Whoever said, “Life is short, eat dessert first” was probably on to something. Unfortunately, though, most of your guests don’t walk into the restaurant ready to take that advice. Dessert sales can be hard to come by, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Implement targeted sales training, coach your waitstaff to suggest desserts to every table, and try the ideas below to get started.

Suggest Dessert Twice

To increase dessert sales, always suggest them at least twice: once after taking the entrée order and then again after clearing the entrée plates. Don’t ever say, “Do you want some dessert?” That doesn’t sound enticing. Make it sound irresistible. Try this format:

“Now we’re ready for the best part of the meal, one of our great desserts! Maybe the Mud Pie made with chocolate chip ice cream, Oreo cookie crust and covered with a Kahlua-chocolate fudge sauce? Our homemade pie today is fresh peach, and it’s great topped with cinnamon ice cream.”

More Ideas to Increase Dessert Sales

Try these ideas to sell even more desserts:

  • Always suggest dessert before you suggest coffee. To many people, offering coffee signals the end of the meal.
  • Always suggest a range of two different types of dessert, such as a chocolate one and a fruit one.
  • Suggest that your guests split a dessert if they indicate that they’re “too full.” (“All of our desserts come with two forks!”)
How to Sell More Desserts Free Poster

Click the image to download, then print, a full-size poster to use increase dessert sales.

Pairing Desserts with Wine

After-dinner drinks are great ways to bump up bar profits, but what about the guest who says, “I don’t do the hard stuff” and turns down the Irish coffees and Grasshoppers? Train your waitstaff how to suggest wine with desserts by pairing them well. Here’s an example:

  • Server: Our specialty dessert tonight is a six-layer chocolate cake with mocha filling and fudge icing. Can I bring you a couple?
  • Guest: I’ll try it with some coffee.
  • Server: Great! We also have a wonderful, dry Cabernet that goes perfectly with chocolate and coffee. Would you like try a glass?
  • Guest: OK!

Role-playing is a great way to make sure the product knowledge and sales techniques you covered in your training sessions make their way into practice during a real shift.