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Get the best from a BBQ event

A family-friendly barbeque event can bring the entire community together to meet, mingle and have fun. Or run a BBQ as part of another event such as a summer fair or bonfire and fireworks night. Take into account that rain can fall on any day of the year in the UK, so wet weather contingency plans are crucial!

Breaking even and boosting profits

Although you might not be charging an entry fee to your barbecue event (to encourage attendance), you will want to cover your costs. Work out how much your outgoings will be, and use this as a gauge to price up the food - and offer additional money-generating activites. If you have space, set aside some stalls for children. Face painting, craft activities, pick a lolly game, cupcake decorating… what will generate that bit of extra cash?

Use high-quality meat

Don't underestimate the power of a good burger - quality meat for the barbecue is vital! If customers end up picking bits of gristle from their teeth, they are unlikely to buy a burger the next time you have a BBQ! Local catering companies may offer frozen meat products on a sale or return basis. Or a local butcher may offer a discount in return for a sign advertising their business. Offer fried onions - you can't beat the smell to get people salivating! Consider some vegetarian options such as corn on the cob or halloumi and roasted vegetable kebabs. Use large oil-drum BBQs and have several people cooking and serving/taking money to avoid tedious queues.

Serving suggestions

Serve burgers and hot dogs in napkins to keep the need for plates (and the additional expense) down and to make it easier for people to eat on the go. Other food, such as jacket potatoes and salads will require plates and cutlery (and possibly somewhere to sit) so factor this in when selecting food options. Have plenty of sauces available and lots of bin bags nearby for rubbish.

Additional activities

If you have the space, then why not throw in a few activities? Get everyone up and active (to work off those burgers) by offering a game of rounders, welly wanging, egg and spoon races or a tug o' war. Parents and children will both enjoy playing team games together. Have mixed teams of all ages and abilities so that no one gets left out.

For more information
  • If selling alcohol at your event, you may need a licence (allow at least 10 working days) - contact the licensing department at your local authority.
  • Read our guide on catering at events.
  • For advice on barbecue food safety, visit the Food Standards Agency website.
  • Make marketing your event easier - order editable BBQ posters from Charity Print Shop.
Poster BBQ
Fundraising barbecue testimonial:

Becky Hession: 'We have our family BBQ each year and it has become a really fun event for all our families. We run it from 5-11pm. I would suggest a bar (always a winner), and children's non-alcoholic cocktails! We have a disco outside and Irish dancing displays, a raffle, a stall for children selling glow sticks, bubbles, bags of sweets and glow bracelets - the children love it when it gets dark. We hired a candy floss lady last year who also did popcorn which was popular. You need lots of helpers to sell tickets, work the bar, run stalls, etc. - that's what can be tricky, so get a rota organised early!'

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