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Dessert Tasting Menu


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Hello.

Just out of curiosity, would anyone here come to a restaurant just for a dessert tasting menu, I am planning on putting a 5 or 6 course menu on the menu and would love to hear what people think, also dessert restaurants. would you come to a dessert restaurant after your meal in another establishment?

just in the early business planning stages of dessert restaurant, just want to hear a broad view on it.

thanks guys:)

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I for one would be interested. There is a chocolate shop here that sells cake imported from Belgium by the slice and I will often pick up a piece but then I have to go home to eat it. I would love to be able to try several desserts at one time - in moderate pieces, of course!

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I'd go if it were more of an afternoon tea thing, but probably not after dinner (or lunch for that matter).

Where are you located? I could see something like that being more feasible in larger cities with established "fine dining" scenes, but not so much in smaller markets.

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Im In Auckland City Centre..

I'd go if it were more of an afternoon tea thing, but probably not after dinner (or lunch for that matter). 

Where are you located?  I could see something like that being more feasible in larger cities with established "fine dining" scenes, but not so much in smaller markets.

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I'd love to have something like that to go to-- I think it would go over well, especially with people wanting to make a night of it and not wanting to do the club/bar scene. Of course in this economy, it may not be what people are willing to spend their money on.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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Yes from here, but such restaurant failed locally. I believe there has been some success in NYC.

On the other hand, diners are eating elsewhere and then going to a fairly new restaurant just for dessert - one that offers a sampling type plate.

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I bet the pastry forum regulars will find this shocking, but I wouldn't. I think that concept is doomed to bridal showers and birthdays and not "after a dinner." The possible exception is if it was truly unique, but even then, once or twice would probably be enough for me. Sorry. Of course, I love the idea...I just wouldn't do it myself.

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Yes from here, but such restaurant failed locally. I believe there has been some success in NYC.

On the other hand, diners are eating elsewhere and then going to a fairly new restaurant just for dessert - one that offers a sampling type plate.

If you're speaking of coco ltd, I believe there were much bigger problems than the concept (mainly financial management), so it is hard to say if they would have lasted. I do agree that it is a difficult concept to make work.

I've been to Chikalicious in NYC, which was a great experience, had two or three things, and Keegan Gerhard's D-Bar in Denver, which was disappointing because I went for lunch and they didn't have much in the way of plated desserts during the day, didn't have time to go back in the evening.

I would go if I was on vacation, or possibly after dinner at another place if I had gone for happy hour or sushi or another cuisine that didn't feature much of a dessert menu.

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I absolutely would go, especially if it were open late and welcomed the casually dressed diner. It happens all the time that we are out and about in the evening and would like to stop somewhere for a really nice dessert before heading home. At that hour, the only options are 1) a coffee shop with its mediocre desserts, or 2) a nice restaurant, which just seems kind of daunting for some reason--it takes too long, for one thing, and I feel bad spending so little, for another.

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Finale in Boston is a small chain (3-4 or so) and is mostly dessert

http://www.finaledesserts.com/

I don't think they do courses, but they do have a few items ($30 or so) that have 7-8 things on the plate and are meant for sharing. They also have a few sandwiches/pizza and little things like that. But mostly desserts. They also have take out bakery.

Location for the main branch is key - it's in the theater district, so people go after they go to the shows. Same for the second branch - it's in Harvard square where there's lot of (rich) students on dates looking for this kind of thing.

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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I have a super talented french trained japanese baker working with me who i am hoping to get to come and work with me too to have a small bakery attached, his work is awesome

Finale in Boston  is a small chain (3-4 or so) and  is  mostly dessert

http://www.finaledesserts.com/

I don't think they do courses, but they do have a few items ($30 or so) that have 7-8 things on the plate and are meant for sharing.  They also have a few sandwiches/pizza and little things like that.  But mostly desserts.  They also have take out bakery.

Location for the main branch is key - it's in the theater district, so people go after they go to the shows.  Same for the second branch - it's in Harvard square where there's lot of (rich) students on dates looking for this kind of thing.

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Chikalicious has been a big success in NYC. I'd take a close look at what they do. p*ong did something similar (in addition to being a full service restaurant). It failed, but I suspect this had to do with execution, not the idea itself.

Some other spots to look at are WD-50 and Taylor in NYC, and Providence in LA.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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I remember going to a place in Providence RI when I lived there called Pastiche and they were open late, with a dessert & drinks theme... Every time I went they were pretty full, so I guess that qualifies as being pretty successful.

I visited Portland, OR earlier this year and there are a few places there that are along the same lines, one that stands out in my mind as being fairly hopping was pix patisserie.

My feeling is that when it's done well in the right market, you can't go wrong.

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I'd go to such a place, but I don't know how often. I don't eat sweets much, so don't keep them around the house, but once in a while the urge will hit, so I'd pick up and hit the tasting. I think it's a fun concept that I'd enjoy -- and for me, the best part is getting to try lots of different things, instead of being faced with a daunting amount of the same dessert.

