Widely recognized for its premium quality, Ghirardelli offers a halo effect to restaurants.

Successful LTOs manage to strike the right balance of mixing the new with the familiar. Introducing new chocolate-focused treats can be a great way for restaurants to generate more interest in their dessert menu—the traditional mainstay for boosting margins.

Consumers pay attention to brand names, and leveraging brands known for their high quality offers a path for restaurants to increase profitability and enhance the customer experience. Take Ghirardelli, America’s longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer. Independent research has found that 90 percent of consumers across the country are aware of the Ghirardelli brand, and 30 percent of consumers have recently purchased it.

The rapidly growing fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partnered with Ghirardelli through the brand’s Made with Ghirardelli program to showcase a commitment to using the highest quality ingredients. The Made with Ghirardelli program allows restaurants to leverage the premium experience customers expect from Ghirardelli to generate higher sales.

“We have found that featuring the Ghirardelli name on our menu item increases our guests’ purchase intent and willingness to pay,” says Rick Petralia, director of menu strategy and innovation at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. “In concept testing, we found that the scores for the Ghirardelli-branded item surpassed the un-branded alternative.”

Freddy’s also featured the Ghirardelli name on point-of-purchase signage and found a positive effect on guests’ perception of the menu item. Over the past 12 months, as Petralia notes, the Frozen Hot Chocolate Shake Made with Ghirardelli has been one of the brand’s best-selling limited-time custard items. During the colder winter months, he says sales nearly doubled over the previous year’s LTO—increasing franchisee profits.

“The brand lift for any chocolate-oriented beverage or dessert made with Ghirardelli is strong,” says Chris Eklem, vice president of professional products at Ghirardelli. “When consumers decide to indulge in a dessert, they are more likely to view products made with Ghirardelli as a special treat.” In fact, independent research found that 80 percent of consumers who see the Made with Ghirardelli logo on a menu perceive the whole restaurant as higher quality—creating a halo effect that restaurant brands can use to their advantage.

The Made with Ghirardelli program has rigorous standards, with equally high potential rewards. Ghirardelli’s Professional Products team works with brands to support successful launches of chocolate-forward beverages and desserts. “We work closely with the operator to develop and test their items made with our chocolate before they hit the menu, and we’ve seen how consumers respond: Sales can significantly increase for the operator when they use the Made with Ghirardelli program,” Eklem says.

The Ghirardelli team listens to operators to evolve their offerings. For example, they recently introduced a five-pound bag of nine different varieties of chocolate to provide chefs greater versatility, flexibility, and convenience.

Working with a widely recognized and trusted brand offers a proven sales lift. “Promoting a premium product like Ghirardelli will elevate your brand overall in the minds of your guests as one that provides the highest-quality ingredients,” Petralia says.

To learn more about how to implement the Made with Ghirardelli program, visit ghirardelli.com/mwg.

By Kara Phelps

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