Free brownies

We are looking to add brownies to our menu in addtion to the pints of Ben & Jerry’s we already do.

We started using the Krusteze mix this week and are sending free ones out with every order through next week. After that we will use them as a coupon freebee and desert item on the menu.

So far it looks promising. The drivers sure like it. Tips are up. I can make a tray of brownies for $10 food cost. I cut them into 32 pieces and sell them for $1.50. I timed it the third time I made them. All in, prep, cleanup and slice/wrap it took about 40 minutes. (Not incuding cook time)

They came out great in our conveyor oven. 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

Does the 6 lb bag make one sheet pan of brownies? How big a tray and how thick? I like the idea, and could talk myself into doing it here.

Is it a just add water mix, or need eggs, oil, etc?

there are several brands 2 choose from…

basic recipe is 3# of mix, 1/2 C. H2O, 1/4 C. Salad Oil…
mix w/whip & spread into oiled/pamed 1/2 sheet pan

Nick, the 6 lb box is exactly right for one sheet pan. I think the dimensions are about 16 X 23 X 1 but it is a standard size.

One box of mix, 3 1/2 cups of hot tap water, mix, put in sheet pan and spread out, bake. No oil, no eggs… just water.

On my food reps suggestion I am putting a pan liner in the pan and I think it is a good idea. I am also using a no stick spray around the edge of the pan.

Sorry but Krusty’s brownies are really really bad… (intentional misspelling)

I have to think the extra cost to bump up isnt that high, especially if you buy in bulk and the quality is 100 times better…

I would take lousy Betty Crocker brownies over Krusty’s…

I know at Sams Club you can get a monster box of Hershey’s brownies with choc chips for a really good price…thats if your provider cannot beat that price.

We like 'em just fine. So do the customers. Suit yourself.

I have acquired and tested a mix that is provided by the same company that makes Krusteze . . . Continental Mills. The actual label is Hilltop Hearth, the USFoods house label. Complicated, but I believe the mixes are the same at the end of the day.

I made a couple of variations on the brownie, and all were well above acceptable. I make a far superior brownie with my own single batch recipe, but too labor intensive for food service volumes. The mix was chocolaty, not overly sweet, and good texture. Bodegahwy is onto something. Since this isn’t a signature item for me, I will accept the mix at 9.50 per sheet pan load.

Quick and painless dessert that freezes magnificently well. Make three sheets up ahead and wrap for freezer; 3 months easy.


If I am putting out a product and quality is KEY for me, even if it is free I make it to where I would want to eat it and BUY it.

Now on the other hand if your operation is focusing on volume and quality isnt the largest issue but price point is and this freebie is cost conscious then yeah I can see that.

To me if you are spending 9 bucks on a mix (which I think you can find cheaper at Sams Club or Costco etc) think of how much more it will cost to make a WAY superior product? Not that much more.

I agree with your comment about Krusty’s and them having better quality products under a different brand, that is surely the case. In fact I imagine most of the product produced comes from a general manufacturing plant, but that doesnt mean the ingredients are the same.

People here talk about making a great impression and winning customers over, well sorry but unless my customers have lost their taste buds, there is no way in HADES that I am giving away that garbage Krusty’s product and having it associated with my name, my business and my customers.

No way…

if I recall correctly, the Pillsbury mix is about $50/50#…so a 1/2 sheet tray uses 3# or approx $3-$4 cost for 20 decent size brownies

AZ, I don’t know what your thing with K brownies is, but we have run through a couple of hundred pounds now and the brownies are very well received. I am happy to eat them and happy to serve them.

We have a direct mail coupon drop going to the post office this afternoon with an offer for three free brownies with any 14 or 16 inch pizza. We are doing a full size sheet cut into 32 brownies so the food cost is about 30 cents each. Selling price is $1.75 so food cost on a sale is 17%, well under my store average. Giving away 3 of them cost under a dollar with a perceived value of over $5. Beats giving a discount.

I will tell you why.

To me this seems like a TOTAL no-brainer and here is the reason.

How many times have you as a consumer been attracted by a freebie or an extra add-on as an incentive to purchase somthing? To some demographics more than most but I recall when I was younger that it happened more than now…as I have gotten older I dont care as much about somthing free, also I usually perceive free as crap with add-ons.

