Contracts With Local Function Halls?

Business By cakecrumb Updated 21 Jun 2008 , 11:46am by cocorum21

cakecrumb Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 6:56pm
post #1 of 10

I have done a few wedding cakes here and there and would like to take a step in the direction of package deals at function halls.

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice as to how to approach this? Would I just contact the function coordinator to find out if and when they might be renewing cake contracts?
Also, should I have my own contract to present to them or do they typically have a contract that they work with? Or both?

I want to be as professional as possible when I approach this and I am afraid that I will come across as naive if I don't sound like I know what I'm talking about. icon_redface.gif

Any help or advice would be so appreciated. TIA icon_smile.gif

9 replies
michellenj Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 9:55pm
post #2 of 10

I would contact the Director of Sales, the purchaser, and the chef. Some smaller venues have the chef do the purchasing. The way it was set up at my old hotel was we had a portfolio of cakes, about 20 different styles, and the bride and groom picked from those, or could design something else. Only one time did I see someone deviate from those standard cakes, and we were high volume-350+ weddings per year. At the final meeting with the bride and groom, they selected the flavor cake and fillings, and the type of fillings they wanted, and the type of frosting (French buttercream or whipped cream). Two weeks before the wedding, we'd fax out the info to the baker, who would write okay on it, sign it, and send it back to us to know that we all agree on the style and flavors.

As far as pricing goes, we paid the baker like $3/serving, and they made the cake to accommodate the # of the b&g's final guarantee. If there was too much cake, whatever. They also gave a 6" anniversary round for free.

The baker would call sales a few days before the function and set the cake up herself, usually, unless it was just a stacked cake, then they delivered it and we would put it out.

It was a great deal for the hotel, and for the baker.

That is all I can think of right now. Hope that helps!

cakecrumb Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:54pm
post #3 of 10

thanks so much for that information. i'm going to look into everything a little further. i think i'll give a few function places a call.

PieceofCakeAZ Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:46pm
post #4 of 10

My thoughts may differ from other posts you read here but my post is based on the following information:

-  We have âpackageâ relationships with numerous reception sites and caterers
-  I have become friends with the people that run many of these sites and the tell me stories about their daily operations.
-  I am in the Phoenix Metro area, your area may be different but if you are in a major metro area, there will likely be some similarities

My advice:

Go into the reception site with business cards, and perhaps samples (donât bring a book, they donât have time to sit down and look through your book, direct them to your web site for photos).

Say the following (or something similar but keep the same points) âHi, I am ______ from ______, a specialty cake shop in ______. We have recently been receiving inquiries from some of your brides and since I will likely be delivering cakes here in the near future I thought I should at least stop by and introduce myself.â

And thatâs it. Donât ask about their packages, donât show interest in becoming a preferred vendor⦠nothing. If they want talk about that with you, they will bring it up.


Now hereâs why I gave that advice:

A few years ago, when there were 80% less cake companies in existence, you could walk into a reception site off of the street and they would be âWOW, we were just talking about needing a new cake vendor, itâs so great to meet you⦠letâs get startedâ. (well it wasnât always that easy, but that actually happened to me once) 8>) It just doesnât work that way anymore (in most cases).

One reception site that I do business with (we handle about 90% of the weddings there) tells me that without fail, a ânewâ cake company shows up every single week (sometimes more than one a week) asking how they can get their foot in the door⦠and sometimes they even get rude when the site manager tells them that there is no chance.

If you walk in asking the same questions and saying the same thing as everyone else, you will be treated the same⦠Which is bad. icon_smile.gif Other reception sites I work with confirm that at least once a week a new cake company walks in asking the site to recommend them. And to them, they all look the same and they all say the same thing.

Why the reception site wonât give most of these people the time of day:

Because of the newish popularity of cakes, In Phoenix there are multiple culinary schools banging out 1000+ people every year that want to get into the cakes/pastry business. Add the Wilton class graduates and you easily have 2000+ people a year entering the market, many of them figuring that they are ready to start their own company and make wedding cakes. An overwhelming majority of these people will fail.

When a reception site starts including cakes in their packages, their reputation is riding on the quality of your work and the stability of your company⦠there are so many quality cake companies out there, that itâs getting to the point that a reception site would have to be full of idiots to stake their reputation on an unknown, unestablished company. The fact is, not everybody that makes wedding cakes does quality work⦠these reception sites have seen countless leaning cakes, poorly decorated cakes, and cakes actually fall over, so the more companies that pop up, the more wary they are getting and the more likely they are to stay with companies that have served them well in the past.

The next step is the toughest one

Without the help of the facilities, you have to market the heck out of yourself and actually book some weddings in the facilities that you visit. Only after they have seen you deliver a quality product (on more than one occasion) and see that you are easy to work with, will they consider staking their reputation on your company.

I know, it sounds like the whole, "sorry, if you don't already have credit, we can't give you any" deal, but with the way things have become... it is really all about proving yourself and your company before most people are willing to take the chance.

Best of luck!

Kevin

cakecrumb Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 11:09pm
post #5 of 10

thank you so much! that is great advice. i really appreciate you taking the time to explain everything.

this is a future goal of mine. in the next couple of months i want to set up my business plan of sorts and would like to go in the direction of wedding cakes rather than the small party cakes. i am just researching at this point.

thank you again! icon_smile.gif

PieceofCakeAZ Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 1:26am
post #6 of 10

No problem! I wish you the best of luck!

JulieB Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 6:11pm
post #7 of 10

Wow, Kevin, that's a lot of fabulous information. You've answered a lot of questions!

cocorum21 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 9:40pm
post #8 of 10

PieceofCake thank you so much for all that info! Would you answer another question on the topic?

I was planning on sending out a letter on my grand opening to people in the industry and invited them to come and try some free samples once I open. Like if they come in any time during the first month just hand me a business card and get a free sample of what I am baking that day. Or Set up a specific date and bake different flavors and they can come in and sample and that day is just for them and no customers. What do you think of that idea?

PieceofCakeAZ Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 7:27am
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cocorum21

PieceofCake thank you so much for all that info! Would you answer another question on the topic?

I was planning on sending out a letter on my grand opening to people in the industry and invited them to come and try some free samples once I open. Like if they come in any time during the first month just hand me a business card and get a free sample of what I am baking that day. Or Set up a specific date and bake different flavors and they can come in and sample and that day is just for them and no customers. What do you think of that idea?




No problem at all!

Are you a brand new business or have you been a round for a while? I only ask because if you phrase it as a "Grand Opening" it implies that you are brand spanking new. That's cool if you are but if not you want to still take advantage of any reputation you already have in the market so you may want to choose different wording.

As far as the concept, I don't have any experience implementing a system like that so I can't speak first hand to it's effectiveness. However, I can't see any reason that it would hurt your business, so you might as well give it a shot. I would caution you to make certain that you don't send the letter or run the program smack dab in the middle of the busy wedding season in your area, I know if I get invited to something during a stretch where we are working 40+ days straight... it's going in the garbage. icon_biggrin.gif

Let us know how it works for you!

cocorum21 Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 11:46am
post #10 of 10

Great point! I've been licensed since Sept 07 renting kitchen space. So this really is new for me, but I guess I could say OPEN HOUSE. I won't be up and running until October sometime so I wanted to get in and get used to the new place and get over the holiday hump before I did anything like this. We'll see how it goes! Thanks for the help!

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