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How to cater for a school summer fair

Are you ready to make mouthwatering memories at your school's summer fair? Planning to sell food and cater for a crowd can be a challenging but rewarding task.

a family at a school fair

From delectable dishes to delightful desserts, this guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of catering for a school summer fair in the UK.

With menu planning, dietary restrictions, food stall setup, sourcing ingredients, food safety and hygiene, pricing and profitability, and staffing and volunteers all covered, you'll be well-equipped to create a successful and satisfying culinary event experience for all.

So, let's dive into the world of catering and make this summer fair an unforgettable feast for everyone!

Key takeaways

  • Consider the dietary preferences and restrictions of attendees, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other common dietary restrictions.
  • Provide a balanced and varied menu with a mix of children's favourites, healthier options, and savoury and sweet choices.
  • Create an inviting and attractive food stall setup with colourful decorations, fresh flowers or plants, and friendly customer service.
  • Prioritise food safety and hygiene by separating raw and cooked foods, maintaining proper temperatures, and following food safety practices.

Menu planning

Choose a variety of delicious food options for the school's summer fair menu. When planning the menu for your school summer fair, it's important to consider the dietary preferences and restrictions of your attendees.

Including vegetarian options is a great way to cater to a wider range of tastes and ensure that everyone can enjoy the food at the fair. Vegetarian options can be just as delicious and satisfying as their meat counterparts, so don't be afraid to get creative with your menu choices.

To appeal to the younger crowd, it's also important to include children's favourites on the menu. Think about classic dishes that kids love, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza. But don't stop there!

Consider adding some healthier options too, like fruit skewers or veggie wraps. Kids will be more likely to try new foods if they're presented in a fun and appealing way.

Remember to keep the menu balanced and varied, offering a mix of savoury and sweet options. This will ensure that there's something for everyone to enjoy. Take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions that may be present among your attendees, and make sure to label the food properly to avoid any confusion.

Dietary restrictions

Consider the dietary restrictions of your attendees when planning the menu for your school summer fair. It's important to accommodate children, adults and families with different dietary needs to ensure that everyone can enjoy the food options available.

One key consideration is providing vegan options for those who don't consume animal products. This can be as simple as offering plant-based alternatives for popular dishes, such as vegan burgers or dairy-free ice cream stalls.

Additionally, it's crucial to provide gluten-free alternatives for individuals who've coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant. This can be done by offering gluten-free bread or buns suitable for sandwiches and burgers, or by providing gluten-free baked goods such as cookies or brownies. Check out other ways to accommodate people with food allergies on our new blog.

Food stall setup

woman prepping food for her stall

When it comes to food stall setup, there are two crucial aspects to consider: food stall decoration and customer service.

First, let's talk about food stall decoration. It's important to create an inviting and attractive space for your customers. Use colourful tablecloths, banners, and signage to make your stall stand out. Display your food in an appealing way, using decorative plates and trays. Consider adding some fresh flowers or small plants to add a touch of freshness to your stall.

Now, let's move on to customer service. Friendly and efficient service is key to ensuring a positive experience for your customers. Train your staff to greet customers with a smile and be attentive to their needs. Keep the stall clean and organised, and make sure all food items are clearly labelled. Provide options for different dietary restrictions, and be knowledgeable about the ingredients in your dishes.

Sourcing ingredients

To ensure the quality and freshness of your food offerings, it's essential to carefully source ingredients for your school summer fair food stalls. Here are some ideas and tips on how to do it effectively:

  • Connect with local suppliers: By partnering with local farmers, bakers, and food producers, you can support your community while ensuring the freshness and quality of your ingredients. Local companies or suppliers often offer a wide range of products, allowing you to create a diverse menu for your summer fair.
  • Plan your budget: Before reaching out to suppliers, create a budget plan to determine how much you can allocate for ingredients. This will help you make informed decisions and negotiate better prices with your suppliers. Remember to consider the quantity of food you need and any dietary restrictions of your target audience.
  • Research and compare: Take the time to research different suppliers and compare their offerings, prices, and delivery options. This will allow you to find the best deals and make well-informed choices based on your budget and quality requirements.

By carefully sourcing your ingredients from local suppliers and planning your budget effectively, you can ensure that your school summer fair food stalls offer delicious and fresh food options.

Now, let's move on to the next important topic: food safety and hygiene.

