An Interesting Observation About Price....

Business By indydebi Updated 7 Apr 2008 , 1:02am by fabfour

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:19pm
post #1 of 12

Had a couple in for a cake-only sampling yesterday. Now usually, I email the couple my quote and information and they take a few days to think it over before they book. I actually prefer it this way..... cuts down on buyers remorse and I have almost nil cancellations. (My average number of days to book between sampling and booking is 13.7 days).

But this couple wrote me a check right on the spot. Let me share why. This story is to promote confidence in your price and yoru pricing strategy.

The bride brought in a sketch she had made of the cake she wanted. 3tiered square cakes, iced in Granny Smith Apple Green with a bright pink ribbon at the base. That's it. No borders, no scrolls, nothing. VERY simple.

They are planning 175 guests (well, at first they said 200, but after talking with them, I suggested they could reduce it to 175). My bill? $525.

The reason they booked with me then and there?

They had been to other bakeries and were told $1000 for this cake. Reasons given was because it's a square cake .... because the icing is green .... $125 to deliver because it's on a friday night. The bakery would deliver free on Saturday, but charged $125 because it was on a Friday.

Now I did spend some time educating them on how square cakes cost more but it's because they are getting more cake. They agreed and understood that, but this bakery was charging a surcharge just because it was square on top of the regular price per serving.

I also educated them that sometimes add'l charges are merited, using the gumpaste example and the fondant example .... more work = more money. They understood and totally agreed.

I did explain that sometimes making multiple batches of colored icing can be more work to make sure each batch is matched (but in a 20 or 30 qt mixer, you can mix ALL of this icing in one batch, so I don't understand THAT logic! icon_confused.gif )

They also understood a delivery fee because of gas prices, but they DIDN'T understand how gas is so expensive to merit a Friday delivery fee of $125, but it's cheap enough to be a free delivery on Saturday. icon_confused.gif

I've been doing some price comparing in my area and I'm NOT the cheapest. There are bakeries that are $2/serving (compared to my $3/serving).

This story is just to share that price-per-serving is not the make-all-break-all factor. Be confident in what you offer. My pricing philosophy of "not nickel and diming" a bride to death worked out very well for me. And in my conversations with them, this couple understood basic, add'l charges, so don't be shy about having those fees. I would suggest that you be able to explain the WHY to a bride ... most are very agreeable when they understand a logical reason for it.

Anyway .... just sharing a success story and some interesting insight into what a bride is thinking as she price compares.

11 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:29pm
post #2 of 12

Great information, IndyDebi -

a slightly OT question for you -

Have you calculated the percent that your total ingredients have gone up over the past year, and have you made any changes in your purchasing to reduce that cost? Brands, quantities, suppliers?

Thanks -

Theresa icon_smile.gif

tmt Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:29pm
post #3 of 12

You're the best debi! Thanks for sharing this story. I concur with this but not because I sell cakes (I don't sell) but I was recently a bride. I compared prices and I went with the one that had "menu" of prices based on size/number of servings. she didn't charge different prices based on decor or flavor or shape. This is why I chose her right on the spot.

aprilcake Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:30pm
post #4 of 12

thanks for sharing! Glad you got the order! Sounds like its going to be a very pretty cake!

fiddlesticks Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:32pm
post #5 of 12

What a great story ! Not just for wedding cakes but just cakes/prices in general ! Thanks !

leah_s Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:35pm
post #6 of 12

I'm one of those who does charge extra for shape. Anything other than round just does take me longer. time is money. I don't charge extra for colored icing, flavors or fillings, though.

I suspect the Friday delivery charge was because the weekday crew would be on OT. The no delivery charge on Saturday might have been because they have weekend-only employees.

sweetneice Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:40pm
post #7 of 12

Thanks for sharing! I recently booked two brides on the spot for the exact same reason! I thought they would change their mind, but because I explained everything and didn't 'nickel and dime' them either, they were very comfortable. They also liked the fact that I treated them like I've been knowing them for years instead of being some stuffy and intimidating business owner who doesn't really care about what you want, but how much you're paying! I say.... if you have your pricing guideline explaination speech ready, and a great attitude, confidence, added with a love for your craft and a warm heart for your clients, you can't go wrong. Oh, don't forget about a whole lot of backbone for the bridezillas out there, fortunately I haven't booked one yet! Great Job Indy!

