X-posted in Cupcakes.
I had an idea late last night while lying in bed and now I'm trying to figure out how to pull it off.
My DAR chapter has a table at this particular street festival to try to raise money for our current project. (Happens to be preserving a 1 room schoolhouse).
Last year I made 600 cake pops that were "free with donation". We couldn't outright sell last year because we didn't have proper permits. I don't have the time for cake pops this year and the ladies thought it would be a better idea to have a general bake sale. Yeah, this event is on Sunday and only 2 people have signed up to make cookies. I'm in a panic.
So, my idea was to have a cupcake decorating station. It would kind of advertise my business (cake decorating parties) and give us a lot of something to "sell" (free with donation). I can get plain cupcakes and BC from Sam's Clubs since there is such short notice. I'm thinking I would display 3 designs, have all the supplies, and show people how to DIY, which is essentially the basis of my decorating business anyway.
So now I'm thinking about the food handling safety aspect of it. People are handling their own cupcakes. The issue would be the buttercream. I can either stick in piping bags and then teach them how to use, or pre-fill into little portion cups and they can use a knife.
I was originally just planning to make apple cupcakes to go with the school theme, but that's easy enough to show them. If I really did a DIY cupcake stand, I would also do hamburgers, pumpkins, maybe spaghetti & meatballs, maybe cherry pies...
I would be wearing gloves. Should I make the "customer" also wear gloves if they are handling a communal piping bag, or should that not even be option to handle anything communal... just give pre-filled portion cups or I can pipe?
Since the goal of this is to raise as much money as possible, am I overthinking this? Since it is quick and easy, and relatively cheap to do a simple BC swirl on a few hundred cupcakes, is this the best way? Do you think donations would be higher with cuter cupcakes that I'm doing myself? Or that I'm showing others how to do? I have added expense with getting all the supplies to make cute designs, not to mention fillings.
Does anyone have any thoughts to share?
I think donations would be higher with cuter cupcakes that you do yourself. Also, you could hand out a postcard or business size advertisement cards for your business.
The cuter the cupcakes, the more people will want to learn to make and decorate them.
In terms of maximizing efficiency and throughput you are probably much better off just selling the cupcakes. Estimate how much people will pay for a DIY decorating experience/how much time it will take each person to complete it/how many stations you will have vs. how many cupcakes you can sell during the same amount of time.
Of course you could always do both, if you feature a few DIY decoration stations in a high visibility area it might help to draw a crowd.
As for the food safety questions, you'll probably want to contact your local health dept to make sure what you're doing is OK ("free with donations" might be a no-go if you are not licensed unless there is an exemption for a charitable event and the charity is qualified).
I would also like to suggest that the cupcakes are decorated ahead of time. DIY decorating I imagine would entail a fair bit of waste, as people get the hang of icing bags that squirt wrong, sprinkles dropped on the ground, etc.
Your DIY station would also be limited to the number of chairs at the table -- while premade cupcakes can be a grab-and-go thing, and more people would have the opportunity to move through your kiosque. Would someone be willing to wait 20-30 minutes to decorate their own cupcakes? I don't know -- I have a hard enough time selling cupcakes as it is.
I hope you will have a tent over the cupcake area so that the sun won't melt your goodies. When we do farmer's markets outdoors, it's a case of follow-the-sun so that our sweets stay in the shade, and condensation doesn't form on the wrapped items. (No bare icing outdoors for us!)
This is just a few thoughts off the top of my head. Good luck and share how it went!