Take Advantage of Current Beverage Trends to Improve Your Sales

Take Advantage of Current Beverage Trends to Improve Your Sales

A bartender's hand places a layered chocolate drink on a tray

Drinks and desserts are a natural combination for increasing sales and profit: the profit margins on coffee and tea beverages are some of the highest on your menu, and desserts offer a low food cost, not to mention the opportunity to leave customers with a sweet final impression of your establishment. Oddly, these are two categories often neglected when a chef or business owner is looking to inject new life into their menu and their sales.

A servers hands seen mixing a creamy chocolate beverage

The Benefits of Expanding Your Drinks Menu

Even if your shop or restaurant doesn’t have a full beverage program, you likely offer coffee and tea, both hot and iced, year-round. You probably also offer your customers a reasonable range of add-ins as well: milk, cream, plant-based milk, sugar, honey, maybe even flavored syrups. Perhaps your coffee or tea service includes a small chocolate or cookie on the side. Hold on; step back. You do, in fact, have a full beverage program; you’re just not taking full advantage of it.

Specialty and dessert beverages offer some distinct advantages to chefs and owners:

  • They require few ingredients
  • Are quick and easy to make
  • Are high-profit

So don’t hold back. Chances are, you’re well on your way already, and with a few additional ingredients and easy recipes, you can transform your existing menu. Let’s look at three key strategies to upgrade your menu and take advantage of everything a beverage renaissance has to offer your business.

A frothy chocolate drink, spoon, and matching dessert

Better Together: Drink & Dessert Combos

Dessert/Drink combos offer your customers value while creating a unique experience. For chefs wanting to flex their creativity, highlight a special ingredient, or encourage sales of a specific item, a dessert and drink pairing can check all the boxes. It's time to take a closer look at how this works and discover the benefits to you and your guests.

Combos have a high perceived value. A large mocha with whipped cream and a slice of 8-layer chocolate cake, ordered separately, may be more than a guest wants, and the price of those two separate items combined may seem quite high for items your customer may not finish. In contrast, a specialty tea latte served with a pair of madeleines in a complimentary flavor is much more appealing. Below we'll explore why this is true:

  • Price: the price of a full-sized beverage and full-sized dessert, offered separately, seems to add up quickly. A specialty pairing in a smaller size for a single price is much more attractive, especially if you are able to offer a discount.
  • Health: Customers looking to improve their health and cut their calorie intake will gravitate toward more reasonably-sized options. A dessert and drink combo offers a more balanced experience.
  • Unique experiences: The thoughtfulness behind specifically paired desserts and beverages offers your customers an experience they can’t get elsewhere. Coupling high-quality ingredients with this uniqueness makes your paired desserts and drinks extra-indulgent and desirable.
A decadent chocolate beverage topped with large chocolate shavings and fresh mint

Beverage Benefits: Unique, premium, customizable

It’s no secret that a product’s perceived value affects its sticker price nearly as much as the actual cost of the ingredients that went into making it. Small details can make a big impact and can increase the amount customers are willing to pay for an item with minimal added costs on your part.

What sort of things will cause a customer to gravitate toward one item over another? Today’s consumer places a high value on natural and sustainable ingredients while also looking for an indulgence that will boost their emotional and mental health. A mocha made with coffee and hot chocolate powder pales in comparison to one created with real ground chocolate and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Neither of these changes adds a notable increase to the cost of the item, yet a customer is willing to pay substantially more for a drink with these two simple additions. The effect is magnified by the addition of chocolate garnishes.

Allowing guests to customize their experience by choosing milk, dark, or Ruby chocolate, for example, or by offering plant-based options will increase the perceived value even more. In any case, using real, high-quality ingredients is key, and when these ingredients offer the benefit of also being sustainably produced, you’ve created a unique indulgence that your guests can feel good about choosing.

A white chocolate and caramel dessert beverage with Crispearls®

Currently Trending: Drinkable Desserts

We all crave a little something sweet after a meal - it’s science! In fact, 88% of millennials like to have dessert after a meal. By creating drinkable desserts that are both indulgent and innovative, you’ll be offering your guests an experience they simply can’t pass up. When thinking of drinkable desserts, your first thought may be something ice cream-based, such as a milkshake. While ice cream is definitely on the menu, you have many more options for creating sophisticated and appealing dessert beverages that highlight your skills and creativity while increasing profits and offering your customers desserts they’ll crave.

Dessert beverages made with seasonal produce, house-made “extras” like real whipped cream, elegant decor, and all the thought and care you put into your other menu items will be welcomed by customers. The opportunities to customize these items to your customers’ preferences or your business needs make them extra-attractive. While exposure on social media might not be at the top of your list, colorful and beautifully executed dessert beverages are trending worldwide, and your unique touch could gain you some extra followers. And for cafes and restaurants looking to expand their to-go dessert sales, dessert beverages can fill that need perfectly!

Cover of the Beverages Booklet, Text: Spoil with Your Craft

Take Your Beverage Menu to the Next Level!

Ready to dive in? Our booklet has recipes and insights to help you get on top of this trend and make the most of your menu.