This post is sponsored by Sweet Street.
Desserts can serve as more than just sweet snacks or indulgent endings to a meal — they offer restaurants a chance to make a lasting impression with customers. Creative plating and presentation techniques enable restaurants to tailor dessert offerings to their unique style, whether it’s fun and rustic or refined and high-end.
A dessert plate decorated with a brush of chocolate, a swipe of sauce or another element that mirrors the flavors of the dish can create an artistic presentation that tells a story.
“The plate design and presentation becomes a dialogue that the pastry chef is having with the customer to inform them of what they are about to experience,” said Kenny Magana, R&D chef for Sweet Street Desserts.
For a more casual presentation, cast iron skillets are a popular way to bring desserts to the table. In fact, Datassential listed skillet desserts as being in the Proliferation stage in its 2019 dessert keynote report, citing their appearance in chain restaurants and mainstream retailers. Cookies, brownies and blondies can go from oven to table in skillets, which can range from individual portions to large-format sweets made for sharing.
Reading, Pa.-based Sweet Street offers 6.5-inch skillets customized with the company’s logo, which pair perfectly with its Skillet Cookie Pucks. Sweets like these that require minimal prep can help restaurants save on time, and the simple plating can ensure consistent results — a top concern for operators. One in five (21%) operators said training kitchen staff to make desserts consistently was a challenge, according to Datasential.
Simplifying the work needed to create consistently attractive desserts is a smart move for restaurants since desserts that are appealing to the eye often prompt diners to pull out their phones to snap a photo. Social media mentions on Instagram or Facebook can create buzz and bring in customers who are likely to order a full meal before indulging in dessert.
“More return visits, as well as new customer acquisition due to exposure on social media platforms, translates to higher sales both savory-wise and dessert-wise,” Magana said.
In addition to bringing in customers to try desserts in-house, eye-catching treats can also prompt consumers to make desserts part of their off-premise order. Whether customers are rounding out a family celebration with a few special sweets or adding an indulgent end to a dinner-for-one, desserts to be eaten at home also deserve special presentation.
For desserts that have to travel to their final destination, whipped cream, sauces and other traditional plating flourishes aren’t practical, since they can melt and smear. Instead, “the product should present itself well, with packaging being complementary,” said chef Jody Klocko, who also works in R&D at Sweet Street. A clear plastic clamshell or a box with a plastic window can keep things contained while showing off the item inside. For off-premise desserts, Klocko advises that it’s best to “keep it fun, clean and simple.”
For more dessert ideas and inspiration, visit Sweet Street’s website.
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