Panera is currently offering a cookie or other baked good for 99¢ with the purchase of an entrée. Obviously dessert is always an appealing option and they do a good job promoting it with signage on the doors and a display at the register. However, the tipping point for the decision rests elsewhere: with the cashier.
Here are two ways the transaction could go:
- Cashier, “Would you like anything else?” Customer, “No thanks.”
- Cashier, “Would you like a cookie for an additional 99 cents?” Customer, “Yes!”
Of course, the first customer could go the extra mile and ask for the offer that was advertised all over the store and the second customer could decline the offer. However, the second scenario leads much more directly to a “yes.”
Words are important when it comes to training cashiers or waitstaff to handle customers and upsell. A recent article in Restaurant Hospitality offers phrases that can make a big difference.
When training your frontline staff, emphasize that being direct and specific is always the best way to go. “Would you like anything else?” is too vague to produce a desirable result. Instead, they should be taking note of what might be missing from a standard order (drink? side?) and looking for opportunities to make the order more complete, encourage trial of new items, and promote special offers.
Photo credit: Ava Rose
Go Greek or go home. That’s the sentiment from the yogurt giants regarding the new “Healthy and Indulgent” trend: Greek yogurt. This yogurt segment helped rocket previously unknown brands like Chobani and Fage to the top of the yogurt category in market share.
And now, frozen treat chains like TCBY and Ben and Jerry’s, are catching on, turning Greek yogurt into a frozen treat packed with twice the protein and lower in calories than regular ice cream. National retail sales of Greek yogurt more than doubled in 2011 according to Mintel.
As dessert trends go, if it’s going to be a “bad for you” dessert, then make it smaller. Brands like Chili’s have seen the increase in dessert orders by switching from the uber-indulgent, calorie-busting, plate-filling desserts to small, even quaint, portion sizes.
Can the QSR category learn from these fast-growing trends? I think they can. Here are a few ideas that would coax me into pulling a couple extra bucks out of my wallet:
- Update the formula – Take what you do well in desserts, cut back the sugar content and add healthy benefits like whole fruit or protein powder. We already know healthy options attract a broader customer base like Millennials, so why not extend those to desserts?
- Reinvent the “Value Meal” – Take your basic desserts, cut the size and offer them as an add-on to the value meal for a smaller price. Two or four ounces of an indulgent treat are a lot more palatable than 12+ ounce gut busters after a large meal.
- Sell sample platters – People love to try and share desserts. Offer them tiny versions of all flavor varieties…they may just come in outside of mealtimes to check it out.
What other successful dessert trends are you seeing?