Quick tips for a cake stall

There is no perfect or complete list of anything in this world. This I have learned the hard way. But the combination of these lists is definitely helpful if you are looking for some guidance. So here is my contribution to the world of lists – this one for those planning to put up cake/food stalls. Or those who love collecting lists #Ido. Let me know if I should add anything to the list. After all, I am just one stall old and took lessons from other lists and Maa’s experience.

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Plan Well

– Consider the weather. Avoid frosting, glaze or any milk product in summers. No one wants to eat spoiled food and you don’t want to waste your efforts.

– Take into account your customers and time of the day; early mornings are good for savoury and sweet, lunchtime would require something substantial, evenings would allow more variety.

– Shop for ingredients – nonperishable at least – at least 3-4 days before you start cooking. And buy extra ingredients. Always.

– Don’t bite off more than you can chew. First-timers would be wise to stick to cooking what they are familiar with.

Pricing Woes

This bit threw me off. The parents and I spent a few precious hours until we figured things out. #nocomments

So when you sell, for example, a cake, you need to take into account the cost of the ingredients, energy (physical and electric) along with the desired profit. If you have to hire a stall then you need to recover that amount too.

So in an Excel sheet or a piece of paper, jot down the cost of ingredients per cake. And then to each, add the amount for energy and stall. Then divide by the number of pieces and voila! You have the price.

Pssst… It’s better to start at higher prices. If needed, you can lower the prices.

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Carry Along

– Disposable (and preferably recyclable) plates, napkins, spoons and forks.

– A table cloth/plastic, in case the one provided by the organiser is not clean enough.

– Cake stands, cookie jars or just colourful plates for your goodies.

– You may also need cutting knives, takeaway bags/boxes, paper, and a black marker to make signs/stickers for prices, tongs/gloves to handle the food, bin bags, some towels to clean messes. The last is a must! When I ended up decorating my clothes with chocolate glaze, a wet towel came to my rescue.

– Make a board to display the names of your goods and prices.

– Carry plenty of change and if possible, get one of your friends to be a cashier.

Also Consider

– If you are selling cake by piece, make sure the pieces are of the same size. I messed this up and ended up with slivers or big-as-burger pieces. #bewarned

– It is a food fair. People will be moving around and there may or may not be tables. Do not make food that is too messy.

– An hour before you shut shop, consider decreasing the prices to avoid leftovers. Unless you want to take stuff home.

– The food, the seller and space, all need to look beautiful. Beautiful spaces and food attract people. #ruleoftheworld

– Put on your good host smile; talk to people, share your number. People are paying to eat food you’ve made, the least you could do is be courteous.
I smiled so much that my jaw was hurting at night. #nojoke

– If you plan to set shop or set up a cake business from home, this is your chance to network. So share your number. In fact, getting some business cards printed would be a good idea.

– Get your friends to click some photographs. Trust me, you will want to see them later. Or you will do what I did and end up asking strangers for photographs.

Also, please remember to clean up, however tired you may be and even if there is going to be cleanup squad after you are done. Throw the trash, check the area for lost property, and pack up your stuff.

Happy baking and selling to all!

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photos: Vaibhav Tanna & Rapti Bhaumick