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Author: Ann Marie Harkins

Landfill Free by 2025

There is more behind out desserts than fine ingredients. There is a heartfelt commitment to our planet, our community and our people. Adhering to socially responsible purchasing, ensuring our world can flourish for future generations. This is our commitment to our partners and customers.

In 2022, Sweet Street announced the Landfill Free by 2025 initiative. By partnering with sustainable energy plants, the bakery’s waste stream will be converted to biodiesel fuel and all remaining materials will be recycled or used as fuel to generate electricity. 

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. Biodiesel meets both the biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Renewable diesel, also called “green diesel,” is distinct from biodiesel. (https://afdc.energy.gov)

We recycle cardboard, aluminum, metal, plastics and all paper. Rather than sending waste to a landfill, we either recycle or use it as fuel to generate electricity at a nearby power plant. It also lowers our number of hauls, which conserves gas and reduces emissions. By doing so, we reduced our waste hauling by nearly 1000 tons over 2 years. We are aggressively working toward our goal, being completely landfill free by 2025.

We produce frozen desserts shipped around the world and we must deliver these in the finest condition with zero food safety issues. In addition to meeting food grade standards, over 95% of our plastic packaging is recyclable number 1 or 6. We have reduced the size of our packaging, and our mailing carton is made from recycled material. In fact, 46% of the fiber used to make all of our corrugated packaging is recovered/recycled. Our corrugated packaging suppliers are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Our bakery operates with an energy conservation mindset. We are constantly looking at ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Recent projects have included installing variable frequency drives to reduce fan speeds where possible (electricity reduction), automating cooling tower operation to better control water usage (water reduction) and utilizing heat dissipated by our product cooling system to heat our plant water year round.

Read more about our social and environmental responsibility here.

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Menu Hacks: The Psychology Behind Menu Design

By blog, Industry News, Interesting Facts, menu design, restaurant industry Comments Off on Menu Hacks: The Psychology Behind Menu Design

Your most valuable piece of marketing as a restaurant owner is a thoughtfully designed menu. It advertises your offerings while increasing your restaurant’s profitability. Menu engineering is the strategic process of designing a menu to maximize profits. It requires analyzing profitable and your most popular menu items. Using menu psychology techniques to highlight these items, restaurants can construct menus in the most effective way.

First, you must analyze menu items to find the most popular and profitable, which is important since you’ll be constructing your menu around these items. Ensure that your menu is priced correctly for maximum profits and understand item popularity using the menu matrix. After analyzing your menu items and pricing them appropriately, the fun can begin with these designing hacks.

Scannability

The first component to consider in menu design is its scannability. Therefore, restaurateurs want to grab guests’ attention with their high profit items. The research shows that customers are likely to order one of the first items that draw their attention. Since guests only spend an average of 109 seconds looking at your menu, it must be designed for guests to easily find key items aka scannable.

You want to avoid crowded layouts, limit item choices, and create a natural flow. Do you ever get overwhelmed at the sight of too many options? This is the psychological theory known as the “paradox of choice,” which assumes that the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel, whereas too little options make consumers feel misrepresented. The golden number for food options is 7 per category. Anything over seven items can ambush customers and lead to confusion, and confusion can cause them to revert to their “usual” by default instead of trying a new menu item. There is no shame in sticking with what you know, but a well-designed menu will entice you to try something different or more expensive.

  • Limit Options.Psychologists suggest that restaurateurs limit options per category to the golden number, around 7 items, based on the theory, “paradox of choice”. Limiting options can increase perceptions that consumers made the right choice, which in turn brings customers back. in an industry where repeat customers account for about 70% of sales, getting diners to return is the ultimate goal. (Mental Floss)
  • Declutter. Avoid crowded layouts and choose easy-to-read fonts and font sizes. Stick with visible dish titles and clear sections.
  • Location, location, location! Psychologists have studied consumer eye patterns and found that our eyes tend to move to the center of the menu first, then move on to the top right corner, followed by the top left corner. This is known as “The Golden Triangle”. Place your most profitable menu items in these prime real estate locations (Webstaurant)
  • Use glossaries if needed. Some patrons may feel intimidated by unfamiliar names and be deterred from ordering fancy-sounding dishes. A glossary can give more context so guests feel confident that they’re making an informed decision and the right choice.

