sorry, i know a lot of questions get asked about bridal shows. i'm doing my first big show next weekend, and i'm really not sure how many samples to make. they said that two years ago there were 900 brides and 3000 people all together. last year there were 725 brides and 2300 people all together. i'm thinking this year will likely be a smaller turn out than last year (or at least no bigger), just since the economy is still pretty rough for a lot of people.
i also realize that not everyone will make it back to my booth (i signed up at the last minute and there weren't many booths left, i'm kinda in the back which sucks) and of those that do, not everyone is looking for a cake, or will want a sample.
so, whats the rule of thumb here? i'm thinking of making about 1000 samples, which is about half the expected turn out. does that sound reasonable? i realize i can bake more saturday night if i run out before sunday, but i'd rather not have to if i can help it. i also hate to bake wayyy too much and have to throw a bunch out. what do you all think? any guidelines?
As someone who just got married not even a month ago, I may be able to help you on this one. I went to several bridal shows last year, and the first couple of hours were the absolute busiest. So I think you will get most of your crowd in the beginning. I'd make a little more than what you're planning, because some people who come in the middle or the end may wonder why you don't have samples. Also, don't assume that a bad economy means a smaller turnout. Most bridal shows are free and it's free entertainment for a few hours on a Saturday.
Don't assume people will not want samples. Oh, they WILL want samples. Bridal shows are not just brides. You have groups of people who go together, families with kids, etc. It kind of ticked me off actually, because I was the bride but there were 75 teenagers taking all the food samples and other stuff. Booths with food get hit HARD.
I would package your samples in individual cups with lids. Both of the cake ladies who came to the bridal shows last year were serving the cake to the cake vultures on napkins, which I thought was absolutely stupid. You couldn't even walk past the booth with all of the people crowded around it. Not to mention, I heard some of the legitimate brides trying to ask questions about the cakes, and the owner couldn't even concentrate on answering their questions because she was frantically serving the vultures.
Also, I think another good idea is to have digital picture frames. People hog the albums at bridal shows and I think if you had a large digital picture frame kind of elevated (so everyone could see) that would be a good idea. I know I digressed from the original question but that was just something that popped into my mind.
Good luck with the show!
I agree with everything Annie said... the only small exception was my experience at my first show. I had to beg folks to take samples... I came with over 800 sample cups (approx 200 in each flavor) and came home with probably half. Folks would try one or two flavors... I was not expecting that.
Hey PP, where in VA are you? I am in northern VA (Winchester).
Thanks for the input. I've done lots of shows before, so I'm well prepared on set up and methodology. It's just that all my shows have been small. 250-300 samples type show. This is my first big, convention center type show and trying to figure out if I need 1000 or 2000 samples is driving me a little crazy, lol. It's not a big deal to throw away 100 extra samples from a small show, but if I bake way too much for this large one, I could be throwing away hundreds and hundreds. Which I'd rather not have to do.
I will PM you my address and you can send the extras to me.
thank you, Annie! your information was very helpful. I'm doing a smaller bridal show next weekend, and I'm always worried about how many samples to bring.
one question for you... I do cupcake towers and edible favors. I'll be making mini cupcakes for one of my samples, but after I frost them and put the lid on the cup, the frosting gets smashed. Is that a turn off for people, or does it not matter much? Should I cut the bottom off the cupcake so it all fits?
I don't think it will be a turn off. Most people aren't worried about how the sample looks, just how it tastes. You will have the pictures there to show the quality of your work, so I wouldn't be worried.
I also really like the digital frame idea. I haven't done too many weddings, just two so far, so I don't have tons of pictures. But one day I will! Since I don't have alot of pictures, I decided to make cupcake dummies (mini and standard) decorated with royal icing and fondant, sugar, and chocolate decorations, etc. I also made some cookies decorated different ways so the brides can see what I do, and some of my other edible favors.
Thanks again for your help!
I am down in Fredericksburg Annie. My next show is this weekend and I am hoping I don't have to shove samples down folks' throats.
Maria, put all kinds of pics in your frame... when I did my first show I only did about 6 weddings, but I included all kinds of cakes. If cookies and favors are your thing... include them too. Most people can see your work and know you can "stretch" your skills to wedding cakes, cookies, etc.