PerryStCakes Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 7:31pm
post #1 of

So I know this must have been discussed in the past, but it is tempting to charge for a tasting.

I once had a bride who asked me to try a cheesecake, a chocolate cake and a white cake. OK - i was more of a beginner then and since then I say - "no" to cheesecake trying until I am "retained" as the baker. But I did so much work for her and she wound up doing no wedding cakes and used a bakery to make several differnt cakes (which I offered to do but whatever).

Normally, I get the business from the tasting - but sometimes I don't. It makes we want to charge them. One other decorator iin my area charges, but then it goes towards the final cost of the cake (thus eliminating extra costs associated with a non-returner).

What do you guys do?

26 replies
sugartopped Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 7:53pm
post #2 of

I'm still fairly new...so the few tastings I've done I haven't charged. But the charging a small fee and then applying towards the actual purchase of a cake sounds like a good idea to me. But I probably wouldn't charge much...not more than $10 for several small cakes.

But I've been making 'small' tasting cakes when I have extra batter and just freezing them. So I'm not making a fresh cake everytime.

I'd like to see what others would say though.
Christine

PerryStCakes Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 7:56pm
post #3 of

I want to freeze them but my freezer is always jam packed with everything else I am always freezing. maybe its time to get an extra freezer....sigh.....

sugartopped Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 8:01pm
post #4 of

Same thing here!!! I already have one freezer for NOTHING but cakes.....it is a pretty small freezer though. But we are purchasing a new fridge/freezer this weekend. I use a small 4" round for my cake tastings....so they don't really take up much room.

gma1956 Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 8:02pm
post #5 of

I absolutley charge for a tasting. The fee is $25.00 and they get two choices of cake and icing, filling I have done up to 3 for that price.

If they sign a contract with me on that day, I do not charge them for the tasting.

That is just how I started doing business and I also started my prices at what I expect to get for them, because I want it known, that my cakes are a specialty and my prices ARE higher than a local grocery's prices.

ellepal Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 8:03pm
post #6 of

why give them whole cakes? Why not just have a few sample cupcakes in your freezer in different flavors, and then give mini cups of varioius icing/filling. They can test taste the cakes themselves at home and do their own combos. I say just package something up and send it. If they want to try a more elaborate flavor, you can always have them buy a smaller cake that serves 6-10 people. This way, you don't waste time or money on people who are not too serious.

gma1956 Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 8:08pm
post #7 of

The reason I charge for my tasting appointments is to discourage people that are not serious.

Before I make an appointment with someone, they have to have received and read my letter to the Bride. So they know up front how I charge and what I charge for.

I make 2-6" cakes for the 25.00 if they want more it is 5.00 for each extra choice. I am in this to make money, not just try to get every customer that comes along.

For one, I know what I am doing and I know that I produce good product. So they pay me for my 30 years of baking experience, just like anyother job a person has, the more experience the better the pay.

melodyscakes Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:04pm
post #8 of

gma, your advice is really good....when i start doing wedding cakes i thingk i will use your approach. i dont want to bake a bunch of cakes and be all stressed out if they arent serious! you go girl!
melody

ellepal Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:07pm
post #9 of

Gma...your approach makes sense! thanks

GinaJuarez Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:08pm

gma.....you're my hero icon_smile.gif

When i get into wedding cakes, your approach is totally the way I am going. thumbs_up.gif

Tilisha Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:10pm

I'm planning a cake tasting party so people can sample my cakes so they could possibly boost sales. I was thinking of charging a $10.00 cover to get in and let everyone just sample. I also was planning on doing maybe wine and cheese type of thing. What do you guys think? I don't want to just cook cakes because that's expensive and then just let everyone eat for free. Please give me some ideas on this. Thinking of doing it before Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Also I think you should charge for tasting, GMA is right. I know pastry chefs that do it all the time. you really do want to deter people who are not serious.

ellepal Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:11pm

I've heard of a cake tasting before...great idea!

gma1956 Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:15pm

Tilisha Said:

Quote:
Quote:

I'm planning a cake tasting party so people can sample my cakes so they could possibly boost sales. I was thinking of charging a $10.00 cover to get in and let everyone just sample.




This is a very good idea and it is one that I plan on doing when I get finished with School. Right now I do not have time to do too many cakes because I am concentrating on my studies.

You should send out invitations and advertise in the local newspaper for this. You should require RSVP though, because you don't want to bake the cakes and then nobody show up. Also you want to have a general idea of how many could show up.

Let me know how it turns out, I will be interested in your response.

Tilisha Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:23pm

Yeah I wanted to wait till after finals this semester. Do you think I should charge and what types should I do simple or elaborate. I also want to do pies.

SweetCaramel Posted 4 Nov 2005 , 9:24pm

I am just curious as to how many cakes do you do when you do a tasting, and do you do like alot of decorations?

gma1956 Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 8:30am
Quote:
Quote:

I make 2-6" cakes for the 25.00 if they want more it is 5.00 for each extra choice.




I do not do any decorating at all to these cakes. They can look a pictures of my previous cakes to see what kind of decorations I can do.

This is just a tasting appiontment.

ThePastryDiva Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 1:08pm

Someone on the site makes tasting cakes in TUNA CANS...with the extra batter! I think it's a wonderful idea and have started to do that...

We eat a lot of tuna in my house..lol.

