Hot cocoa in a cup with cocoa on spoon

7 Great Hot Chocolate Menu Ideas

October 3, 2022

Cocoa is delicious, hot or cold, any time of the day, and any day of the year. Here’s how to make it shine on your menu.

Whether you call it hot chocolate or hot cocoa, no beverage menu is complete without a comforting cup of drinkable chocolate. Loved equally by kids and adults alike, when coffee or tea just don’t fit the mood, hot chocolate is the nostalgic and reliable treat that answers chocolate cravings any time of the day or night.

Offer a simple hot water pour-over cocoa powder variety or something more decadent and filling made with milk and chocolate (think Mexican hot chocolate with candy shavings or a frozen hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream). No matter how many varieties of hot chocolate you choose to menu, make them as appealing as your other hot beverage offerings and they’ll become equally popular.

Try These

  1. Take advantage of the seasons and promote different hot cocoa flavors throughout the year. Winter is perfect for peppermint, cinnamon, and gingerbread hot chocolate, while fall favorites often include pumpkin and s’mores. The rest of the year, anything goes, from lavender to raspberry to cayenne.
  2. Make hot cocoa photo-ready by topping it with a gold dust, a seasonal powdered sugar design, or a giant cookie.
  3. Turn hot chocolate into an experience by serving it tableside, pouring hot milk over dark chocolate shavings and providing an array of toppings.
  4. Add a bit of mystery to hot cocoa with a trending beverage ingredient like tahini or chili powder.
  5. Run a limited-time offer, promoting new hot cocoa specials on your socials.
  6. Freeze hot chocolate and transform it into a new signature frappe or delicious milkshake.
  7. Offer a hot chocolate flight with three different styles of hot chocolate.

Top 10 Hot Beverages

According to data from Datassential SNAP! Hot chocolate remains a favorite hot beverage, ranking fifth behind cappuccino and illustrating overall menu growth over the past four years (based on an analysis of 15,664 items on 2,285 restaurant menus nationwide).


Menu Penetration

4-Year Trend





























































Source: Datassential SNAP! Hot Beverages

Nestlé® Hot Cocoa® Peppermint Hot Chocolate

How to make perfect peppermint hot chocolate using Nestlé Rich Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix.

Peppermint hot cocoa with packets and box

Hot chocolate bombs took social media by storm in 2020 and remain popular items for impulse grab-and-go at retail and gift-giving purchases. Less than 1% of menus offer hot chocolate bombs, but 38% of consumers love or like the hollow chocolate balls filled with cocoa and marshmallows.

Source: Datassential Trend Watch, March 2022



The information provided is based on a general industry overview, and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

Iced coffee with ice cream scoop on top

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