Let's see if CC will stay up long enough for me to paste and post this .. this time. LOL.
So, although my last tasting day was HUUUUGE (150 people!), I ended up finding that quite a few weren't serious shoppers. A couple told me afterwards that they already had cake, one signed with another cake person the day before the tasting, and yet another brought 5 people and just sat there munching on cake absentmindedly while loudly (rude loud!) going over their bridesmaid dress catalogs. So engaged in what they were doing, I'm not sure they even noticed what flavors they were eating. Sigh.
So I decided that I'd change how I was doing it. Less brides, more serious interest. Started charging $15/ ticket, which can be applied against their order.
For the first one, I limited to 20 tickets, and sold out. Had a wait list started a week before the event for the next one.
I decided what I'd be serving, then made these cute little menus. I wish I took photos - everyone kept them! Guess that's a good thing though!
Picture an 8.5 x 11 white glossyish sheet of paper, folded in half. The front had my logo and "tasting menu" on it, then the inside was done all pretty - each item they'd try, and a description. Then I had a black cardstock cover, punched 2 holes in the "spine", ran a hot pink ribbon through it, and tied a bow on the outside to bind the two pieces together.
On the front, I printed my logo (black) onto white cardstock, cut it out as a rectangle, glued it down to a mirrored silverpaper, then cut THAT out so there was a 1/2" silver border around the white.. then glued it down to the black cover. Under that, we printed 20 different photos of my cakes with a metallic pro photography finish, cut them out, and put a different one on each menu, under the logo. It was pretty cute!
Here's what they tasted:
6 different cakes: Lemon, Southern Belle, Chai, Bananas Foster, Raspberry Dream, and Tiramisu. FULL SIZE servings, about 5" tall
Cherry Nanaimo bars
Different fondants: vanilla, chocolate, lemon, Southern Comfort.. color coded and cut into cute shapes
Different Frostings (a mound on a separate plate): Vanilla SMBC, Vanilla American Buttercream
Curd: Lemon, Lime, Pink Grapefruit
Decorated sugar cookies (bagged back to back and tied with hot pink ribbon to match menu): Original sugar cookie with marbled MMF top, and my citrus sugar cookie, topped with lemony RI with flood / drop hearts deco
I think that was it.. it was a CRAZY amount of food, so we provided clam shell style leftover plastic containers at each table.
I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, en route to the tasting, we went for lunch. Somehow, I managed to not see a BIG pothole in the parkinglot as we were leaving, so I took a big fall, skinned my right knee horribly (and RUINING my "2 sizes smaller on account of massive weight loss recently) NEW JEANS!!) and smacked it really hard, twisted my left ankle pretty bad (swelled up really bad and hurt like hell!), sprained my left wrist, and smacked up both palms pretty bad. UGH!!! I couldn't walk for awhile.. one knee and the other ankle wouldn't take weight on it.. made life pretty difficult.
So I hobbled to the tasting, and we got set up. The hotel had already set up the coffee, water, and milk we'd ordered in a little station off to the side. So, my son laid out cutlery, menus, cookie packages, score cards, and leftover containers at the tables while I started cutting (seated, lol!) cakes, and my husband set up the portfolios, dummies, etc.
Everyone showed up either early or on time, so that was good. As we were serving everything, I asked if anyone had any questions, and someone asked (and I died!):
"I was reading on another cake site that they proudly don't do fondant. What is up with that?"
My first thought was.. omg. A plant. What do I say?
I just said something to the effect of "I know who you are talking about.. they have a completely different business model, and are more into mass production.... " etc. So SHE says..
"Doesn't EVERYONE on Food Network use fondant? I thought it was a weird thing to read!"
Whew!!! I mentioned that fondant has been around for a lOONG time - in europe - and that it's been in north america for over a decade now, blah blah.. mentioned some people don't eat fondant, it's a texture thing.. but that they don't eat fresh or gumpaste flowers either, and it's a looks thing more than anything - and helps keep it all moist. Everyone seemed cool with the answer. That particular business is the one who totally screwed up my wedding cake, and has been a total thorn in my side as a business, so I was pretty proud of myself for not naming names or going on the same rant about them that I tend to with friends, etc.
Anyway, everyone was totally stuffed by about halfway through, lol. Someone mentioned something to the effect of not wanting to go to other tastings, I joked that this was the plan.. get you all sick of cake so you'll just order, lol. WEnt over well. It was a good group.
So, no one left any leftovers.. those plastic containers went to good use. We even gave away a couple cake domes to use, there was a family there in place of the bride and groom who couldn't make it, so they took 2 entire samplings back for them.
All in all, it went really good. My knee looks like someone took a cheese grater to it, though!
I think next time we'll go with the same sort of selection, but buffet style for serving. We also need a bigger room, it was a little crowded (which made serving even more hectic).
wheeewww........sounds like you need a day to recoop from that!!! Sounds awesome though......wish I could've come and tasted!! Those flavors sound amazing!
omg. what a day! it seemed like a very memorable day, not only for you but for the customers. congrats! out some ice on that knee and rest woman
Wow!! I've been following your posts for a while. I'm glad everything worked out. Sounds like a great concept to tastings. I hope it works out for you.
Ice that knee!