Dessert Is Good For Your Taste Buds, Bad For Restaurants’ Profit Margins

Most restaurants offer dessert, but depending on what time of day it is, they might not want you to actually order it. Profit margins on desserts aren’t great, and restaurants would rather you left your table to more paying customers or ordered something more profitable if you’re going to stick around and take up space.

Restaurants can make desserts in-house or buy pre-made frozen ones, but that comes with either the expense of employing a pastry chef, or setting aside time for cooks to make desserts to serve later. Both of those options carry extra expenses, and the profits from desserts don’t really justify having thawing cheesecakes or dawdling customers taking up space in the restaurant.

If you’re going to stick around, a restaurant would rather see you order sodas or mixed drinks instead of sharing a slice of cheesecake. Drinks remain the most profitable things on the menu, especially fountain sodas. That’s why coffee and digestifs (after-dinner booze) are there on the dessert menu: they’re higher-profit items that a restaurant can serve alongside desserts if you’re going to stick around.

Why many restaurants don’t actually want you to order dessert [Wonkblog]