How to Run a Successful Sausage Sizzle

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The sausage sizzle is an Aussie institution and a relatively easy way to fund-raise for your team, group or event. But there’s a bit more to it than just setting up a barbie and collecting the cash. Follow these simple tips to run a successful sausage sizzle and fast-track your fundraising:

Book your spot

Many companies, such as Bunnings and Woolworths, support community groups by making a sausage sizzle space available on weekends. But they operate on a first in, first served basis, so you need to book well in advance. In busy centres the waiting list can be up to six months. Other spots to consider are the local sports fields or farmers’ markets – just contact whoever’s in charge to get permission.

The letter of the law

ALWAYS check in advance with your local council to ensure you’re well-versed in food safety requirements and any permits required. Specific requirements can differ from state to state. It is also prudent to seek Public Liability Insurance in case anything goes seriously wrong.

Find the best supplier

It pays to do a bit of research to find the best supplier for your snags, onions, sauce and bread. Some companies even provide discounted rates for community fundraisers, so phone around. Deciding on quantities of supplies can be a real challenge: too little and you lose potential sales, too much and you end up throwing away food (which is throwing away profit). To get an idea of how many sausages you might sell, ask at your location how many previous groups have tended to go through. A cold can of drink or bottled water go hand in hand with a sizzled snag and can maximise your profits. Check out wholesalers in your area for a good price on bulk drinks.

Have you got the gear?

Make a checklist of the stuff you’ll need. Make sure to consider:

  • The barbecue
  • Spare gas bottles
  • A float with plenty of change (you don’t want to get a couple of $20 notes first up and hand out all your coins in change!)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Barbecue utensils
  • Serviettes
  • Hand sanitising wipes or gels
  • Eskies with plenty of ice to keep meat and drinks cool (separately of course!)
  • A large trestle table for display, supplies and serving
  • A gazebo
  • Rubbish bags

The benefit of booking a spot with companies like Bunnings and Woolworths is that they often provide the barbie for your sizzle: just make sure you clean it at the end of the day!

Advertise in advance

Let supporters of your group know about your barbie by advertising in school newsletters and community publications. Create a Facebook event and share it with your mates and get all of the team members to do the same. At least a few of them are bound to come down and support you.

Don’t forget to submit it to the sizzle map! You can register your sausage sizzle using this form.

Set up clear signage

As well as enjoying a delicious snag, people want to know where their money’s going. Create clear signage about the group, team or event you are fundraising for. If possible, have someone available to talk to costumers about the venture – you’ll find you get much more support. The other thing to consider when setting up your signage is your price. Make the price of your sausages, drinks and any other extras bold and clear on your signs so that people know how much change to fish out. This will speed up your process.

Hygiene matters

Again, call or check out your council’s website for specifics but here are some general steps to follow to ensure top-notch food safety:

  • The person handling money should NEVER touch the food. You just don’t know where it’s been.
  • Food handlers should wear disposable rubber gloves and regularly change them.
  • Ensure that the barbecue is clean and dry before you begin cooking.
  • If there is warm running water available, food service authorities dictate that hands are washed regularly. An exemption may be granted if these facilities are not at hand, in which case you can use hand sanitising wipes or gels.
  • Protect all food products from contamination by keeping it covered.
  • Always use utensils such as tongs to handle food. You should have separate utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • Make sure all food-handling utensils are clean and dry.
  • Dispose of any rubbish in a timely manner, make sure that you have plenty of rubbish bags handy and that you keep your cooking and service areas clean and healthy. You should also make sure that there are bins on hand for your customers to use.

A smart production line

Organise specific roles for your helpers and make sure everyone knows what their job is and how to do it efficiently and safely. A disorganised sausage sizzle means a clunky process and longer queues, which will put off customers. Speed up your process by creating a production line with:

– 1 person in charge of supplies
– 1 person cooking sausages
– 1 person cooking onions
– 1 person putting together the sausage sizzle and squirting the sauce
– 1 person taking orders and collecting money
– 1 person in charge of public relations: attracting customers and talking about the club or venture

This way you should avoid tripping over each other and your sizzle will run like a well-oiled machine. Rotate the roles regularly to avoid fatigue.

Get the kids involved

If you’re fundraising for a school team or junior club, make sure the kids themselves are involved in the fundraiser. Punters love to support children and their ventures. Sausage sizzles are a great way of upping your clubs profile, attracting new members and possibly even lucrative sponsorship offers. The smiling participants should always be visible.

Other helpful hints

1. Do your research and set a fair price: too low and your profits will be reduced, too high and you’ll put punters off.
2. Chop your onions at home the night before and store them in airtight containers: this’ll save you heaps of time.
3. Have someone on hand to run out for more supplies if you’re getting low: there’s nothing worse than lost profits. Never underestimate the popularity of a sausage sizzle!
4. Set up a roster: sausage sizzling is tiring work!
5. Have plenty of drinking water on hand: the combination of hot Aussie sun and a sizzling barbie are a recipe for dehydration.