Booth Sales and Cookies-in-Hand Selling
          

How can your troop go from normal to a Superseller Troop?  Booths, of course!  Much of the selling goes on after the cookies are delivered.  Read on to find out how.

Coming soon!  More cookies-in-hand tips for selling after the cookies come!

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Why Have Cookie Booths?

Cookie booths are what changes an average cookie season into a great one.  Many girls aren't able to sell door-to-door for a variety of reasons, including the fact that their parents might not have time to take them around.  If you hold cookie booths during the season, these girls can sell a lot of cookies with a minimal parental time commitment.

Cookie Booth Tips

Since our troop runs anywhere from 35-50 booth sales per year, I've become a veteran at the booth sale format.  The following are my own tips for running successful cookie booths:

  • Get on the eBudde (for Little Brownie Bakers councils) site for the round scheduling.  Scheduling the key locations is paramount to your success.
  • Schedule the maximum you are allowed during the scheduling rounds.  After you've scheduled them, you can send an email or a memo out to the troop to have them sign up.
  • When you are allowed to sign up for more booths, schedule more booths in key locations.  Offer those up to the troop.
  • When you have more than 3 girls interested in a booth, schedule another one for the same date and time.  Unless your girls are very little (Daisies or young Brownies), having more than 3 girls at a booth at a time spells trouble since they'll get bored and play.
  • See your SUCM or ACM if you want to schedule a booth at a non-listed location.  She may be able to add it for you.  Be inventive!
  • Some of our girls sell in their own yards if they live in a well-trafficked area.  You'd be surprised how many people will turn down a street if they see a Girl Scout Cookies for Sale sign. Again, run this by your local cookie volunteer.
  • Set your rules and expectations and enforce them.  I am strict about booths and don't allow the girls to play, eat or drink at the booth.  They also may not sit down unless it is their designated "break time" and then they must sit at a chair away from the booth.  Customers want to buy from eager, hard-working girls and not people who can't be bothered to participate.   I also encourage looking the customer in they eye and asking for the sale.  This is how we build our girls' sales and professional skills for the future.
  • Use a "booth box" for every booth.  Details are later on this page.  I keep 2-4 booth boxes around and ready to go for each booth to make their preparation easier. Coming soon: A YouTube video of how to make a booth box!

Cookie Booth Supplies

  • At least 2 card tables (put the word out with your troop; more than likely, you will be able to borrow and not have to buy any).
  • One Girl Scouts tablecloth per table. I dug in my basement and actually have a few extras available for $30 each. Email me if you'd like to purchase one.
  • One Booth Box per booth (see article on Booth Boxes on this page).
  • A chair for the cookie adult and/or the girl on break. My opinion is that the girls selling should stand.
  • Handmade signs promoting the cookie booth.
  • Cookies of course!  You can find your percentages for your area online at your Council website. My own numbers from our troop are on this page.
 

Here is our troop setting up a booth, in record time!

Building a Booth Box

I have maintained Booth Boxes for the last couple of years.  I wouldn't have been able to run several dozen booths each year if it weren't for these time-saving kits.  Each booth box should consist of the following:
  • A plastic file folder box with a hinged lid that snaps securely and a handle on the top.
  • A Girl Scouts tablecloth.
  • A plexiglass sign holder stating the price of the cookies and who our Hometown Hero is if they would like to donate cookies.
  • Cookie recipes.
  • Several pens.
  • A calculator.
  • A receipt pad in case someone gives me some cookie money at the booth.
  • A cookie plate for samples.
  • A tip jar, if you use one.
  • Brochures/door hangers, if you use them.
  • Tape for signs that you're hanging.
  • A couple extra pairs of gloves and hats for girls who have forgotten.
  • An extra sash or vest if you have one for girls who forget (girls must wear one to sell at booths).
  • Blank paper to write down leads, etc.
  • Pocketed tie-on aprons for adults and older girls who take money and give change.
  • A heavy-duty, zippered money bag for the larger bills during the sale and for all the money after the sale.
After the sale is over, whoever is running it makes sure all the money is in the money bag in the booth box and packs everything away.  I count the money the night of the booth sale and replenish the booth box as necessary (including the starting change in the money bag).  Note: The cookie volunteer that takes the money away from the sale should be registered as an adult volunteer with Girl Scouts so they can have a background check. Check with your local Council for procedures in your area.
 

Cookie Booth Etiquette

  • A minimum of 2 girls and a maximum of 4 girls should be at the booth at all times. At least one adult should be at the booth at all times and more if it is busy.

  • Please do not loiter around the booth before or after your shift if the maximum number of people are present.
  • Wear your uniform, or at the very least, your vest or sash with pin, to the sale.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather, since the booth sale is OUTSIDE.
  • Do not eat and drink at the booth table. Adults who smoke must follow any store rules and may not smoke at the booth or in front of the girls.
  • No pets or extra (non-scout) persons at the booth.
  • Everyone must stay at the booth. If someone needs to use the restroom they may take a buddy but otherwise they should be at the booth during their assigned time.
  • Remember that you are guests at a place of business. You are representing Girl Scouts and you must exhibit appropriate good manners and behavior.
  • Be courteous and friendly at all times. Always say “thank you” even if someone declines to buy.
  • Keep the booth neat and clean; leave it better than you found it.

What Makes a Booth Location Good?

Here are some factors to consider:
  • Word of mouth (the most important).  Ask your SUCM where the hot booths are.
  • Store traffic is key.  Is the parking lot always full?
  • Areas around a university or college always do well.
  • Look for areas where commuters go to get their groceries after work.
  • Areas where there aren't a lot of homes do well since people don't get visited by door-to-door sellers.
  • Avoid stores that sit back from the street or are hard to find.
  • Stores visited by young professionals or students tend to do best.

How Many Cookies Should I Order for a Booth?

 Here's what I use for the booths in my area:
(All numbers are per 3-4 hour booth, in cases)

Busy booth (over 45 boxes per hour):

Thin Mints:  8
Samoas: 7
Tagalongs: 4
Do-Si-Dos:  2
Lemon: 1
Trefoils: 2
Other varieties: 1 each

Medium booth (30-45 boxes per hour):

Thin Mints:  6
Samoas:  5
Tagalongs: 4
Do-Si-Dos:  2
Lemon:  1
Trefoils:  1
Other varieties: 1 each

Slow booth (under 30 boxes per hour):

Thin Mints:  4
Samoas:  3
Tags:  2
Do-si-Dos: 1
Lemon:  1
Trefoils:  1
Other varieties: 1 each

IMPORTANT:  Don't run out of Thin Mints and Samoas!  You can't have a booth without them.  When in doubt bring more of these two varieties.  It's always better to have too many than not enough. 

You'll notice that with the slower-selling cookies, I don't bring more than a case usually unless we're at a busy store and selling at both doors.  The world won't end if you run out of a slower variety.  If we're going to highlight a certain cookie, we might bring extras of that one as well.  On the whole, though, these numbers have worked pretty well for me.

Historical Selling Data by Variety

These numbers are for OUR TROOP ONLY, over the past 6 years of selling cookies with around 40,000 sold:  (Troop 1207, Denver, CO, USA)

Thin Mints:  34%
Samoas:  27%
Tagalongs, 16%
Do-Si-Dos, 9%
Trefoils, 8%
Lemon  6%