Snack & dessert profitability primer

From Mondelēz International Foodservice.

Perhaps you showcase packaged snack and dessert items in an attractive countertop rack to encourage grab-and-go sales. Or maybe you feature an irresistible milkshake or parfait made with brand-name cookie mix-ins.

If so, you are one of the many foodservice operators who earn higher profits by promoting snack and dessert items as add-on sales or as ingredients in house-made creations. And that’s a smart move: to put it bluntly, anyone who isn’t doing this is leaving money on the table.

As the economy slowly recovers, merchandising packaged snacks and desserts for patrons to enjoy on the premises or take back to the office — as well as promoting your own signature desserts — can make a big difference in your bottom line.

For starters, indulging in snacks and desserts is an increasingly common behavior these days. In fact, more and more folks like to nosh periodically throughout the day rather than sit down to eat three square meals every day. When snackers feel the urge to munch, they reach for anything from cookies or crackers to salty snacks and breakfast biscuits. However, at the same time, consumers are increasingly demanding lighter snack options, like 100-calorie packs of popular snack and dessert items.

Imagine if you sold a snack or dessert item to just one in four customers per day. If you serve 200 people daily, and the average snack or dessert is priced at $2.50, that amounts to $125 in additional sales per day — or more than $45,000 per year. With the profit margin on some snack and dessert items reaching 70 percent, you can see how that adds up.

Many operators choose snacks and desserts with brand names that consumers have known and trusted for years. From a merchandising standpoint, the eye-catching graphics on the labels of these well-known products leverage brand equity to drive sales. Also, these leading brands often offer operators free display racks and point-of-sale materials that showcase customers’ favorite brands.

Of course, no one grows his or her bottom line without managing food and labor costs. Here again, packaged, branded snack and dessert items really come in handy. They take little or no labor to sell, especially if you put them out in self-serve displays. They tend to have relatively long shelf lives and minimal waste. Depending on how elaborate your offerings are, you may find that the cost of menuing these products is negligible. In fact, many foodservice operators avoid the expense of hiring a pastry chef by working with ready-to-use packaged snacks and desserts.

Additionally, you certainly don’t need advanced skills to transform house-made desserts into true signature items with snack and dessert ingredients. For example, crumbled graham crackers add texture and flavor to a fruit-and-yogurt parfait; crushed cookies make a great ice cream topping or pie crust base. Moreover, it’s easy to turn salty snacks into crunchy garnishes for burgers and sandwiches or an appealing addition to the breading of chicken wings or mozzarella sticks.

Finally, it is a good habit to regularly groom your snack and dessert menu mix. Rank your items in order of sales and analyze how much profit each one produces. A smart operator promotes the strongest performers and replaces the slowest sellers with new choices.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

Sponsored Content
gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

FSD Resources