According to a new report in Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), American consumers want to have their cake and not only eat it, too, but also lose weight in the process. While that sounds like an impossible task, restaurant and bakery owners are tying to help them achieve that goal by downsizing desserts in one of the nation’s hottest food trends. And as NRN says, “While it’s unclear if downsized desserts have helped shrink Americans’ waistlines, they have helped expand some restaurants’ bottom lines.”
Mini-desserts first cropped up about 10 years ago, when, according to research company Datassential MenuTrends, they appeared on about 6 percent of restaurant menus. In 2014, this essentially doubled to almost 12 percent.
Has your eatery gone mini yet? The most popular small desserts are cupcakes, cookies and brownies. But in the past year, NRN reports, “Miniature pastries, cannoli and cakes have shown the strongest growth.”
NRN talked to several restaurants that have had great success selling miniature desserts. New York City’s Delicatessen sells about 30 mini birthday cakes (a 3-inch version of traditional birthday cake) a night, at $12 each. It also sells a similar amount of Lemon Meringue Bombes, “a tiny lemon meringue pie covered in meringue and brûléed to order, served with pineapple sorbet and pineapple chips,” for $10. (I so want to try that.)
In Kittery, Maine, Robert’s Maine Grill has been selling mini-versions of its full-sized desserts, including “Blueberry Crumble a La Mode, Raspberry Pie a La Mode, Farmhouse Chocolate Cake, Brownie Sundae, Lime Coconut Cheesecake and Chocolate Pecan Pie,” for five years. According to the restaurant’s owner, the small versions, priced at $3.50 apiece, outsell the full-sized ones.
NRN also found several restaurants across the country selling plates of petite donuts (some with dipping sauces), which are easily shared by all diners at the table, allowing everyone to indulge without guilt. This is one of those food trends that appeals to just about everyone and is easy to implement in your eatery.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.