Sensibility

Next, consider the menu’s ability to tap into the customer’s senses. Do the food items catch your eye? Does the menu evoke emotion? According to restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, colors can conjure different types of feelings and “motivate” behavior. For example; blue has a calming effect, while red can stimulate appetite and a sense of urgency, and yellow draws our attention. Entertain the use of borders, shaded boxes, and white space to highlight specific and profitable items. Crowding your menu with photos can cheapen the feel of a menu, but a nice-looking picture alongside a food item can increase sales by 30%.

Another tactic is writing longer, more detailed descriptions that persuade customers they are getting more for their dollar. According to a Cornell study, researchers found that more detailed descriptions sold nearly 30% more food. Customers also rated those items as tasting better. “People taste what you tell them they’re tasting” says menu engineer, Gregg Rapp (Mental Floss). So tell them a story! Detail dishes with verbiage that describes where it’s sourced and how it’s prepared to be effective in increasing the perception of quality in the items.

  • Use color. Choose a color scheme that reflects your sales and marketing objective. People emotionally respond to color, subconsciously, which can influence their behavior. You can use bright colors, which capture attention and trigger appetite, to draw focus to specific arrears of your menu.
  • Use photos. Use professional photography in your menu, but do it sparingly. People respond to images on display like they would if the plate was right in front of them and if you’re hungry the response is “I’ll have that!”
  • It’s all about semantics! Mind the language that you use to describe your dishes and tell a story. Adjectives like “line-caught,” “farm-raised,” or “locally-sourced” are big turn-ons for customers and can increase the perception of quality.
  • Make it nostalgic. Touching past time-periods can trigger happy memories of their childhood, family or traditions. “Grandma’s Chicken Soup” or “Campfire Hot Cocoa” stir feelings of comfort and closeness.

Another trick is to create space around high-profit items by putting them in boxes or otherwise separating them from the rest of the options. “When you put in a pocket of negative space, you pull the eye there,” writes Allen. “Putting negative space around an item can call attention to it and help you sell it” (Mental Floss).

Profitability

Finally, circle back to your menu’s profitability. Perspective is everything when considering menu design. Author of Priceless, William Poundstone, reveals the psychology behind menus, stating ”ultimately, it’s about minimizing the focus on price”. Making price tags as inconspicuous as possible, we can encourage guests to spend more. A Cornell University study found that written-out prices also encourage guests to spend more. Here’s a few more hacks that are designed to increase your menu’s profit potential.

  • Avoid dollar signs. Currency indicators are a pain point that remind customers they are spending money and make them feel like they are spending more than they actually are. Soften the price by eliminating the dollar sign.
  • Avoid price trails. Price trails are dotted lines that connect your menu items to their price and are the cardinal sin of menu design. This takes the focus away from your dish description and straight to the price instead. Try “nested” pricing, prices that are listed discreetly after the meal description in the same font size, so consumer eyes glide right over it (Mental Floss).
  • Avoid price columns. Placing prices in a column will draw focus to the cost of the food, instead of the dish itself, which could lead guests to choose the cheapest items on the menu.
  • Use price decoys. A price “decoy” is a menu item that would seem overly expensive to guests, placed near high profit margin items. This gives the perception, when compared to the decoy, that customers are getting a deal, a “better bang for their buck”.
  • Sandwich your menu items. D Studies show that customers tend to notice and order the top two items or the last item of each section more often than other items. Place your most profitable items at the top of the list and one at the bottom to optimize your menu categories.