Food safety and hygiene

When sourcing ingredients for your school summer fair food stalls, it's important to prioritise food safety and hygiene. Proper food handling is crucial to ensure that the food served at the fair is safe for consumption. This includes storing and preparing the ingredients correctly, as well as maintaining cleanliness in the cooking area.

To prevent cross-contamination, make sure to separate raw and cooked foods. Keep raw meats and seafood away from ready-to-eat items to avoid the spread of bacteria. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for different types of foods to minimise the risk of contamination. Also, wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food to maintain hygiene.

In addition, it's essential to monitor the temperature of the food to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold to avoid the danger zone where bacteria can multiply rapidly. Use food thermometers to ensure that cooked dishes reach the appropriate internal temperature.

By following these food safety and hygiene practices, you can provide a safe and enjoyable dining experience for the children, parents and attendees of your school summer fair.

Now, let's move on to the next section, where we'll discuss pricing and profitability.

Pricing and profitability

Ensure that your pricing strategy maximises profitability for your school's summer fair catering. Pricing your food items correctly is essential to generate sufficient event revenue. Consider the following tips to help you set the right prices and maximise your profits:

  • Research the market: Take the time to understand the pricing trends for similar food items in your area. Look at what other vendors charge at local events to get an idea of what customers are willing to pay.
  • Calculate costs: Determine the cost of ingredients, packaging, and any additional expenses associated with preparing and selling the food. Add a reasonable margin to cover your overhead and make a profit.
  • Consider value for money: While you want to make a profit, it's also important to offer value for money to your customers. Ensure that your portion sizes are generous and that the quality of your food justifies the price.
  • Offer bundle deals: Create attractive package deals that encourage customers to purchase multiple items at a discounted price. This can help increase your average transaction value and boost your overall profitability.
  • Monitor and adjust: Keep track of your sales and adjust your prices accordingly. If certain items are selling well, you may consider increasing their prices slightly. Conversely, if certain items aren't selling, you may need to lower their prices or remove them from your menu.

Staffing and Volunteers

Maximising the efficiency of your staffing and volunteers is crucial for a successful school summer fair catering operation. To ensure a smooth and well-coordinated event, it's important to have a structured recruitment process in place.

Start by advertising the volunteer positions well in advance, both within the school community and through local channels. Clearly communicate the roles and responsibilities involved, as well as the time commitment required.

Once you have a pool of volunteers, it's essential to provide them with adequate training sessions. These sessions can cover various aspects such as food safety, customer service, and specific tasks they'll be assigned during the fair. Training not only equips the volunteers with the necessary skills but also boosts their confidence and ensures a consistent level of service.

Consider organising multiple training sessions to accommodate the availability of your volunteers. This will help in reducing any last-minute confusion and allow everyone to be prepared. Additionally, encourage your volunteers to ask questions and provide feedback during the training sessions. This will foster a sense of teamwork and allow for continuous improvement.


a mum and a dad holding hands with their daughter

So there you have it, organising a school summer fair in the UK can be a complete piece of cake! Just remember to carefully plan your menu, consider the ages and dietary restrictions, and set up your food stalls with care.

Don't forget to source quality ingredients and prioritise food safety and hygiene. With proper pricing and a dedicated team or group of volunteers, your fair will be a sizzling success, like a summer barbecue that leaves everyone hungry for more!

Frequently asked questions

How do I promote the school summer fair to attract a large number of attendees?

Promote effectively and engage the community by using social media, posters, and word-of-mouth. Create excitement by highlighting activities, food, playing music, and entertainment. Encourage local businesses to sponsor or donate. Offer incentives for early registration.

What are some fun activities and entertainment options that can be included at the fair?

To make your school summer fair in the UK a hit, include fun games, prizes and creative workshops. These activities will keep attendees and parents engaged and members entertained, ensuring a memorable experience for everyone.

Are there any specific permits or licences required to hold a school summer fair in the UK?

To hold a school summer fair in the UK, you'll need to be aware of permits and licences. These are important to ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines set by local authorities.

How can we ensure the fair is environmentally friendly and reduces waste?

To ensure visitors have an environmentally friendly fair with reduced waste, focus on zero waste initiatives. Offer sustainable food options like plant-based meals and use compostable or recyclable packaging. Encourage attendees to bring their reusable containers and provide recycling stations throughout the event.

Are there any specific regulations or guidelines we need to follow regarding the use of food trucks or mobile catering units?

When it comes to food trucks and mobile catering units, there are regulations and guidelines you need to follow. Health and safety guidelines aim to ensure the food is prepared and served safely, while regulations control things like permits and licences.

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