This post is sponsored by Sweet Street.
The increase in off-premises dining coupled with consumer cravings for comforting foods mean there’s never been a better time for restaurants to play up takeout-friendly dessert offerings.
Takeout and delivery already accounted for an increasingly large part of the foodservice business, but the coronavirus pandemic quickly made off-premises orders indispensable for many operators. Even as eateries reopen to dine-in customers, many people feel safer getting food to eat at home. More than half (58%) of consumers said they are avoiding eating out during this time, according to a May report from Datassential, but about three-quarters of consumers said they feel truly comfortable ordering food for delivery. An even higher percentage (80%) said the same for curbside pickup and drive-thru.
Sweet never goes out of style
Eating takeout or delivery in their own homes lets diners enjoy restaurant food while staying in their comfort zone. Many consumers are seeking out an additional level of comfort in the foods they choose. Almost a quarter of consumers surveyed by Datassential in March said they are eating more indulgent food and treats.
Desserts are a great way to make takeout meals feel special and celebratory. Individually wrapped products let operators keep multiple options in stock and require no prep when adding to takeout orders. Setting up a grab-and-go station with wrapped items is an easy way to entice customers to add a dessert to their pick-up order.
Sweet Street offers cardboard counter displays for its Manifesto Individually Wrapped desserts. The lineup of treats — which includes cookies, bars and a new line of pullman loaf slices that’s coming soon — allow operators to simply thaw and serve. This type of simplicity is especially important right now, and 58% of foodservice operators say they have narrowed their menu offerings since the start of the pandemic, according to a July report from Datassential. However, even with fewer options, desserts are still a priority, and 16% said they have added more “comfort food” menu items.
In addition to its individually wrapped items, Sweet Street also offers a range of packaging solutions for its other dessert products. Bags and boxes allow operators to pack up desserts for any occasion — whether it’s a single slice of pie or a large-format cookie packed in a pizza box.
“We created a brochure that helps our customer know what works with each of our products and where and how to purchase them. We continue to look for new and improved packaging all the time to help our customers as we know take-out and delivery is here to stay,” said Robin Drezner, marketing manager for the Pennsylvania-based dessert company.
Spread the word on social media
To help operators boost off-premises dessert sales even more, Sweet Street launched its #ShareSweetness campaign. Using social media, restaurants can tap into the advertising power of word-of-mouth when they encourage customers to post photos of their desserts on their social feeds.
“By encouraging customers to mention their restaurant in their own posts, operators can get the positive vibes multiplying,” said Drezner, who offered these creative suggestions for restaurants:
- Encourage customers to include #ShareSweetness and the restaurant’s own hashtag to widen the reach of their messages
- Challenge customers to post a photo of how they #ShareSweetness at home
- Poll customers on what kind of food/dessert pairings they’d like to see offered
- Create a contest in which the entry is a post that mentions your restaurant (prize option could be a gift card or a free catered meal)
- Hand-write or print stickers on your packaging with your hashtag/brand to encourage customer interaction and generate additional user content
Get more tips for driving off-premises dessert sales with the #ShareSweetness campaign in Sweet Street’s Operator Toolkit.