How to analyse your dessert menu and add value to your creations with chocolate

How to analyse your dessert menu and add value to your creations with chocolate

Chocolate creations

With the right approach, desserts can be big business. Last year alone, Brits spent a staggering £915 million on desserts*, up from £836 million in 2020. And with desserts’ popularity tipped to keep on rising, how can you grab your slice of the pie? 

There are endless ways you can make more from your desserts. In this article, we’re cutting through the noise with a simple, three-step guide to creating more profitable dessert menus.

Menu engineering

1. Become a master of ‘menu engineering’

Despite the technical sounding name, you’re probably already doing this on some level. Generally speaking, menu engineering is the process of reviewing the following things: a dish’s popularity (sales); against its profitability (cash in the till); and complexity (how much of a faff it is to make).

Looking at your desserts from this angle, you can make smart decisions about which ones to keep and which ones to cull, based on their profitability.

You can approach menu engineering in two ways:

1) Do an operational review. Items that sell for a high price and are popular are all very well, but what’s needed to create them in the kitchen is also worth considering. If they’re slowing your staff down, then you might need to make some changes to the plate. Sit down with your chef team to work through the menu from this practical perspective, as they’ll be able to give you an honest and expert view on each dessert.
2) Do a ‘Boston Grid’ analysis. This involves mapping each item on your menu against a profitability line (‘x’ axis) and popularity line (’y’ axis) ,which cross over one another to give you a grid made up of four squares. The result’s pretty telling; everything you see in the top right square will be your most popular and most profitable desserts. Anything in the bottom left square will be your least popular and least profitable desserts, making what to cull a complete no-brainer.

Right ingredients

2. Use the right ingredients

Some ingredients can make desserts more complicated to create, while others are designed to make your life easier and can add real value to your creations. Watch out for:

  • Single-use ingredients that you only use in one dish, but which take up storage space or need lots of prep
  • Ingredients that create a lot of waste, like those with a very short shelf life and / or only appear in less popular dishes
  • Large pack sizes, which can result in stocking far more of an ingredient than you need and it going off before you’ve used up the pack


chocolate lava cake

3. Raise the bar with chocolate

Chocolate makes a fantastic addition to your ambient store, thanks to its endless uses. There’s a plethora of common dessert moments out there that offer creative opportunities, allowing you to add valuable flourishes to your dessert without overcomplicating in the kitchen.

Our Chocolate Academy Chefs are always working to create new recipes to inspire you to elevate the everyday. Check out our Inspiration section for more.