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If this is some kind of informal marketing study, I would have to vote "no" on this concept. I like dessert about the same as your average person and I would not be interested in eating dessert after dessert...even if the "progression" were good.

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If this is some kind of informal marketing study, I would have to vote "no" on this concept.  I like dessert about the same as your average person and I would not be interested in eating dessert after dessert...even if the "progression" were good.

Even if each one is only 1 or 2 bites each?

Good point though, the people who just want a big gooey thing to dig into and want that comfort food experience may love dessert but not be so interested in an intellectually challenging dessert experience. Some people really would prefer one big creme brulee to 5 tiny ones, or one big molten chocolate cake to various textures and pairings. I think you'd have to have options, and offer things in different sizes, so you could have whichever end of the spectrum you prefer. There are enough successful places that have slices of cake and coffee open late, so I don't think having a dessert restaurant is so unusual, just the focusing on tasting menus.

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Chikalicious has been a big success in NYC. I'd take a close look at what they do. p*ong did something similar (in addition to being a full service restaurant). It failed, but I suspect this had to do with execution, not the idea itself.

Some other spots to look at are WD-50 and Taylor in NYC, and Providence in LA.

Tailor is the name of the restaurant...

2317/5000

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It's an appealing concept, but food and labour costs (especially in New Zealand) would kill you.

Pastry in a restaurant setting is not much of a money maker, and there's very little savings on labour when you scale up production, unlike the savoury side of the kitchen. ie: braising 40 lamb shanks does not take twice as long as braising 20, but baking and finishing 10 cakes takes twice as long as 5. Pastry chefs where I am from command top dollar, as they are few and far between.

I doubt many restaurant pastry departments make enough to justify their existence and rely on other departments for subsidy.

Freshness is also something to consider, especially when you start getting into multi-course small tasting portions. You'd have to be doing some decent volume to maintain product quality, or be willing to swallow a lot of waste. As soon as product quality starts to dip, people won't come back.

-- Matt.

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It's an appealing concept, but food and labour costs (especially in New Zealand) would kill you.

Pastry in a restaurant setting is not much of a money maker

I was under the impression that food costs for pastry are lower than for the rest of the restaurant. With the notable exception of good chocolate, the main ingredients are cheap.

With most dishes there are advantages like being able to do most of the heavy lifting well in advance, and only minor assembly and plating at service.

Notes from the underbelly

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I think we're comparing apples and oranges. When I've done dessert tastings at places like Providence they are small bites, typically without much labor intensive decorating. It seems its more about flavor, texture, etc, than frilly eye candy - not to say this doesn't exist. So I would suggest that its less labor intensive than you might think. If I were doing this, I would crank out a hundred bites, freeze 90 for the rest of the week and have 10 ready to go.

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Yes, I would and I know of one that has worked. Kokoa Chocolatier here in Tulsa opened as a chocolate shop and dessert restaurant. They opened in an area filled with a lot of local restaurants and very few chains. It was already known as an entertainment area because of a couple of popular watering holes with a block or two. It is fun to go somewhere else after dinner at Flemings and get handmade desserts with coffee or after dinner drinks.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I'm not sure what the social scene is like in Auckland but if you have a fairly sophisticated crowd in the area you might be able to do it.

I agree with (?) the food costs on a tasting menu should be fairly small, except for chocolate.

I wouldn't just offer a tasting menu though, maybe four ala carte choices.

As a free standing unit ( no restaurant) a bar is a must, ice cream, sorbets,etc.

As far as savory foods, none or only like a salad or two, foie (?), maybe something like a couscous salad with (brought in ) duck confit.

My two cents

Good Luck!

2317/5000

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It's an appealing concept, but food and labour costs (especially in New Zealand) would kill you.

Pastry in a restaurant setting is not much of a money maker

I was under the impression that food costs for pastry are lower than for the rest of the restaurant. With the notable exception of good chocolate, the main ingredients are cheap.

With most dishes there are advantages like being able to do most of the heavy lifting well in advance, and only minor assembly and plating at service.

You are wrong about the cost of sales being low. Chocolate, butter, cream, cream cheese, commercial fruit purees, top quality in season fruit, nuts, vanilla bean, good cocoa, nibs, even flour isn't that cheap anymore. Even the tools and equipment are costly. Parchment, ramekins, little tart moulds, chocolate moulds, refractometers, ice cream machines, mixers are all costly and can even be hard to source. Low quality eggs are cheap, as is sugar.

Obviously, if you cost your menu properly and sustain decent volume, you can make money selling anything, but to assume pastry ingredients are 'cheap' is just being ignorant.

The idea of making 100 of something and then freezing 90 of them for weeks to come is one way to take advantage of economies of scale, but then you are serving the vast majority of your product as frozen, ie: not fresh. Fine if that's the direction you want to take, but when you are in such a small niche market, your product has to be of the highest standard, all the time.

Be prepared to throw out a lot of product as you build your business. You only get one shot at the first impression.

-- Matt.

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