I've been wondering if any of you guys ever have this problem.
Most of my customers are referrals and most of the time they've tasted my cake before and that's how they call me. But lately I've been having several new customers and they want to taste my cake; well, sometime ago I used to offer free cake tastings without probelms, but now I've had some people who ask for a tasting and don't even show up to the appoinment.
My father suggested me to charge for an taste appointment that way I wont loose money or time, but if people don't show up for free cake they won't come to pay and then come back later for the appointment.
Am I making any sense? Any thoughts???
Do you take credit cards? Maybe they can PayPal you? I know it sounds like a pain, but its really the only way I can think to ensure more ppl will show.
I don't take credit cards yet. But I'm thinking here in Mexico, people are not going to take very well the "paying for a sample" idea. And I rather give it away, that way I don't feel obligated to anything.
If it's just once in a while, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you find it happening all the time, you might evaluate how you are handling the initial conversation. Are you professional, making them understand how serious this appt is for them? Or does it sound like a "come on by if you want to" type of thing? Are you making it clear the foods are prepared especially for them? or are they unaware of how much effort it takes to prepare for this time with them?
I knew a wedding planner who had a terrible no-show-rate. She and I dealt with the same brides and I never had no-shows. But she was very unprofessional, unorganized, etc.
I always include in my confirmation email (confirming date/time of appt) a request for them to call me if something comes up or if they get caught in traffice or if they are just running late. I swear to you, most of my brides call me to let me know they are just 5 minutes away or something. They are VERY GOOD at letting me know they are on their way. And I honestly believe it's because of the way I set up the appt .... making it sound as important as it is.
I don't charge for samplings and never will. I'll bet I've only had 4 or 5 no-shows in the past 4 years.
My no-show rate improved tremendously when I started CONSCIENTIOUSLY emailing to confirm appointments and added a list of things they should do to prepare. I also give them the phone number to call the day of the appointment if they're running late or need to reschedule.
I used to have a decent number of people who didn't show up, but I didn't always confirm beforehand if I was busy. Now that I'm making sure to confirm, the people who would have just not shown up seem to be responding that they need to reschedule instead.
I do two types of tastings. I hold a group tasting once a month, and there is no charge, but the flavors are limited to whatever I feel like making - and you must RSVP and bring no more more than 2 people. I send out mass e-mails to the brides that registered with the bridal show I did to advertise this. There isn't any real one-on-one time, other than answering basic questions. I send brides home with information on pricing and a complete list of flavors.
The second is a private tasting - where I spend time designing a cake, and you can choose up to 6 flavors for me to bake for you. I charge $50 for this, and it must be paid in advance (I accept PayPal, which makes it easy). The $50 goes toward their order. Guess how many no-shows I've had?
I agree that if it has only happened a few times there is no need to worry. I try to send a confirmation email with my information packet attached a couple of days before the meeting.
Thanks so much for your comments. It hasn't hapennned a lot, only about 3 times, but 2 in the same week, so it got me thinking.
May be I need to change a little the way I handle the first call, and maybe I need to re-educate people, and I'm changing my information on the flyers so people would know what to excpect when they call.
Any way all of you gave me very good advice that I'm going to use. Thanks again.
When I bought my wedding cake, the owner of the cake shop gave a sample during the appointment.