I Dont Know What To Say To A Customer. Please Help Me.

Decorating By kayla1505 Updated 6 Apr 2008 , 9:26pm by kayla1505

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 6:45am
post #1 of 45

ok heres the story. i got a last minute call from a woman who works with my uncle and she wanted a cake for her mothers birthday. "something really nice" I said "sure" and recommened a purse cake with gumpaste shoes ( ill post a pic later ). its a 9 in cake that i cut in half and put togetheir so it looks like a clutch purse. than its covered in fondant with a gumpaste handle. the end product measures 4.5 in and is about 4 in thick. i told her it would feed about 24 ( according to wilton 32 but i think those serving are to small). and she wanted guava filling. i told her $80 for everything. so i basicaly gave the shoes away. i literaly only had a day and a half to make this cake. and i thought i did a good job. so i emailed her yesterday to ask how she liked eveything( her sister picked up the cake, two hours late but whatever) but 2day i got a e-mail and it sank my spirits. here it is


Kayla,

I'm glad you asked. The cake was absolutely stunning (BEAUTIFUL!). You definitely have great decorating skills. My mother and everyone loved the way it looked.

But I have to be very honest. We were very disappointed with the size. It barely fed 8 people; you said it was for 24 people. No way possible it would feed 24 people. We had to buy another cake for the rest of the crew. And the cake was extremely dry and barely no guava filling at all; no one could taste guave in the cake. I remember specifically asking that you make it moist. We felt it was way overpriced for what we got.

I'm sorry if the review was exactly what you wanted to hear that it the only way one could perfect themselves.

Thanks,
Peggy



am i wrong ?? did i charge to much ?? i made a sturdy cake so it wouldnt fall apart since it had to stand up. and i didnt want to get a bulge or have my dam break which has happened to me before. its still a 9 in cake just in a differant shape.

anyway im sad, i thought i did so good and now it turns out i didnt icon_cry.gif

44 replies
kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 7:15am
post #2 of 45

heres the link to the cake picture

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1204685.html

redpanda Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:25am
post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayla1505

ok heres the story. i got a last minute call from a woman who works with my uncle and she wanted a cake for her mothers birthday. "something really nice" I said "sure" and recommened a purse cake with gumpaste shoes ( ill post a pic later ). its a 9 in cake that i cut in half and put togetheir so it looks like a clutch purse. than its covered in fondant with a gumpaste handle. the end product measures 4.5 in and is about 4 in thick. i told her it would feed about 24 ( according to wilton 32 but i think those serving are to small).




Beautiful cake, Kayla. I am not sure if I am correctly understanding the size. It looks like you took a single 2" tall 9" round cake, cut it in half and then put those two halves together (on their sides) to result in a purse that was about 4 1/2 inches tall, 9 inches across the base, and 4 inches deep. Is this correct?

You are right that Wilton says that you can get 32 wedding servings (or 24 party servings) from a 2-layer 9" cake. Based on your description, what you actually made was half of this, though, or 16 wedding servings (12 party servings). This is more than the customer thought it should be, but not what you were expecting.

If the cake is actually much deeper, like maybe four two-inch layers (8" deep), then you are probably pretty much spot-on with regards to servings.

I am sorry this has been such a negative experience for you. Maybe what might help in the future is to provide a cutting guide, to help the customer to know how to cut one of your gorgeous cakes, especially one that is not a typical shape.

RedPanda

MikeRowesHunny Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:36am
post #4 of 45

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Red Panda. Unless those are life-size shoes (and OMG what a beautiful job you did on those!), then your serving size was half of what you quoted your customer. To have served 24, you would have needed to use a 2in deep 12in round as your base for the purse.

Personally, if it was my mistake on calculations (and that does seem the case here), then I would give my customer a refund - 1/2 in this case as she only got half the servings she was meant to. She will hopefully see it as a goodwill gesture and still come to you for cake/recommend you to others in future.

As for the cake being dry - yes, you must use something solid for a 3D cake if you don't want it to fall to pieces. I have to make a 3D seal next week, and I have specifically told my customer that they will NOT be getting the chocolate cake that they normally have because it won't hold up in 3D. I will have to use chocolate pound cake, and with the best will in the world, that will be a drier cake.

Sorry you've had a bad experience, learn from it, but don't let it stop you from making your beautiful cakes!

Edited to say: as for the price, well I have a minimum 75 euro (about $115) charge for any sculpted/3D cake regardless of serving size. So I think you didn't overcharge at all, just made an honest mistake!

