Bake sales can mean big bucks for your school or organization--but you've gotta bake, package and sell in style. How? Follow these easy and inexpensive tips from Susannah Locketti to bring in the most bang for your bake-sale buck.
Brownies are always a popular find at bake sales. The problem is, people bake them into small, thick pieces. You want brownies to appear deceitfully larger. Instead of baking them in an 8X8 pan, bake brownies in a larger pan with lower sides. This increases the surface area of the brownie so they appear larger and more appealing. Be sure to reduce baking time, as it cooks up faster this way. Cut the brownies into generous squares and sell them for at least a dollar. One brownie pays you back for the box of brownie mix--and the rest is profit.
We eat with our eyes first so pack 'em pretty. Transform clear cellophane birthday favor bags into inexpensive baggies for jumbo cookies. Most have a nice pleated side--so they look upscale. Seal with a small piece of spare ribbon and sell jumbo cookies for at least $2.
Commercial boxes are now readily available to consumers both online and in the stores. Set aside a small budget for boxes large enough to hold a dozen cookies, a cake, cupcakes, pies, or a half dozen muffins. They'll look professional and you can get top dollar. Aim for them to have clear tops or sides so that your customers get a good look at what's inside. Play up the holidays when you garnish these items. Dye frostings using food coloring for Halloween and Christmas, or top with coconut and make a snowman face for winter. When pricing items, build your packaging and garnish costs in.
Buy your pie crusts instead of making homemade. They can be purchased inexpensively and save you tons of time. Keep in mind you are aiming for profit with a bake sale. Don't let it cost you in unnecessary time and energy. The same goes for cake and brownie mixes. The boxed mixes come in a ton of varieties and you have to admit they taste pretty darn good. Although it may save time, don't buy the cookies in a tube. Make cookies homemade because they yield a larger quantity than that tubed stuff and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.
Take inventory before the bake sale and evaluate sales at the end. Determine what sold the most, what sold the least and keep a record of it. You can bet at your next bake sale you'll be stocking up on the items that sold the most. Always take a picture of your bake sale table before and after. It's good to have on file how you utilized space and displayed items. It may lead to creative new ways to spruce up your selling table or use table racks to increase your selling space if you felt you did not have enough.
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