and lemon bars are a great way to offer your customers something different. Since these treats are small, dense and fairly dry, they travel a lot better than frosted cakes or fruit pies do, making bar cookies the perfect dessert for delivery-based ghost kitchen menus.

6. Cookies

Although not commonly seen on restaurant menus, a cookie or two is perfect for customers who want something small. However, for customers who want to not only indulge but also have an experience, consider baking oversized cookies in cast iron skillets and topping them with ice cream and chocolate sauce before serving.

Dessert Menu Ideas - Lemon Meringue Pie

Pies like lemon meringue are great for customers who want something besides chocolate.

7. Pies

Pies are a good way to please customers who prefer fruit. Apple pie is definitely the most common on restaurant menus, so offering cherry, peach, strawberry or blueberry would be a good way to set your restaurant apart. You can also go beyond fruit with key lime, lemon meringue, pecan, pumpkin, or sweet potato pie. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

8. Ice Cream

Ice cream is delicious, refreshing and coincidentally gluten-free, so be sure to put it on your menu. Unless you run an ice cream parlor, you don’t need dozens of flavors: just stick to classics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. In addition to plain scoops of ice cream, hot fudge sundaes and banana splits are sure to make families with children very happy.

9. Fried Desserts

Most people would agree that anything fried is good, so why not apply that principle to dessert. Fried desserts like elephant ears, funnel cakes, churros and sopapillas have a simple batter that cooks quickly, so they’re perfect for both hungry customers and busy cooks. A light dusting of powdered sugar or drizzle of honey before serving takes these fried treats to the next level.

10. Fancy Desserts

If you run a steakhouse or other higher-end restaurant, your desserts should be on the same level as your entrees and other items. European desserts with Italian or French names, such as tiramisu, crème brûlée and panna cotta would be good ways for customers to end a delicious meal at an upscale restaurant on a high note.

11. International Cuisines

Although many traditional European desserts fit best at upscale restaurants, there are many other sweets from around the world that are perfect for more casual settings. Ranging from Mexican tres leches and Greek baklava to Australian pavlova and Brazilian brigadeiro, adding treats from other countries would be a good way to make your menu unique.

12. Fondue

Chocolate fondue would be a nice addition to your dessert menu since it’s both a food and an experience. Customers would have a lot of fun sitting around the pot with family and friends as they dip cake and fruit into the chocolate. They’re sure to share photos and videos online, advertising your restaurant on social media for free.

Dessert Menu Ideas - Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate fondue is both a dessert and an experience, so considering serving it at your establishment.

13. Milkshakes & Dessert Drinks

Multiple restaurant chains have built their empires off the “burgers, fries and a shake” concept, so don’t forget about dessert-like drinks. Milkshakes are obvious, but don’t forget about ice cream floats with root beer, cola or other soft drinks. For customers who want something lighter yet still delicious, fruit smoothies are perfect.

14. Healthy Desserts

With millions of people going on diets each year, you’re bound to have at least a few customers who watch what they eat. That’s why it makes sense to add some healthy dessert menu items like fruit salad, frozen yogurt and sugar-free gelatin to your restaurant dessert menu, along with swapping out unhealthy ingredients in traditional desserts for healthier options.

15. Gluten Free & Vegan

Most traditional desserts have plenty of flour, eggs and butter, three ingredients that many people avoid on purpose. More and more people are following gluten-free or vegan diets, so swapping out regular flour for almond or chicken eggs with flax eggs or applesauce are good strategies for meeting the standards of a growing number of customers.

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