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:44am
post #5 of 45

my mistake its 9in across, 4in thick and about 5in up and down. its the same amount of cake as if i would have just cut and filled a simple 9in round cake.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:50am
post #6 of 45

Honey, I don't think it is! If you had cut a normal double layer 9in cake in half and stuck it together, it would be at least 9in across x 8in thick x 4.5in tall (24 servings). What you have by your measurements is half of a normal sized 9in double layer cake (12 servings) - honestly. Unless, I'm just being very thick here!

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:52am
post #7 of 45

heres what i did. i filled 2 9in cake pans and baked them. instead of of filling and icing like a simple round cake, i just folded it over sort of like when you fold one piece of bread over. than decorated like normal.

does that make sense

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:54am
post #8 of 45

i donno. lol im kinda lost. oh well next time ill do better. i guesse it was poor math on my part. but than again Im not a math major.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 8:59am
post #9 of 45

Then it must have been more than 4in thick?! 2+2+2+2 = 8in thick. If that really was the size (and I don't doubt you if you say it was, although it doesn't look almost as thick as it is long - which it would do if it were 8in thick), then yes it would serve 24. I'm not trying to argue with you or be difficult, just trying to help you figure this out so you can get it resolved (((HUGS)))

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:01am
post #10 of 45

btw the shoes are a real life size 7

MikeRowesHunny Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:03am
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayla1505

btw the shoes are a real life size 7




I love them, but alas I'm a size 9 icon_lol.gif

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:04am
post #12 of 45

i only fill the pans about half way. opps. its ok bonjovibabe, i know your not trying to argue with me and I really apperciate the help icon_wink.gif

justme50 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:12am
post #13 of 45

I'm confused too!

Quote:
Quote:

my mistake its 9in across, 4in thick and about 5in up and down. its the same amount of cake as if i would have just cut and filled a simple 9in round cake.




If you used 2 9" cakes and cut them in half, the cake would have to be 8" thick unless you didn't fill the pans to bake to the top. If so, then your quote was correct. But, if the cake was only 4" thick, you were mistaken in the number of servings you would have.

It is a beautiful cake though!

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:18am
post #14 of 45

thats what i did wrong i didnt fill the pan all the way, only half way up. what can i say it was 4 am in the morning when i made the cake. I'm gonna offer her a refund.

justme50 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:26am
post #15 of 45

It was an honest mistake, and it's a shame to only get so little for such a wonderful design! But, there's just not much you can do at this point. I'd only refund half though. She's way off when she said it would only serve 8. It serves 12 easily.

My suggestion is to institute a minimum charge on carved cakes like this. When you're basing your price on per serving, you can't afford to do really small cakes that require so much intensive labor. It doesn't take much more time to carve a purse cake for 200 than it does for 20.

As far as it being dry, tell them up front that you have to use a sturdier cake than normal. If they want a really moist cake, then they can't have a carved cake. What a customer wants and what they can have aren't always the same thing!

One more thing....I'd definitely charge separately for those shoes on top of the minimum charge for a carved cake!!!

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 9:50am
post #16 of 45

ok i sent her an e-mail. here what i wrote....

Peggy,

I'm so sorry. I figured out the problem and here's where I went wrong.

The cake I originaly quoted you was supposed to be 9in across, 8in thick, and 4.5in in hight.
That is 24 serving at $3.50 a serving with $20 for the gumpaste shoes, which should have been $104.00 but I made the shoes for free, and only charged $80.00 total.

The mistake was that I made the cake 9in arcoss, 4in thick, and 4.5in in hight. I forgot to bake another layer.
The cake I gave you has 12 serving at $3.50 a serving plus $20 for the shoes. So that cake i gave you should have cost $64.00.

Since it was a mathamatical error in my part I'm more than happy to refund you half of your money.


As for the cake being dry, I normaly make my cakes very moist but since it had to stand up it would have fallen apart. So I made a sturdier cake to be able to stand and bear the weight of the fondant.

Again I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. My only excuse is that I am a novice baker. I am learning from my mistakes as I go along and trying to gain some experiance.

I would also like to add that I apperciate the honest feedback, otherwise I would never learn and grow as a person and cake decorator.

Thank you

Kayla

how does that sound?? This is only the second person I've made a cake for outside the family. I'm so dissappointed in myself that I messed up.

justme50 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 10:01am
post #17 of 45

Sounds good to me!

Try not to beat yourself up over it though. Honestly, if this is only the 2nd cake you've ever done outside of family, you're doing amazing work! You're extremely talented. You made a simple mistake, everyone does.

