How Do You Run Your Bridal Tastings?

Business By sunnyrunner Updated 14 Apr 2008 , 10:48am by cakesbyamym

sunnyrunner Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 4:29am
post #1 of 9

I've been reading a little here and there, but I'd love to see it all in one thread.
*What size cake(s) do you make?
*Do you let the bride choose flavors ahead of time or is there a standard that you make?
*Do you make fresh for each tasting?
*Do you charge for your tastings?
*Also, if you bake out of a commercial kitchen, where do you do your tastings?
*Anything else?

8 replies
indydebi Posted 12 Apr 2008 , 7:24pm
post #2 of 9

I bake a 6" single layer square, cut it in quarters, so now I have four 3x3 squares. I tort the squares, ice them in a zig-zag motion with a star tip. I usually serve 2 squares of white cake with red raspberry filling and choc fudge filling, and one square of choc cake with choc-rasp filling or just plain white BC. These 3x3's cut into 4 nice sample-size slices very well. And since I only permit up to 4 people at a sampling, it works out great.

*IF* a bride asks for a specific flavor, I tell her I will TRY to have that available. I view the tasting as an opportunity for the bride to determine if I can bake or not and if she wants to book with me. It is NOT a "let me try THIS flavor" and "let me try THAT flavor" moment. My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake, except it will taste like lemon. This has never been a big issue for me, though. I usually just make what I want.

I try to keep a bunch of 3x3 squares in the freezer. It's a real pain to fire up the 5-rack convection oven just to bake a 6" cake. Not cost effective at all. IT takes less than an hour for the cakes to thaw, and less than 10 minutes to fill and ice them.

I do not charge for tastings (and I do catering, too, so my samplings also include "lunch"!)

I am a no pressure sales person. At the very beginning, I tell the bride, "I am assuming you are here information gathering. I am not looking for a decision, a committment or a check today. So you are just going to sit back, enjoy the cake and food, and when you leave here, you will have a full tummy and lots of information to enable you to make an informed decision about your cake/catering choice. Sound good to you?"

The pressure is now off and it is MUCH more relaxed.

I would also suggest the cake decorator not stress if they don't hear from the bride in a day or two. Brides are doing a LOT of research and they don't do it all in one day. In 2007, the average length of time between sampling and booking for me was 27.5 days. In 2008, the average length of time between sampling and booking is running 13.2 days. (In 2007, I had a couple of brides who booked 3 and 6 months after their sampling.)

snarkybaker Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 1:58am
post #3 of 9

I do mine completely differently. A CONSULTATION is free. I'll pull cupcakes out of the case and chat with you about our cakes etc. If a bride wants to SAMPLE then she may choose three cake/icing/filling flavor combinations. We make them up for her and send them home so everybody who needs to be involved in the tasting cane be. We charge $25 for the three samples. If the bride books, the $25 is credited to her final order.

I turn business away every weekend, so I am a very low pressure sales person. I really like not sitting in front of a bride while they eat. That way they get to decide what they really like. It has also ended up being good publicity for me, because they all eat the samles with their bridesmaids etc. so I end up booking all of the shower cakes etc.

costumeczar Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 10:42pm
post #4 of 9

I think that Indydebi and I are separated at birth, because I pretty much do everything the same way that she does, it seems. For my tastings I usually just bake extra of the flavors that I'm making for wedding cakes that week, but I always have three basic flavors, chocolate, almond and either yellow or white. I try to also do some kind of a fruit somewhere, whether a lemon cake or in the fillings. If someone asks for a specific flavor I tell them that I'll try to fit it in, and if I have time I will. At the tasting I tell them that IF THEY HIRE ME I'll be glad to do extra samples for them of specific flavors, but then if they email me later with ten flavors I ask them to narrow it down to two or three. I don't charge for tastings because that's not the norm in my area, but don't I wish it was! icon_twisted.gif I also don't like the high-pressure sales meetings, and I've had brides tell me that it was nice to not have someone trying to "pitch" the sale to them. Either they want to hire me or they don't, and I figure there are reasons why someone would or wouldn't, so I don't stress about it and I try not to stress them out during the tasting either.

Erdica Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 10:51pm
post #5 of 9

*What size cake(s) do you make? - I make mini cupcakes and frost them with my butter cream

*Do you let the bride choose flavors ahead of time or is there a standard that you make? - Yes. Usually between 3-4 flavors. I really don't believe in only having certain flavors out and all else you have to hope will taste good on your wedding day. I want my brides to know exactly what the cake will taste like.