CakesByLJ Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 3:44pm
post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by leahs

I suspect the Friday delivery charge was because the weekday crew would be on OT. The no delivery charge on Saturday might have been because they have weekend-only employees.

wow... that's exactly what I was going to say.... icon_cool.gif word for word... wow........ icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 4:02pm
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Have you calculated the percent that your total ingredients have gone up over the past year, and have you made any changes in your purchasing to reduce that cost? Brands, quantities, suppliers?

The biggest expense has been eggs and gas. Being a mix baker, the price of flour hasn't impacted my cake costs as much as they will a scratch baker. I use Betty Crocker cake mix and they've stayed at $0.93 cents for-EVER .... I saw they went up just last week at Walmart to $0.98. I'm going to try to stay at $3 since I already make a very good profit at that price, yet I believe that it's very important to support the local market price.

As far as purchasing, I keep a very detailed spreadsheet with my cost and the pricing history. When I'm sitting with my GFS or Sysco sales rep, I got no problem telling them, "I can get it for this price with the other guy. Meet it, beat it, or lose the sale." It only takes me a short while to train my sales reps in how I operate. I may look like the little ole gramma who makes the best dang cookies on the block ... but when it comes to numbers, do NOT try to screw around with me! icon_cool.gif

As far as food brands go, it just depends. I gave away 6 big tubs of Sysco brand peanut butter to a food bank ($48 worth) because one taste on the end of my finger told me I was NOT using this in my cookies. So it's Peter Pan only!! I switched from Sysco green beans to GFS green beans because when my daughter cooked them up, she said the Sysco ones were too stringy and tough. I'm betty crocker only on cake mixes, crisco only on shortening, but any powdered sugar will do me fine.

leahs and LJ ... I think that's a very good point about the Friday night OT. I believe if the bakery had explained that to the couple, they would have understood the expense. These were two very intelligent young people who had a very good business sense of their own.

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 4:44pm
post #10 of 12

I'm not charged up about Sysco products, either. Not that all their products are bad - their upscale products are Wow! - but everyday stuff leaves something to be desired (dealt with them at a restaurant I worked at).

I switched from Jif to Peter Pan, not only because of price, but flavor. Jif just is not the same, since they added oils which do not belong in peanut butter. My fave PB is Skippy Natural - no oil separation, no crap added. Tastes fab - just like Planter's Cocktail Peanuts - but it's pricey. I don't know if a customer around here would pay the extra.

Thanks for the info, Debi!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

mommicakes Posted 6 Apr 2008 , 8:22pm
post #11 of 12

Thanks for all the info you guys. I am going to keep it handy for reference. icon_biggrin.gif

fabfour Posted 7 Apr 2008 , 1:02am
post #12 of 12

I think it means so much if you don't "nickel and dime" your customers. I charge a standard amount for a cake only option and that is all they get cake only. I do deliver but they have a refundable deposit after all my supplies are returned in proper shape. Then I have the "catered" option that is of course higher but it includes all the extras like punch, mixed nuts, homemade cream cheese mints and/or chocolate covered mints, coffee, cups, forks, plates, and I provide the use of tableclothes for the cake table. Plus I'm there to cut the cake and clean up my supplies and take it home. I have yet to do a "cake only" wedding. It's a huge selling point when brides and their families don't have to worry about the other stuff.

This is my funny story for the week, my sister was working at a local resturant and the groom of next weeks wedding came in. They were talking "wedding" stuff and she told him that I was getting things ready for it and he started laughing and said that he thought I was more excited about doing the wedding cake than they were about getting married! To me that is a selling point as well, act excited be happy to do it. Don't make it like it's just another job. Besides, I really am excited about the wedding cake, if you can't be excited about what you are doing than maybe you shouldn't do it. icon_rolleyes.gif


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