Actually, That Waiter Doesn't Want You to Order Dessert

The food may be rich, but the profits are slim
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2015 4:07 PM CST
Actually, That Waiter Doesn't Want You to Order Dessert
Desserts aren't always in a restaurant's best interest.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

When your waiter asks if you'd like coffee or dessert, he's hoping for a yes, right? Perhaps not. It turns out that many restaurants are better off, from a financial perspective, if you get out of there and make room for the next customer, the Washington Post reports. Dessert frequently offers even slimmer profit margins than other parts of your meal. "Dessert needs good ingredients to taste good, but you can't psychologically convince people to pay even $20 for dessert," says an economist. "You can't really go cheap on it, but you really can't charge extra, either."

What's more, people may stick around for an extra half hour if they have dessert, during which time they're shelling out on far less than they did during dinner; they're not, for instance, ordering drinks, which are key to a restaurant's profits. One other thing to note: While the restaurant might not benefit from your dessert order, you yourself might, especially if you're on a first date. Researchers at Purdue University found that subjects felt better about potential relationships while eating sweet, as opposed to bland or salty, foods, Self reports. (On the other hand, it's best not to overdose on the sugar.)

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