How to Plan a Baking Contest

Written by deb mcleod
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If you plan to have a baking contest, it's best to do some good planning ahead of time. Knowing who will benefit from the proceeds, how to organise the event and how to award prizes is essential. It's also important to keep an eye on expenses and income, and be willing to report those when necessary. In short, planning a baking contest is all about being organised and thinking about the finer details.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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    Decide who will benefit from fees you might ask entrants to pay. To attract more entrants, it's ideal if the proceeds can benefit a charity of some sort; but even if the event is a for-profit venture, you should be able to clearly communicate how proceeds will be used. If for a charity, it's even better if you can specify exactly how the funds will be used (after-school art program, for example).

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    Secure a facility for the baking contest. If entrants will bring their already prepared baked goods, the facility needn't have a kitchen. Just tables, chairs and your decor will suffice. If you do plan to have entrants do the baking on site, check into local regulations about the need for a permit or kitchen inspection.

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    Determine your expenses. Add up the cost of the facility, flyers and other advertising, decor, and other expenses. Don't forget to add in any prizes you might offer. Then figure how much to charge based on what profit you want to make. It's best to figure your profit per entrant rather than a percentage.

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    Advertise your baking contest. These days, advertising goes way beyond flyers. You can print flyers and post them where interested people might seem them, such as at the local cooking school or gourmet market, for example; or you can place them on cars in car parks at the local farmers market, perhaps, or at restaurants. But you can go beyond the simple flyer if you wish. Make a You Tube video to promote your sale, or start a Twitter identity and work to get many followers, who you can update on the contest via Twitter updates. (You might also promote your You Tube video on Twitter.)

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    Arrange for others to help with the sale, and give them specific duties. If you require entrants to register in advance, have the registrations directed to your registration person. Your decor helper might be in charge of finding affordable decorations to use in the facility space. The more help you can get, the better.

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    Enlist some help for judging. Have several people compose a judging panel, and do your best to get at least one judge with solid cooking and baking credentials. In exchange for getting some publicity, you might be able to get a local cooking instructor or chef to head the panel of judges.

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    Arrive at least an hour before the official start of the contest, and help with decorations, getting a registration or check-in table ready and setting up tables to hold the baked foods. Open the doors at the start time, and be sure to provide paper plates so everyone, not just the judges, can sample the goodies.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider saving money in the budget for refreshments that might compliment the baked goods, such as tea, coffee and fruit.
  • Don't overestimate the number of people who might enter your contest; that can cost you money.

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