Don't Be Afraid To Charge For Wedding Cakes?

Business By mypastrychef Updated 22 Mar 2008 , 10:01pm by loriana

mypastrychef Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 5:13am
post #1 of 77

look at the webpage and click on the thumbnail photos; a larger picture will open with a price for each cake. http://www.brides.com/brides/cakes

OK my flour price has just went from $14 for 50lbs to $27 for 50lbs. My supplier says it is all going up again! He said China has bought the spring crop of wheat and we may not have enough to get through the summer.
I don't know if it will happen like he says, but I know I will have to raise prices again. My wedding cakes are averaging $3 per 2"x1"x4" piece of cake.

Anyhow thought I'd share what I see the cake market is doing for designer cakes

mpc
www.mypastrychef.com

76 replies
indydebi Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 12:11pm
post #2 of 77

Wow, I saw pricing from $8 to $20 per slice on there.

This pricing at the grocery IS crazy. Hubby and I saw on Meet the Press a LONG time ago a couple of oil executives talking about using corn as a fuel alternative. They said way back then, "If you pull corn from the supply and use it for energy production, the food prices are going to skyrocket."

Good 'ole basic economics of Supply and Demand .... works again.

TheButterWench Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 12:57pm
post #3 of 77

MPC,

My supplier was telling me the other day that flour has doubled, a 50 pound bag is now 45 bucks.

and that our local supermarket seems to have raised it's prices about 27% across the board.

I see now how they are pushing their fancier cakes 8" rounds for over 20 dollars too.

they are hitting the market hard and heavy with their cake adverts, so I think they are trying to bring in that market for extra revenue.

and it seems to be working as it seems to be hurting the custom cake decorators in the area.

I've had too many people walk out and say that they will buy "next time".

and I'm sure they are running off to the suppermarket to get a 20 dollar mass produced cake with some writing.

the cakes are kinda pretty too, they are REALLY pushing that European vibe with the decor.

mypastrychef Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 3:34pm
post #4 of 77

TheButterWench
I understand everyone can't afford these cakes, but this is where the people making cakes at home will hurt small custom cake shops. They will undercut the custom shops, who have to sell for a certain amount inorder to stay in business. It's crazy! I haven't looked in the grocery lately, I'll definetely investigate this.

Indydebi
My supplier told me a year ago that we would have problems. He took his son from Texas and drove up to Kentucky and Tennessee to show him the wheat fields as his fatther took him and his grandfather took him( family tradition). He told his young son of the shock of seeing corn being planted where the wheat should be. And so a year later guess what?

mpc
www.mypastrychef.com

FromScratch Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 9:20pm
post #5 of 77

You said it MPC.. Lil'Susie-Hobby-Baker makes cakes for $1/serving why can't you? *blah* This is why I price myself competitively. I bake from my licensed home kitchen and charge a good amount and I wouldn't dream of doing it differently especially with the cost of ingredients and gas going up.

Lenette Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 9:46pm
post #6 of 77

I hear ya'!

I am a licensed home baker but I had to make an investment to get that so I have bills. Between the cheap home bakers and the grocery I am losing a bit of business. I can't under cut the grocery and I would be a fool to try to compete that way. It is so frustrating to hear how good my cakes/cookies are but they still go for the cheaper option!
I am looking at having to get a job to make ends meet. Kind of saddens me after working so hard to get licensed and such. But what can we do with the economy being what it is? I won't lower my standards or my prices that much I do know!

littlecake Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 10:32pm
post #7 of 77

i went up across the board.

no one even blinked....i think they aren't surprised....everything is going up everywhere....

i get some things from sams every week...so i went by their bakery

can you believe they sell half sheets for 19.99?

i saw some mass produced gum paste flowers on their cakes too.

indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 2:16am
post #8 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

i went up across the board.

no one even blinked....i think they aren't surprised....everything is going up everywhere....

i get some things from sams every week...so i went by their bakery

can you believe they sell half sheets for 19.99?

i saw some mass produced gum paste flowers on their cakes too.




