New Trends in Chocolate; Perfect for the Restaurant Booth

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There is nothing new about the idea that Americans love chocolate. Our
love affair with the confection is long and well established.
Sixty-four percent of restaurants that offer
dessert serve a least one chocolate option. That is up from 53 percent in 2005.
However, the real goal for a restaurateur is to branch out into new areas.

Chocolate is such a comfort food that it is easy to promote any item
on the menu if it is enhanced by chocolate. Nothing is as satisfying as hot chocolate on a cold day. Customers will
be delighted to curl up with a good cup and a piece of pie as a mid-afternoon
break from the work of the day.

Put White Chocolate on the Bar Tables

White chocolate is a current favorite both on the dining table and in
the bar. Delicate enough to blend flawlessly with drinks of all sorts, white
chocolate complements rather than overpowers. White chocolate syrup can be
added to martinis or frozen drinks, especially during the winter months. It is
also a treat in coffee drinks.

In its solid form, white chocolate can be added to any number of
courses. White chocolate chips work well in pancakes, a drizzle can top cakes,
and melted, the flavor is great in fondue.

Chocolate for Every Course

Although most think of chocolate in a sweet capacity, there are many
dishes that include chocolate for its savory appeal. For example, mole, the
sauce featured in many Mexican dishes, takes its inspiration from chocolate.
Chocolate mixes very well with chili and it can also be added to main courses,
enhancing the menu.

Another option is to include a variety of chocolate desserts.
Chocolate cakes, ice creams, pies and other sweets have been, and continue to
remain, popular.

Make a Mark

One way to make the most of a chocolate is to make a signature item.
By creating a special item that is yours alone, you help your restaurant stand
out from the crowd.

With Valentine
s Day around the corner, this is a great time to
introduce a new item. Long associated with the holiday, chocolate can be the
focus of a complete menu. With a bit of creativity, the theme can be extended
if you partner up with a local inn or hotel. People like packages, and romance
is easy to sell in February.

No matter what the season, the goal will always be to fill the dining
room at every seating. Adjusting your menu to address trends is one way to keep
on top of the industry. For many guests, seeing changes that reflect their
seasonal expectations means that you care enough to continue to offer
excellence as well as a bit of fun.