Hosted by the South Dakota Retailers Association, the South Dakota ProStart Invitational showcases the culinary, management and academic talents of South Dakota's top ProStart students from high schools across the state. Students compete in teams of four in culinary and management events and are judged by industry professionals and experts. The winning teams in both the culinary and management portions advance to the National ProStart Invitational for an opportunity to represent South Dakota on the national stage.

In the culinary portion of the competition, teams of students demonstrate knife skills and have just 60 minutes to prepare a three-course meal without electricity or running water. Many of the state’s premier chefs judge the competition, scoring the teams on numerous factors including knife skills, cooking procedures, presentation, taste, sanitation and teamwork.

In the management division, the students explain how they would start up a restaurant - including the name, layout, design, staffing, featured menu items, marketing, and pricing. Then they're grilled by a panel of judges. They are scored on critical thinking, safety and sanitation, customer relations, menu, concept knowledge, verbal presentation, written proposal and visual display.

The winning team from each division goes on to compete at the National ProStart Invitational hosted by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.