Master Chef


Season 10 of Master Chef (U.S.) is down to 10 contestants.
The last few people were whittled off during “Sweet Week” with several baking challenges including making macarons. I don’t like macarons and have never tried making them but they look hard.
The guest judge for the macarons episode was Candace Nelson, owner of the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes in the States. I took a look at their website – they offer cookies and brownies at every store and only a limited selection of layer cakes and just at some locations.

Very interesting!

Our experience with cookies, brownies and tarts was that they were not very popular – and we discontinued them after a couple of years. On the other hand, cakes- oh my goodness, next week we’re launching an adorable 4 inch cake (cake for 2!) and I am confident that it will be even more popular than all our other cake sizes, styles and types.
My point is that likely if a newbie cupcake store owner asked Candace what to include on the menu, she’d say, be sure to have cookies and brownies, and limit your cakes.
My advice would be the total opposite.

What should work doesn’t always.

A recent article about JP Morgan Bank using artificial intelligence to write the text for its digital ads said that the AI-crafted ones did twice as well as ones written by people. But here’s the thing: the AI ones did not sound good, at least to me, like:

“REGARDING YOUR CARD: 5% Cash Back Is Waiting For You”

Regarding your card??

That sounds like paragraph 4 on the 2nd page of a lawyer’s letter, not pithy text that will draw in new bank customers. But it generated nearly five times the unique clicks of the human-written text of:
“HURRY, IT ENDS DECEMBER 31 Earn 5% Cash Back At Department Stores and Wholesale Clubs”

It is the best part and the worst part of running a small business: you never really know and what should work doesn’t always.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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