“You’re Gonna Like the Way You FEEL, I Guarantee It”

I can’t remember where I found this jpeg, probably on FaceBook, but it really struck a chord. When I was at the helm of a kitchen my feeling was that every customer wants a dessert and should be given the opportunity to say “YES” and purchase something sweet. As a consumer, I still have that desire but find far too often that restaurants feed into the reasons for people to say no.

Let’s face it, we don’t need the calories or fat, and probably could live without spending the extra cash, yet a meal that doesn’t end with a dessert seems to be lacking.

There is a growing population of very talented, passionate pastry chefs who should receive the same level of respect and accolade that quality savory chef’s have come to expect, yet how much thought is really given to the importance of dessert to the guest experience and the ways of accomplishing a “guilt-free” sale.

Since a very early age, desserts have been a stress reliever for many. There is a sense that buying dessert is special and in some ways a departure from “being good”. Desserts do bring a smile to people’s face, provide a special reward for good times and a respite from the not so good times. In the hands of a gifted pastry chef, any guest should be able to enjoy this finish to a meal without guilt.

At some point restaurants made a decision that bigger is always better and developed desserts that were so over the top in calories, portion sizes and fat that they became intimidating to order.

Toning down the portion sizes, reflecting on the use of fresh fruits and nuts, incorporating fresh herbs and alternative spices in lieu of added sugar can result in exceptional end-of-meal desserts that excite and satisfy. Five-hundred calorie desserts that push the envelope of common sense do not help the guest, the server, the pastry chef or the restaurant.

Every dessert should be comprised of four different components (based on conversations with some of my favorite pastry chef friends):
Something Soft
Something Fresh
Something Crunchy and
a Complementary Sauce

Working this into a formula that strives to create 3-4 bite desserts will help to bring a smile to your guests, pride to your pastry chef, added revenue for the restaurant and a larger base for server gratuities.

Create a “stress reliever” dessert menu rather than one that creates stress for the diner. Remember, it is the total dining experience that brings people back to a restaurant. Make sure that desserts remain a part of that experience. At the end of the meal, the diner should enjoy the way they feel, not sense that they owe their body an apology.

Pastry chefs – feel free to chime in!

  3 comments for ““You’re Gonna Like the Way You FEEL, I Guarantee It”

  1. Erika
    June 27, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Great article! I love a good dessert and would love to end with it a bit more often. I think it also helps when a menu lists the desserts with the other courses. Then people can be enticed by something right away and then est do that they save room for it!

  2. Jen Beach
    June 29, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Well I agree. There are many ways to end a meal with a sweet. At The Balsams we always offered a small plate of cookies. Even today with all that we offer at Popovers, cookies are my favorite. Many of our guests will purchase just 1 or 2 after their salad or sandwich. They are small and managable, we don’t offer the giant ones.

  3. David Keefe
    June 30, 2013 at 1:46 am

    When I was around 4 years old, a long time ago, My parents realized I was, a spaz, high energy, what ever label you want to use, that was me. So they taught me to bake, cookies, cakes, pies, puddings.. etc. all from scratch, NEVER a box, cooking pudding, frostings.. you get the picture. This developed the NEED for dessert after each meal or later with coffee. I am on the far back side of 40, spent two wonder full years at PSC, enjoyed ALL my training, more now than then… memories adjust with aged perspective. I still cook, bake and entertain almost every night, there must always be a closer, Coffee and a good dessert is that in this house… thanks Chef for your investment, just a segment of my life, but one where the gift keeps on giving
    David C Keefe HRM 85′

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