Gosh, I'm glad this thread was retrieved: http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=359313&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0

A few CC'ers have the "inside scoop" on why the big grocery bakeries can charge so little. Pay particular attention to the post by foots2 on page 1.

mypastrychef Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 2:53am
post #9 of 77

Oh yeah! it is all about mass production. I have workded in food facilities and at Sam's club (years ago). Mass producing does save alot of time. They bank on more sales. For the Sams they want to focus on that higher ring at the checkout. (Cakes) This seems so foolish to me. So they really can't compete with us at all!

But it is discouraging when people don't get the difference between us and them.

Today a bride called our shop and wanted a quote on a 4 tier square cake for 200 guests with pearls, we quoted her $700 +/- depending on what she decided. She blurted out "OH I can get it for half that price!"
Go on!!!! if someone is that unconfident about pricing go for it. I can't stay in business at half that price.

mpc
www.mypastrychef.com

mezzaluna Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 6:37am
post #10 of 77

For every customer that walks out my door because they don't want to pay, another walks right in that doesn't blink an eye. I refuse to lower the quality OR the price of my cakes. I am fully booked every week.

If someone can't afford my cake, it's not my problem.

next please!

indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 12:35pm
post #11 of 77

Hey, mezz, have I mentioned lately that I just luv you!! thumbs_up.gif

mezzaluna Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 2:06pm
post #12 of 77

I love you too, Indydebi!

mypastrychef Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 6:00am
post #13 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzaluna

For every customer that walks out my door because they don't want to pay, another walks right in that doesn't blink an eye. I refuse to lower the quality OR the price of my cakes. I am fully booked every week.

If someone can't afford my cake, it's not my problem.

next please!




Same here I am always filled up for the weekends.

I just had a customer last week that tried to belittle me because of prices, then she demanded I explain why my cakes were more than Sam's. I tried to explain briefly and then told her I don't specialize in cheap cakes. She still continued with her bullying way of trying to get me to make her a designer cake for cheaper using styrofoam... Yes I threw her out of my shop!!!!! She said what? you're not gonna do my cake? I said, "I would cry if I had to make a cake for you, NO! icon_mad.gif You need to leave my shop now!"
OK that was so justified! thumbs_up.gif It does take alot for me to come unglued. My family couldn't believe I threw her out!

mpc
www.mypastrychef.com

JulieB Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 9:15am
post #14 of 77

I'm sorry, someone try to demand I explain why I charge more than SAM'S????? No way, I'm not even going there. I say "What do you care, you ain't buying it, 'cuz I refuse to bake for you." That's what I would say. I don't explain myself, and I never will. You want it cheap, there's a Wal-Mart or a Sam's on every corner, findja one.

Yeesh, some people.

apclassicwed Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 6:32pm
post #15 of 77

I've just come in from the grocery store where I paid 3.19 for a 5 lb bag of flour! (the strore brand, not Pillsbury or other name brand) I almost passed out in the baking isle. Now, reading this post, it makes sense.

Even as a hobby, supplies are expensive, so it would behoove the hobbiest to price themselves at market price so as to not hurt the custom bakeries or devalue the art of cakery.

MichelleM77 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 6:39pm
post #16 of 77

I disagree with the home bakers undercutting the bakeries. Bakeries around me (and some home bakers for that matter) are charging $1 to $1.75 per person. How am I supposed to compete with that as another home baker, along with the grocery store and WalMart charging practically nothing?

fiddlesticks Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:00pm
post #17 of 77

WOW ! Some very pretty cakes on that site that was posted ! BUT I saw cakes for 22$ and 32.50 a slice !! OMG !!!

JoanneK Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:01pm
post #18 of 77

A mass product cake is always going to be cheaper then a custom one of a kind homemade cake.

That's like saying I can go to the local store and get my invitations for $3.00 a pack, yes you hand write the information in there but to get one of a kind custom ones it cost $50 a pack.

Or buying art work. You get a copy of a masterpiece for nothing and a hand signed painted one can run millions.

You get what you pay for.

