by Holly Rogers

5 ways to provide the Wow Factor with your menu

5 ways to provide the Wow Factor with your menu
For many of us, going out to eat and drink still feels like more of a treat than it ever did before the pandemic. And with the cost of living rising and purse strings feeling tight for many, giving consumers something special when they do go out will be even more important.

Our recent bespoke consumer research showed us that the top 4 reasons driving out of home visits are all social or celebratory occasions*:


  • Family occasions
  • Catching up with friends
  • Going out for a treat or reward
  • Going out for personal celebrations


Which suggests that eating and drinking out is commonly seen as an occasion that people want to truly enjoy, as opposed to a convenience-led quick bite to eat.

We also asked consumers how they would go about really ‘treating themselves’ when they do eat and drink out. The most common way people do this is by ordering a dessert*. This overtakes ordering a better quality dish, drinking alcohol or choosing a more premium venue!

So, ensuring that you have an appealing and exciting dessert menu could provide a real upsell opportunity. And it seems some consumers can be easily swayed… as 1 in 4 people would be inclined to order a dessert that seemed ‘new and exciting’ on a menu*.

We’ve seen a real rise in dessert shops and parlours over the past few years, and they’re really gaining momentum – especially amongst younger consumers. In fact, a quarter (25%) of under 35 year olds have visited a dessert parlour over the past year*.

Take a look at the video below to watch us out on the streets of London trying out some of the hottest new dessert concepts… they definitely had the Wow Factor!



But you don’t necessarily have to be a dessert concept to offer something ‘wow’ on your menu.

From decadent melting chocolate bombs to fun ice cream sundaes and hybrid concepts like ‘cronuts’, we’re seeing a whole range of ‘instagrammable’, exciting and fun desserts popping up on menus across the board.

So, here are 5 ways you could add some ‘Wow Factor’ to your dessert menu…


1. Sharing platters

We’ve seen that social and celebratory occasions are the main drivers of eating out visits.

Sharing platters built up from various miniature desserts could work really well for groups of people with different tastes and dietary preferences.

Not only do they give your customers a chance to try different things from your menu, but a sharing platter can be a great way to upsell by persuading those who may be on the fence about ordering a dessert for themselves.

Sharing boards or plates can easily be jazzed up with simple additions like fresh or frozen fruit, scoops of ice cream and other sweet treats.

Your chef team can get creative with presentation ideas too, to make sure they’re instagrammable!


2. Celebration cakes

If consumers are out celebrating occasions like birthdays, engagements or even graduations… they’ll often want to bring their own celebration cake.

However, customising a versatile dessert or cake that’s big enough for a group can be a great way to encourage customers to order from your menu instead.

If you have a cheesecake on your menu, could you add a personal message in icing, or top it up with the customer’s favourite ice cream flavour or fruit? A little personal touch can go a long way.

You could prompt customers to pre-order these when they’re making a group booking, whether this is online, on the phone, or even in person. Something like… “Celebrating? Treat yourself or your loved ones to one of our delicious and exciting celebration cakes. Pre-order here”


3. Add unique twists to your favourite desserts

Although new and exciting desserts provide a strong motivation to purchase, it doesn’t mean you need to re-vamp your entire dessert menu and keep re-inventing the wheel.

Simple swaps, unique flavour additions or even twists on presentation can make your dessert menu more unique. Think frozen custard with your classic crumble during summer, or seasonal variations of cheesecakes and innovative ice cream flavours on the side of desserts.


4. Desserts don’t have to be desserts

Drinks menus are becoming more and more innovative and fun – whether they’re seasonal hot chocolates with fun flavours and whipped cream, confectionary-themed milkshakes with exciting toppings, or even candyfloss topped cocktails… An Eton Mess and a cocktail combined… we wouldn’t say no!

Dessert-style drinks can also be great options for a grab-and-go occasion, or perhaps for those wanting a sweet treat but feeling too full for a dessert.


5. Make it fun for children

Providing a ‘build your own dessert’ option for children can be a great way to make their eating out occasion more fun, personal, and keep them entertained so that you can enjoy yourself too!
It doesn’t need to be too complicated. Consider waffles, pancakes, or even ice creams and sorbets with different toppings to play around with. This could be done with confectionary, syrups and sauces, or even healthier options like fresh or dried fruit.


To find out more about what other themes, flavours and concepts are trending in 2022, head to our web page today.


*CGA and Bidfood, bespoke consumer survey, 1,502 UK adults, October 2021

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