Someone at my church is planning their daughter's wedding and they told me that one of the reception places they looked at not only charges 75cents per slice to cut the cake, but they REQUIRE that their staff cut the cake. I am at the lowest price imaginable, and the thought of some snooty country club getting another 75cents per slice just to cut my cake is just outrageous to me. Needless to say they choose a different place for the reception. Is this a common practice?
There was a thread about this in another category not too long ago.
While it might seem outrageous, the reception hall is going to have to provide the staff who knows how to properly cut a wedding cake, the forks and plates and napkins, cut it up, serve it, clean up afterwards....so it's not so off the wall when it's all said and done. Additionally, bringing in a cake also means that you're not buying one off of them if they offer those services AND you're not buying as many, if any, desserts off of them. I guarantee if other places don't say there's a fee added on for bringing in a cake, it's already worked into the package deal somewhere when they break down their own expenses.
I work in a restaurant, and we charge a flat fee of $25 if you bring in a cake for a special occasion. The reason we do that is that essentially you're bringing your own food to a restaurant. You don't bring your own wine to a restaurant that sells wine because it's cheaper, and you don't bring your own appetizers to save money either. It's money out of our pocket, so charging a fee is a way to discourage it as well as balance out the sales.
HerBoudoir pretty much covered it. I always think it's a shame that it's still referred to as a "cake cutting fee" when it really has nothing to do with cutting the cake as much as it has to do with providing what was mentioned above: the staff, the plates, the forks, the serving time, collecting the dirty plates, paying the dishwasher to wash and put them away, cleaning up the cake table area .... and just a reminder that the facility is making NOTHING on the cake that was purchased from an outside bakery.
Would you accept a "job" where someone said, "Hey, I want you to drive to this place, bring the plates & forks, cut and serve my cake to my guests, pick up the dishes, wash them and put them away. And I want you to do it for free." I doubt you'd be jumping up and down saying "PIck me! Pick me!! Pick me!!"
The rule about requiring them to be the ones to cut the cake could be just a food safety issue. Issues such as does your church lady wear gloves when she handles the cake, can be just one example. Non-employees are frequently not permitted in the kitchen of a restaurant or country club and if Aunt Sally or church lady is cutting the cake, would she need to be or would she expect access to the kitchen? It may not be what is perceived as just another way to get money out of the bride, but could be legitimate legal and health dept rules issues.
And $0.75/person to cut a cake is the best rate I've seen in a LONG time! The most common rate for cake cutting service is in the $2.00 to $3.50 range around here.