One of the main ideas of the “L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon” concept is to sit at the counter, watching the chefs prepare the dishes and desserts – many of them à la minute.
Yet, even the great chef bowed to a basic rule of our business in his latest venture in Bangkok: Tempt the customers by presenting delicious choices right in front of the table – voila – the dessert trolley is back.
From my experience, I can say that at least 50% of the guests, who would have refused dessert, changed their minds and ordered when offered the options on the trolley in front of them.
Outrageous generosity is not always necessary but a few other points I consider mandatory:
1. The people in charge should know every dessert perfectly. From the ingredients to the recipes, they should show sincere passion, have a capacity to interact, a touch of humor and real pride while presenting.
2. Some of the desserts should involve a service ritual. This is not a display, but an interaction with technical expertise and flair.
3. Each dessert must be super fresh.
4/ The display needs to be spotless and decorated with taste.
5/ Hygienic rules are non-negotiable (cold, cloches, storage etc.)
6/ While individual sizes are extremely practical it makes sense to always have at least one dessert to be shared and to be cut on the spot (this should not look like a sampling but a real portion)
7. Always have chocolates or pralines for those who don’t take dessert. They should not be excluded from the experience.
8. Check and recheck the wheels and the stability of the trolley. Trolley wheels breaking during service in a three-star Michelin restaurant is a big no-no (and trust me it did happen before).
9. Try to avoid the exact same desserts as the ones on the à la carte menu. Especially if the price point is different.
10. Always have extra plates and tableware ready for those who want to share.