Don't ever let someone try to say your cakes are not worth the price you charge. No matter how much you charge. To you that is what it will take to make it. If someone doesn't want to pay it then who cares.

emf7701 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:06pm
post #19 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

I disagree with the home bakers undercutting the bakeries. Bakeries around me (and some home bakers for that matter) are charging $1 to $1.75 per person. How am I supposed to compete with that as another home baker, along with the grocery store and WalMart charging practically nothing?




I agree Michelle! I bake from home as well, and I am currently looking into all the details of getting my license... I know of a few other home bakers in my area... not sure what they charge though. I do know that I charge more than a certain local lady who has a shop....and I still get orders. If I am going to take time away from my kids and hubby to bake and deco a cake, then I'm going to be paid for it... not just to cover costs! I will never drop my prices to walmart standards... BLEH!!!

FromScratch Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:06pm
post #20 of 77

It's not home bakers as a whole.. it's more the ones who do it for "fun" and "not the money". The ones who don't care if they turn a real profit from their cakes. THAT is who undermines all of us. I agree that most home bakers (or even shops for that matter) could never compete with major chains for the sheer fact that they can't buy a 500 pound vat of flour at one time.

It's the ones (among home bakers anyway) who aren't in this as a business who charge the low low prices that make it hard for the rest of us who DO want to do this as a business. I am a home baker.. I bake from my licensed kitchen.. so don't think I am coming down on the home bakers. I just hate to see someone not getting what they are worth and in doing so making it harder for me to get what I am worth.

MichelleM77 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:07pm
post #21 of 77

Maybe together we can conquer cheap prices, at least in Akron-Canton. icon_smile.gif

MichelleM77 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:09pm
post #22 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

It's not home bakers as a whole.. it's more the ones who do it for "fun" and "not the money". The ones who don't care if they turn a real profit from their cakes. THAT is who undermines all of us. I agree that most home bakers (or even shops for that matter) could ever compete with major chains for the sheer fact that they can't buy a 500 pound vat of flour at one time.

It's the ones (among home bakers anyway) who aren't in this as a business who charge the low low prices that make it hard for the rest of us who DO want to do this as a business. I am a home baker.. I baked from my licensed kitchen.. so don't think I am coming down on the home bakers. I just hate to see someone not getting what they are worth and in doing so making it harder for me to get what I am worth.




But there are actual bakeries around here that are charging $1 per serving and that is their business! I can't compete with them. I don't want to do what they are doing anyway (lots of sheet cakes, not much different than what you get at the grocery store), but the general public doesn't see it that way, they just see dollars and comparing bakery to bakery. I know you aren't coming down on anyone specific, I'm just trying to let you know that it isn't just the home bakers who are undercharging, at least from what I've seen.

emf7701 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:17pm
post #23 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

Maybe together we can conquer cheap prices, at least in Akron-Canton. icon_smile.gif





thumbs_up.gif I'm all for it!!

christeena Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:34pm
post #24 of 77

I work as a waitress at a tourist complex in Indiana that also has a bakery that turns out cakes at about $1.30 a serving!!!! I tried decorating cakes for them for 2 weeks for $10/hour and hated it! The cake room was a 10x15 space where you worked until the orders and display case were filled. The cakes were a "just add water and oil" mix and the icing is an all hi-ratio and imitation vanilla flavored-way-too-sweet mixture that I just did not like. I tried to tell management that they needed to up their prices but no luck - cakes do not make their $$$$ so they can sell them cheap (and they taste cheap!) The restaurant is their $$$ maker and they just don't care!!! My friends and family get the benefit of my creative outlet and fresh baked cakes!!

FromScratch Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 7:37pm
post #25 of 77

But in all honesty those bakeries aren't necessarily undercharging.. they most likely bake from bulk mixes and use frosting from a bucket. They rely on their other items to make money more so than cakes.

This is where your cakes, though higher priced, start to look MUCH better. You get a one of a kind, homemade, delicious cake that wasn't sitting on the shelf all day AND it wasn't one in a long line of sheet cake with some roses.. you actually paid attention to the little details.