You are GIVING somthing away that represents your store, and it is a point of sales and advertising and it really doesnt cost much, so why not make it AWESOME and somthing that people would want outside the freebie and somthing that draws people to your product?

I remember years ago Little Caesars when they were 2 for 1, they had all sorts of add-ons and some REALLY drew people in and some were REALLY good (those choc-raviolis for example). They were so good that people asked for them months after the promotion was done…

It might have cost them more than if they had just done somthing cheap, but back then Caesars found value in making a quality add-on and it really drove sales.

Other places do cheap crap add-ons, and usually a consumer remembers the WORST of what you have to offer, meaning no matter how great a place you have if your point of advertising isnt good, dont you think customers know this and think you are either CHEAP or the product is bad?

As a percentage of sales, the cost to make a really awesome product that is free and maybe you will sell on its own is really nothing. So why not do it right and make it right?

When you go to the grocery store to buy a pack of brownie mix, do you buy Krustys or do you buy a better brand that might cost you 20 cents more?

If you are THAT worried about cost, make it yourself…and omit eggs and some other cost items and try to cut costs everywhere because in my very humble opinion, making a crap product like Krustys is worse than making none at all. Some people might think it is ok and some might think it is good, but I would rather shoot for EVERYONE thinking it is awesome and everyone WANTING the promotion and asking for it…

Same goes for the oven…if I am making product that isnt cooked well inside the conveyor, I would rather spend the 1500 bucks and get somthing that cooks it right, or not do it at all.

Sorry…but I am not tripping over pennies in this instance…make a supreme brownie mix with choc chips, spend the extra few cents and put somthing out that you would want to tell your friends about and be proud of.

I am very sorry we have hit such a sore point for you, PizzainAZ. How about this: I promise that I will not try to convert your way of thinking and operating if you will stop implying we who make brownies from mixes are cheap-@ss hacks who don’t give much of a d@mn about our customers :smiley: I don’t make my own tomato base or pepperoni either . . . .

  1. I am not nor do I hold myself out to be a pastry chef at my pizzeria. I offer the best food my customers will let me buy. Were I a bakery or pastry boutique, my mindset would differ radically. If your mix brownies svck that much, then you may possibly be doing something wrong in the preparation? Served the 1st pan of brownies for a wedding reception as the Groom’s cake. Gotta say that it was well received and turned out pretty darned good . . .maybe a 6.5 out of 10 in perfect brownie scale.

  2. Making brownies from scratch would require me to a. stock single use food products in my store (cake flour, unsweetened chocolate, baking powder, shell eggs), b. pay more for labor costs and training costs, c. divert staff attention and resources from the core product in my store. When I upscale my next dining room, we may try to move towards more scratch-made baked goods . . . when we have a dedicated oven for such.

  3. My giveaways are almost always high quality, low priced items we have in the shop. Baklava, cinnamon sticks, cheesecake. All quality products that have low cost to me.

  4. Try just once making ANY brownie mix or recipe calling for eggs . . . and leave out the eggs. The tar-like substance that results cannot be scraped out of the pan with an adz, though you can resurface a road with it. You said to make a mix and just omit the eggs . . . doesn’t work like that.

  5. (and this one is important) Would you share the brownie recipe you are using in your shop currently? I would genuinely like to try a working restaurant volume recipe from scratch to find out the labor and products you use. My high end scratch recipe cannot be baked in larger than a 13x9 pan, or the finish in very inconsistent from edge to center.

IMHBAO, the mix CiCi’s used or the Pillsbury mix I use can be compared to ANY made-from-scratch product…

Mixes have come a long way and many, many professional bakers use a commercial mix of some type (Caravan/Dawn/Pillsbury products, for instance)

You may need to adapt your recipe for your oven…we use 3# of mix, 1/2 C. salad oil & 1/4 C. H2O…mix w/a whip & pour into a coated 1/2 sheet pan…run thru the conveyor…cool/cut & dust w/ X X X sugar…

I package 'em w/a large pizza…a different option than pizza & wings

hey Pizzainaz,I just had some of the Krusteez brownies and I thought they were extemely delicious and I am a conisiour if you will.It almost sounds like you just have a personal grudge w/ the company.The brownie is great and the idea is awesome.


