October 27th, 2012

relaxed and happy

Bake Sale Lessons

This morning Rosie's preschool, A Child's Garden, had their Fall Festival, "Goblins in the Garden," with games in the different classrooms, food for sale for lunch, a bake sale, and a general invitation to come in costume and have fun (there was also a door decorating contest for the different classes).

Brian and I donated food to the bake sale, and I also helped sell stuff for about 45 minutes. We donated Reese's peanut butter bars, which I baked, and small loaves of bread Brian made - Zucchini bread, Pumpkin Spice Bread, and Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread. All of the stuff we donated sold out in the first half of the sale, which left us feeling good, and might have been partly due to the fact that we followed directions - all were packaged for individual sale, and we labeled them as to what they were, and listed all the ingredients that might be allergens. The bars were also pretty sizable, as I'd been thinking they might be priced at a dollar. We didn't put prices on, though, and they ended up pricing the bars at 75 cents and the breads at $1.50.

Since I helped out near the end, I got to observe what did and didn't sell well, and found myself wondering if people out there in LJ land have rules they use for encouraging successful sales in bake sales.

Here's what I learned:

  • People want to know what they're buying
    The worst seller, yet fine and tasty items, were many servings of one or two cookies packaged in cute little Halloween paper bags. There was a variety of cookies packaged that way, but nobody knew that because they were hard to examine, and not labeled in any way.

  • Portions should be somewhat sizable
    The *next* worst seller were these little bite-size squares of blueberry or cherry ... strudel or something. They looked tasty, but even priced at 25 cents, they were way too small to be sold individually.

  • Visible chocolate is a good selling point for kids
    Need I explain this? The most popular cupcakes had visible chocolate frosting.

  • No, really, items should be packaged for individual sale
    People who may have to carry something a ways before sitting down to eat it will go for the item they can drop in a bag or purse.

  • (Maybe?) It might help to mark items as to who made them
    There were bagged treats that looked like Pretzels dipped in chocolate and decorated with chocolate chips and who knows what (toffee? couldn't tell). Someone came up and asked me if Pat made them. I guess this goes hand in hand with the first rule, that people want to know what they're eating. If there's a popular cook or two, it may help to advertise who it is, or at least have something that let's the volunteers know how to answer such questions.