*Do you make fresh for each tasting? - Yes. Usually the night before the tasting. I do all my consultations on Sunday afternoons.
*Do you charge for your tastings? - No

*Also, if you bake out of a commercial kitchen, where do you do your tastings? - Not me.

*Anything else? - If a brides asks about a certain cake with a filling, I just put the filling in the cupcake so that they get a little taste of it. Plus they get to take some home.

acookieobsession Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 12:29am
post #6 of 9

I would like to say that I allowed my second bride to choose the cake for her tasting next week. Do you know what she chose? the 2 most expensive cake/fillings that I offer. SO now more choosing for me!

I work form my licensed home kitchen so I offer to meet them at thier home, my home or a central location. If you go to their home or a location, make sure to take plates, forks, and a knife. I forgot that and that was embarrassing having to ask her for plates. DUH! I also thought the small water bottles would be a great idea.

Papers I have on hand are: Flower list, flavors list, sizing chart, and cutting chart.

I also had my DH make slices from wood. Someone posted that in the templates gallery.

Also, I have the photo books (and I will use laptop if they want something I do not have in the book).

Something I have not seen mentioned is that I have my dummies on hand. I brought 4 sq and 5 round to the last tasting. The bride said that it was really helpful to her because she was not really sure how BIG a 5 tier cake would be.

I plan on making 2 6" cakes. I will serve the slices and then send home the rest. I would rather jsut make 4" on regular basis, but I am just getting back up to speed in the new area....
HTH

Julia

indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 12:41am
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by acookieobsession

I also thought the small water bottles would be a great idea.




Oh yeah I do these too! I try to keep the 1/2 size cans of soda on hand, also, so I can offer them coke, sprite or water. (the hard part is keeping my 15 year old out of them when she comes to the shop and raids my refrigerator!)

aligotmatt Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 1:07am
post #8 of 9

*What size cake(s) do you make? I make cupcakes and they get 2 of each flavor. The remaining are used for marketing.
*Do you let the bride choose flavors ahead of time or is there a standard that you make? I have them choose any 2 flavors and fillings they want to taste.
*Do you make fresh for each tasting? I make fresh for each and every tasting.
*Do you charge for your tastings? I charge $25 for the tasting, because I am baking fresh for it. And that cost is deducted when they book with me. I never say IF when explaining this. Also, if I'm making a lot of other cakes that weekend and have extra batter and can pour some cupcakes, I don't charge them. It's just waste sitting around otherwise. But, they have to eat what I'm making.
*Also, if you bake out of a commercial kitchen, where do you do your tastings? I do all of my consulatations in coffee shops. I bring the baristas extra cupcakes, and it's worked out that now I drink free coffee all over town!
*Anything else? I realize quite a few people on here think charging for tastings is horrid, but I think it's brought in more serious people for me. And sometimes, I refund them the $25 if they don't book with me, even though I tell them it's non-refundable. Especially if they choose to go with a grocery store or something because they realize a special designed cake is not in the budget. I don't know, something about someone eating a grocery cake on their wedding day... It probably sounds silly to everyone else.

cakesbyamym Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:48am
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyrunner

I've been reading a little here and there, but I'd love to see it all in one thread.
*What size cake(s) do you make?
*Do you let the bride choose flavors ahead of time or is there a standard that you make?
*Do you make fresh for each tasting?
*Do you charge for your tastings?
*Also, if you bake out of a commercial kitchen, where do you do your tastings?




I make 6" round cakes for each flavor requested. I cut the cake in half, half again, and so on, until I can get 8 nice pieces out of each flavor of cake.

The bride may choose up to three (3) flavors that she'd like to sample from my flavor selection menu. I use an ice cream scoop to scoop up my icings. They just look really nice when they're all uniform in size and shape...JMO.

Each cake is made fresh, yes. I'm too scared to freeze. LOL. Knowing me, I'd do THAT wrong. LOL.

I don't charge for the initial consultation. However, if they request an additional tasting, it's $25.

I have a licensed home bakery, so all of my tastings are conducted in my dining room. I set a beautiful table and use my grandma's china to set the "tone". I also light candles that I have placed on the decorative shelving around my dining room, as well. (Usually the wedding cake candles from Yankee Candle.) LOL. I serve sweet tea or water to each person, depending on their preference, again, in my grandma's china. Everyone is always blown away by the presentation and for me, after that, the cake tasting will sell itself.

HTH,
Amy

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