I bake them, when they are cool, I wrap them in seran wrap individually and then put them in a container or a large zip lock bag accroding to flavor.

When I need one I will take it out of the freezer and put into the fridge overnight or on the counter without unwrapping them.

I also always have extra IMC that I will thaw out and trow into my mixer..IMC is very versitile, it can be used as icing..filling and takes the flavorings and fruits really well! I love that stuff!

I will try to find out what my customer wants and go from there...

it's usually...some kind of chocolate..that one usually takes a chocolate filling, mandarin orange with grand marnier icing, or a mocha filling with reg icing or a strawberry/raspberry filling.

a yellow cake with lemon curd, canoli, chocolate, various flavors of pastry cream..including coconut....

and plain ol' white cake ( my personal unfavorite as it tastes like carboard dipped in sugar..lol) that takes anything you throw at it..it reminds me of TOFU..lol

my tastings are pretty simple..2 to 3 cakes..and about..5 fillings. 2 or 3 fresh fruit fillings, the balance would be some flavored pastry cream and the other would be something with liqour...like grand marnier or rum.

BUT, there is a clause....I charge for the tasting...so as not to waste my time nor ingredients! I consider that to be a deposit if the bride will book with me that day. If she doesn't and wants to come back again..well then that is another $25.00 charge...which will be applied to the wedding cake...the first $25.00 is mine!....to offset my expenses!!

If they want a specialty cake...like a cheesecake..then they have to out and out buy one.

adven68 Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 2:57pm

Hi guys....I too am planning a "cake party". Sort of like a tupperware party.....I plan on making 2 or 3 elaborate cakes & 2 or 3 party cakes (all dummies) and then a whole lot of single-serving pretty mini cakes that the ladies can enjoy. Maybe some sugar sculptures to decorate with..like a centerpiece in my dining room.....

also, I will box a little sugar sculpture for each lady to take with them when they leave. I know it will be a lot of work, but I think I will get a whole lot of business from it. I, luckily, live in a neighborhood that has many many children...and lucky for me....a lot of mom's like to "one-up" the others.

I don't plan on charging them to come,(it will be an investment towards my business) but I will send invitations and expect RSVP's.

Diva...instead of tuna cans, I baked in a larger chopped tomatoes can. I got a long cylinder shaped cake and then I sliced it into 4 shorter cakes that were approximately the same size as the tuna cans. So much less work.......

ThePastryDiva Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by adven68

Hi guys....IDiva...instead of tuna cans, I baked in a larger chopped tomatoes can. I got a long cylinder shaped cake and then I sliced it into 4 shorter cakes that were approximately the same size as the tuna cans. So much less work.......




cool idea...Maybe it's time to save more cans..lol

TamiAZ Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:04pm

I did a fair amount of wedding cakes last year and I did not charge for tastings...If I had, I wouldn't have gotten any business. The bakeries around here do not charge for tastings.. I would give the bride her choice of two flavors and fillings. If she wanted more, than I charged $5 per cake. I made single layer 5" cakes. All the brides loved the little cakes and I had a high booking rate.. I don't think that would have happened if I did charge.

bubblezmom Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 10:48pm

Heck, even a laywer gives a free consultation. You're trying to get business so why would you charge? For my wedding cake, the baker I chose had a plate full of different flavored/frosted slices of cake. It's supposed to be a tasting, not a cake eating binge. There were no decorations on the slices. You can look at the baker's photos and dummy cakes to specify those.

traci Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 11:34pm

I also do not charge for my sampling appointments...and have booked an order for every one that I have had. I agree with TamiAZ...I do not think I would have gotten the orders if I had charged. I guess my brides have been pretty simple in what they have wanted and very easy to work with. I usually ask them on the phone what kind of flavor they are looking for or make them my version of "wedding cake" flavor. I will usually make a small chocolate sample if they are planning a groom's cake. I also like to make my samples look nice...I will usually do a smooth icing with a nice border...sometimes even do some dipped strawberries. That is just me...I can't stand a plain cake. I even get some of my fine china to serve them...just kind of makes them in a wedding mood. However...I guess it also depends on what area you live and how other bakeries do it. For me...this has always worked best. icon_smile.gif
traci

rainbowz Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 1:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePastryDiva

I also always have extra IMC...




IMC?? icon_confused.gif
Is this perhaps IMBC - Italian Meringue ButterCream?

MrsMissey Posted 7 Nov 2005 , 1:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowz

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePastryDiva

I also always have extra IMC...



IMC?? icon_confused.gif
Is this perhaps IMBC - Italian Meringue ButterCream?




Yes it is!! thumbs_up.gif

stephanie214 Posted 7 Nov 2005 , 2:21pm

Never done a wedding cake...want to do one bad icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

PerryStCakes Posted 7 Nov 2005 , 3:12pm

STEPHANIE -
try to hang out where the brides do....like Macy's registry etc and give out your card.....(they almost always register before they even think of cake). I myself am gettting married soon and was at Bloomingdales one recent Saturday to fix my registry and there were so many other couples there registering. There was a woman doing a cooking demo in some new pan (this is where all the grooms hang out to get free food and avoid looking at cookware) but there were also some cards and fliers for wedding businesses right near her.

Just an idea...

stephanie214 Posted 8 Nov 2005 , 1:11am

Hi PerryStCakes,

I live in a rural Community with no big stores...nearest one is about 1 1/2 hours away.

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