HerBoudoir Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 11:48am
post #18 of 45

I think that's a great response - the only thing I would change is rather than saying you "forgot" to bake another layer, just tell her you miscalculated what was going into the cake.

As someone in the restaurant industry, feedback - even if it isn't as glowing as we'd like - is the best way to learn, and improve. It's better to take a hit with the finances now and learn from it to keep the future customers happy icon_smile.gif

mbh724 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 11:52am
post #19 of 45

The cake is absolutely beautiful. I think offering a 50% refund is more than fair.

shalderman Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:20pm
post #20 of 45

I think your offer of a partial refund to her was perfect and I think it will make her happy.

I have to add that the cake is gorgeous and the shoes are to die for! I want to make a cake similar for my little sister for her 18th bday (I have a year LOL). Did you use a cutter for the shoes or freehand cut?

LisaMS Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:43pm
post #21 of 45

What a fabulous cake!

I think your response letter is right on...except for the suggested changing of wording from "forgot" to "miscalculated".

As for the moistness of the cake, sounds like the lesson learned is to let customers know in advance the cake must be dense to stand up to the 3-d quality. That way, they can decide if they really want a 3-D cake but there are no surprises at the texture. Customers just don't understand these things unless we educate them. I have to let customers know all the time that my cream cheese frosting just doesn't lend itself well to certain types of decorating.

Keep your chin up!

simplysweet72740 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:56pm
post #22 of 45

oh please keep us posted on what her response is!!! I Love your cake and shoes its so nice. LOL I am a size 7 hehehehe

springlakecake Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:59pm
post #23 of 45

I think you are doing the right thing and your email sounds good. I agree that "miscalculated" is a better word. I think your customer will appreciate how you have handled it. I think your cake could even be worth what she paid for it, but since she was expecting a larger cake, then I think it is only fair to refund some of the money.

CakesByLJ Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:07pm
post #24 of 45

$20.00 for the gumpaste shoes? I haven't sold any, but that seems like a cheap price, if you had charged her.... opinions?

tonimarie Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:10pm
post #25 of 45

That cake was gorgeous! I'm soo sorry the serving size was off, but the product looked awesome thumbs_up.gif I did not know that a 3 D cake had to be denser, so I have learned something icon_lol.gif Keep you chin up-we are all human. I think it's very honorable for you to refund her 1/2 because that cake took ALOT of work. I still say kudos to you!

annacakes Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:19pm
post #26 of 45

Your work was excellent. And your follow up email too. Yes, change the work "forgot" to "miscalculted". You made a mistake which you learned from...it's all good.

vixterfsu Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:41pm
post #27 of 45

How big were the pieces she was cutting?

TheButterWench Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:41pm
post #28 of 45

The cake and shoes are absolutely lovely, The board, well, that's another story. lol

When you made that particular cake again you can instruct your customer that the cake is folded over and they need to cut the slice in half to get the right number of servings.

Does that make sense ?

I do that all the time with event cakes, I always add an extra layer there just in case they have more guest than what they calculated.

I'm the one that is usually serving the cake at a large event so I can control the way the cakes are cut.

HTH

kayla1505 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:00pm
post #29 of 45

Thank you guys for the wonderful comments. I needed to hear some good feedback.

I donno if $20 for the shoes is too cheap or not, I just figured that the gumpaste costs me like $8 to buy so i just made it an even $20 for the pair.

as for the board icon_wink.gif I didnt have time to make anything esle. She called me on Thurs. didnt figure out what she wanted untill Fri afternoon, and she wanted to pick it up Sat at 12pm.

Mind you, I have school from 6-midnight mom - fri. I stayed up all night makeing the cake. I think it was a miracle it came out so cute.

I think she was cutting up huge pieces becuz she says it barely feed 8 people.

I'll keep you guys posted as soon as she responds.

CarolAnn Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:38pm
post #30 of 45

Your cake looks great and the shoes look real, wow! What the others said about your wording. If you were concerned about a dam blowing did you put the layers together without any filling between them? If so that may be why the cake seemed dry. In some of my cakes I use a very thin layer of icing between the layers, and no dam necessary, and I think it makes them better than a thicker layer. It adds the flavor and moisture but not a lot of icing. I'd think icing would be important to the stability of the carved cake, especially. You know, the glue that holds it together so to speak?

I agree that half refund is appropriate. The lady sounds nice so I bet she'll be more than happy with that. And I bet she comes back for more cake in the future. Live and learn. You're good, so you have nowhere to go but up.

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