You guys have me all wrong.

My only point is why bicker over a few cents on somthing so insignificant and just make it the right way?

Patriots has it right, the higher brand name product isnt that much more and I really really think Krustys product is inferior and I think the company understands that.

So trying to pinch a few pennies on a sub product makes no sense to me.

To those who think the product is great, try getting a GREAT product and compare…make two batches and try them out on your employees and see what they think.

The color, the quality, the taste…no comparisons.

I just dont get it…you guys come on here and pinch pennies on everything and seem to care so highly about quality, then you would put out a bad product, and it isnt just me who acknowledges how bad the product is. It is priced barely above the house name anywhere you buy it, and it is pretty obvious the quality isnt very good.

If you guys want me to be honest, and Nick maybe this is pointed at you since you brought up the subject and seem to have issues…

You mention cheesecake, do you buy a higher quality product or just accept Sysco base product? Have you guys compared the base cheesecake from a place like Sysco? It sucks…

I just see value in spending a LITTLE more and selling/giving somthing that really WOWs your customers…especially on an upsell.

You guys talk about the value in better wings, in higher quality cheese, all these very high cost items but then you pinch on brownie mix?

Well to each their own, but I would never sell or give away a Krusty product, not even if my vendor gave the mix to me for free.

When I go to regular places, say an indy shop for sandwhiches or pizza, I can always tell if they are cheaping on side items or dessert items and I dont get why people would put somthing on the menu that sucks.

Enough rant…you guys go make the Krustys, I will pay an extra buck and get somthing I want to eat and my employees want to eat…


Blink . . . blink . . . I just cannot figure out why a personal difference in business decision has turned into what looks like a really emotional assault on the opposing point of view. That’s the main thing I brought up that I can’t figure out. Lots of raving and all we wanted to talk about was baking a few fudge brownies . . . rage against Krusteze ensued . . . then seemingly against anyone who would use a product that you didn’t approve? I may have lost something in the translation.

My business. My customers. My decision.
Your business. Your customers. Your decision.

Sometimes we will agree and sometimes we won’t. Bottom line is that I have some specialized skills and knowledge that will give me a superior product result to most who use the same exact product. Some will do better, some the same . . . majority cannot match. Not ego here, just things I have learned along the way. It is same knowledge and skills in technique that elevates the other items on my menu as well. Krusteze or Joe Mack’s or any generic brand . . . with some attention, they can be improved simply by technique. I know you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.


I think you are confused about something important. Most of the discussion on the board about price is not about finding the cheapest product, it is about getting the best costs on the products you choose to use and controlling expense. The vendors we all buy from are somewhat less than transparent when it comes to pricing and an informed customer can save a lot of money. Sometimes the best product is actually not the more expensive one. Basic issues like portion control to keep a handle on costs are crucial to survival unless you happen to be in one of the blessed markets where prices are high, rents are low and are doing 20K a week.

My statements about portion costs in the brownies were in relation to the cost of using them as a promotion which is a key element of any approach to promoting your business regardless of the quality of the product you choose to use.

I am open to trying new things and in general go to the higher end product if I am convinced the quality is actually there and my customers will respond to the difference. We offer Elk, Pheasant, Wild Boar, Alligator and Rattlesnake as toppings at $4.50 topping price on a 16" (in addition to some of the more usual “exotics” like artichoke hearts, mesquite chicken cashews etc etc). We use more expensive pepperoni and sausage because I think the difference is noticable. We spring mix rather than iceberg for the same reason.

I am not afraid of price; if you have a brownie mix that comes in commercial quantities that you think is better I would love to hear about it, but simply do not have the time to use little boxes of betty crocker from the grocery store or mess with making them from scratch when my business is pizza. Right now we are going through about 35-40lbs of mix per week. This winter I expect that to be more like 100 lbs. I can add an hour of prep time a couple times of week to make the brownies, but not a lot more than that.

If brownie sales doubled over what I expect them to be, due to outstanding product, it would mean that I was selling 1000 brownies a month. Even if they were all sold rather than given away it would amount to less than 2% of my sales during the big winter months. I can not justify a lot of added complexity for such a small bump. I want a viable add on sale or a “freebie” that my customers will enjoy that is pretty simple to deal with and yes, comes in at an acceptable cost.