I know how hard it is believe me. I am just starting out on this journey of professional decorator for profit and I also live in a smaller town. But I am sticking to my guns and you know what? People are paying. Stay strong.. icon_smile.gif

CoutureCake Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 8:33pm
post #26 of 77

Ugh... I recently posted about this on a different site recommending brides lock in their cake prices NOW because the rates are going to spike because of the commodity prices (I can't wait for the "I can't find a baker who will do a $3 slice" posts icon_twisted.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif ). Trickle down Economics (input costs for the commodities go up, supply cost to distributor goes up, etc. etc. and that gets tacked on at each level)... Law of Unintended Consequences (minimum wage hike - uh DUH! Most farm labor is paid MINIMUM WAGE).. Supply and demand... Oh man, to think I failed economics in college... Which still gets me, I probably learned it better than 3/4 of the class because I showed up, I just sucked at test taking back then (before I learned how to master that stuff)..

It's amazing how the prices are going through the roof now. But, the people who were doing it for $1/slice are going to be in for a wakeup call because Walmart and Publix are spiking their rates because of their input costs spiking so much... It's all a matter of time until cheap cake goes the way of cheap gas...

indydebi Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 11:03pm
post #27 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoutureCake

... It's all a matter of time until cheap cake goes the way of cheap gas...




cheap gas .... ah, I remember the days! I got my license in 1975, right in the middle of the "oil crisis" of the 70's..... when all of the adults were so worried because gas got up to (GASP!) THIRTY SEVEN CENTS a gallon! Everyone was sure they'd start rationing it any day!

But seriously folks ..... we were talking just last night on how I"m going to have to suspend my "delivery included for the first 30 minutes" policy. If it gets up to $4/gallon (like I heard this morning), I just wont' be able to do that anymore.

Cheap cakes? I had a bride who thought $138 for a 3-tier at walmart was unbelievably expensive! (She's an older bride who's never planned a wedding in her life and was pretty funny about it!) icon_lol.gif

FromScratch Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 11:50pm
post #28 of 77

Holy crap.. I haven't even been looking when I go to the store.. a 5 lb bag of King Arthur flour was $4.99.. I about pooped my pants. Milk is almost $4/gallon (for Oakhurst brand).. eggs are going through the roof too. It's insane. I am going to have to get rid of my delivery is free within 20 miles too Debi when (not if) gas gets to $4/gallon. It's just getting out of control. Middle class america is suffering big time.

aligotmatt Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 12:19am
post #29 of 77

We have a home decorator here who is in her mid 70's and has been doing cakes FOREVER. She has never raised her prices. $1.50 a slice for buttercream, fondant, any decoration that you want, any flavor, filling... It's seriously INSANE. People will do anything to get her. Now that she is getting up there in age and has bad arthritis, her cakes are kind of hit or miss so people are looking elsewhere. But they will always use her $1.50 a serving for anything to try to get my price down. I have too often said, I honestly have no idea how in the world she could charge that and not be just about paying people to make their cakes. $1.50 for a fondant covered cake?!

So, I try to focus on the fact that my cake flavors and designs are consistent, never hit or miss, always amazing and always custom. She's really set the market here though and messed it up. But, the word went out a few weeks ago that 2008 is her last year!

So my prices for a basic cake start at $3.25 per serving, fondant at $4.00, which here is almost ghastly. But with the cost of everything flying up, I'm going to HAVE to go up before the end of wedding season. So then if I'm starting fondant at $4.50 per serving (maybe more) compared to the still unflinching other lady, I'm going to seem insane!

As for grocery store/sam's walmart cake prices versus mine - I explain to people that while I am able to bake in my home and it may seem as if my overhead is lower, my product cost is higher. I can't have 500 pounds of butter or powdered sugar sitting around in order to get the bulk discount. They normally nod like that makes sense...

summernoelle Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 12:30am
post #30 of 77

I found a quote I sent out a year ago, when I was JUST starting to sell cakes, and I quoted the lady $1.50/serving for fondant! Before I wised up, I was taking a loss on every cake I did.
However, right now I am charging $2.50. I have tried $3, and very very few take me up on it. But the rising prices of supplies scare me, I might have to start charging more, regardless, because I can't afford to make cakes otherwise.

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