Final thoughts

Guests will scan your menu in less than 2 minutes on average, which means you have a small window to set the menu’s tone for customer satisfaction and optimal profit. Using these psychological tactics of menu design, to revamp your menu can greatly improve your restaurant’s profits and guest experience. Our Sweet Street Design Suite provides you with the expertise and tools to sell more.

 

 

Sources: Aaron Allen | WebstauranteStore | Canva | Mental Floss | The Sydney Morning Herald

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Spring Time! Dessert Secrets & Inspirations

By blog, Seasonal Desserts Comments Off on Spring Time! Dessert Secrets & Inspirations

With Spring just around the corner, we thought we’d welcome in the season by sharing our Spring-time secrets, holiday reminders, and LTO inspiration.

Seasonal LTOs rank #1 in consumer interest. The unique flavors available each season invite experimentation, with plenty of demand: 47% of diners (ages 18 – 34) say their menu preferences change with the seasons. As a result, restaurants can capitalize on the popularity of seasonal flavors and items that make sense. Here are our spring favorites, to help you prepare lively LTO specials. 

Springtime Desserts

Firstly, as Spring and Summer approach, we recommend adding some seasonal flavors to your menu, like citrus and berries. Our Lemon Blueberry Manifesto Cookie is a melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie, plump with wild Maine blueberries and a burst of citrus flavor. Operators can order them for bakery displays, or for a bright tasting treat, to-go with individually-wrapped options.

For something a little more upscale, try offering the comfort of our Blueberry Cobbler White Chocolate Cheesecake. Surely a crowd pleaser, with moist chunks of vanilla-bean cream cake, sweet swirls of berry compote, and creamy White Chocolate Cheesecake. Topped with blueberries, whipped cream and white chocolate shavings.

 

Keep things fresh by plating this decadent dessert with lemon curd and a drizzle of basil oil (see recipe here).  

 

 

Holiday Reminders

Also, Spring houses some important holidays, like Easter (April 17th) and Mother’s Day (May 8th). To prep your holiday dessert menu with a popular Easter dessert, choose four or six layers of carrot cake. Our Four High Carrot Cake is layer upon layer of moist carrot cake studded with raisins, walnuts and pineapple and then finished with cream cheese icing and a drizzle of white chocolate ganache. Another popular product is our Big Carrot Cake is six layers of moist carrot cake sandwiched with our smooth cream cheese icing all studded with pecans.

 

 

Don’t forget, presentation matters

 

 

Similarly, you’ll want to prep for Mother’s Day. To honor motherhood and celebrate maternal bonds that have made us into who we are, we salute our superheroes. They go by ‘Mom’. Here are some suggestions to make Mother’s Day extra special with dessert! Operators can offer our Raspberry White Chocolate Cheese Brulee on it’s own. A silken smooth white chocolate cheese, with a vibrant red raspberry swirl., hand-fired and glazed in simple elegance. Or layer pieces of the cheesecake with raspberry mousse and sauce, vanilla Chantilly cream with fresh raspberries in this trifle recipe. A beautiful dish with a modern twist!

 

 

Another indulgent option is this rich brownie bowl recipe made with our Honduran Chocolate Manifesto Brownie, but could easily be substituted with our Fabulous Chocolate Chunk Brownie. Top the brownie with Peruvian crème fraiche and ganache, shower with the crunch of Amaretto cookie crumbles, and finish with Amarena cherries. 

 

 

LTO Sprinkle

Finally, almost half of all restaurant consumers find it important for operators to keep menus fresh throughout the year by offering specialty items and LTOs. Read more about that here. Therefore, to make things easier for our customers, we’ve picked out some of our favorite Spring-inspired recipes and ideas. Revive classic desserts that will have your customers craving for more as a result. Reinvent what one sku can do for you with versatile products like our New York Cheesecake and Original Cheesecake Xango®.

 

Contact your sales rep today to get ahead of the Spring time buzz!

 

 

Barsicle Concept Video

Bonus idea! For our stay-at-home consumers, here’s a great idea for a Springtime gathering – barsicle recipes

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