Just A Thought About Making Tastings Easier??

Business By jessieb578 Updated 14 Sep 2008 , 9:53pm by moxey2000

jessieb578 Posted 26 Jun 2008 , 7:40pm
post #1 of 34

What if I made a "tasting box to go". Kind of like a little box with maybe 3-4 samples of my most popular cakes, and 3-4 flavors of icings and put them in a box to go. Make a little form to go with the box with notes and spots for them to write what they liked and what they didn't. Then when people ask for a tasting, I could give them the little box to take home. I'd charge $15 for the box and they can take it home and do with it what they please - have as many people as they want taste the cake and feel comfortable doing so.

That way they're not tasting cake right in front of me, which is definitely nerve racking for both of us and secondly it's not taking a great deal of my time for people who may not want to book.

If they want to book a cake based on the fact they like the taste and can see I have good work, then they can schedule a "design appt", then I can take $15 off the price of the cake.

What do you think??

33 replies
peacockplace Posted 26 Jun 2008 , 11:34pm
post #2 of 34

I remember someone else here on CC does this. I think it's a great idea, especially for some couples who have busy schedules.

jessieb578 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 5:52pm
post #3 of 34

Really?? And to think I came up with some novel idea icon_lol.gif

I don't know how well it can work, but I'll throw it out there to some brides to see what they think. If they'd like the traditional tasting then I can do that as well.

authress Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 7:59pm
post #4 of 34

I do my consultations at a cafe/coffee shop since I don't have my own space yet, so I end with giving them a box of samples to take home. This has worked very well for me--even when I haven't felt great about the meeting, I often get an email saying they want to book because the liked the cake so much. I don't know if I'd get the same response if they were eating it right there in front of me. (The only change I'm contemplating is adding forks to the box--I figured most people would bring it home, but I get a lot of emails that imply the cake never made it out of the parking lot! icon_lol.gif )

jessieb578 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:13pm
post #5 of 34

authress - wow!! that is great to hear!! I think it's nerve racking for people to try things in front of me. Like they don't want to comment and just say that it all tastes good.

The forks would be a cute touch....

KHalstead Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:20pm
post #6 of 34

okay, a bit off the OP's original thoughts, but I was just wondering what do you all do for your tastings?? Like do you make mini cakes, cupcakes, just slices of a larger cake?? Do you frost them? I usually do cupcakes, my last tasting I did mini cakes, like 4" cakes and then they cut them up into 4 pieces for the 4 tasters. Tonight I'm doing a tasting and I'm so busy with 4 cakes one double layer full sheet which is really 4 cakes unto itself blah! Anyhow, tonight because I'm so exhausted already I've just cut 4 little chunks (maybe 2 -3 forkfulls each) of each flavor for the four tasters. probably won't get the booking because it's a crappy presentation but at this point I'm so tired I don't care! Isn't that awefull?? So how do you guys do it??

jessieb578 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:28pm
post #7 of 34

I take a platter and placed the cake and the icings on it kind of like a painters pallet. Then I made a label for the platter showing what each flavor is. I make 4 kinds of cake and put 4 kinds of icing. I cut several cubes of each cake (probably a forkful) and put them in nice little sprays....kind of fanned out on the plate and then a blob of icing above each kind of cake. Not the best description I know....I'll take a pic of the next tasting I do.

I figure that way they can taste a bite of cake with any kind of icing. I offer mini bottles of water or soda. To take the pressure off of me staring at them while they're eating, I ask questions about their wedding - are you nervous, what kind of flowers are you having, etc....just to get a feel for them and the wedding they're having.

That's about it!!

Janette Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:30pm
post #8 of 34

I usually have a box made up with different flavors. I tell them to take them home there is enough for other family members to try it as well.

We discuss prices and designs, I tell her give me a call when she has talked it over with those with a vote.

They are always happy not to sit in front of me and eat cake.

yummymummy Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:47pm
post #9 of 34

icon_eek.gif This is the most FANTABULOUS idea I've ever heard of! I was a nervous wreck at my first and so far only tasting! i gave them their space and told them to be completely honest...but I would have loved to bolt! I think I might try this if there's a next time! icon_wink.gif I hope you don't mind me borrowing your idea! icon_smile.gif

Janette Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 8:58pm
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by yummymummy

icon_eek.gif This is the most FANTABULOUS idea I've ever heard of! I was a nervous wreck at my first and so far only tasting! i gave them their space and told them to be completely honest...but I would have loved to bolt! I think I might try this if there's a next time! icon_wink.gif I hope you don't mind me borrowing your idea! icon_smile.gif




PS - 3 months, 10 days until our 36th Anniversary

It takes humor and seperate check books

FromScratch Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 9:36pm
post #11 of 34

I usually do filled cupcakes. 2 flavors.. 6 of each combo. I used to do a 6" cake and 6 cupcakes, but it's a lot of cake so I switched to just cupcakes. I make fondant flowers for the tops (just simple cut out shapes nothing fancy) to mark the different flavors. They can take the cupcakes with them when they go and get back to me on what they liked or they can eat at our meeting.

yummymummy Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 9:44pm
post #12 of 34

Janette wrote:

PS - 3 months, 10 days until our 36th Anniversary

It takes humor and seperate check books


icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif ...yeah that's what my mom says! So far dh and I are doing fine w/ a joint account....but I carry the Debit card! icon_wink.gif

ladyonzlake Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:27pm
post #13 of 34

I got my tasting ideas from watching Sylvia Weinstock. I bake 3-6" rounds of different flavors (larger if I have more than one bride). I use a round cookie cutter (about 3") and cut out circles of each flavor. Each person gets a plate with 3 different flavors. On another plate (each one gets their own) I place little scoops of different flavors of frostings. I use my cookie dough scoop for when I make cookies.

While they are tasting what I do is tell them what is in front of them and give them suggestions as to which cake flavor to try with which frosting. It's not uncomfortable because I am walking them through the different flavor combos so we are all still interacting and conversing with one another.

cakequeen50 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:40pm
post #14 of 34

I don't like to sit there and watch them sample, makes me nervous. So I, too, send them home with 2 boxes. Let them taste with family. I even had a bride say that she had a tasting party with the bridesmaids. Sure is better than having 5 people at a consult.
LL

msauer Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:42pm
post #15 of 34

I am pretty much in the same boat as Jacqui.

I make three 6" sample cakes for them to try (based on what the bride has indicated she is leaning towards for a wedding cake- this works FOR NOW, but as I get busier and busier I am afraid I will have to decide on three standard flavors that I offer every single time).

I typicall have a few fillings available in little solo sample cups with lids that I put together long before they get here. (If I don't have much in the way of fillings, I plop a little orange or strawberry extract into some buttercream just to make it look like I'm really trying).

I too guide them on a tour of fillings and frostings, etc.

I have been working so hard at building my WEDDING cake business and I fear that if I just give them some cake to take along they won't ever call back....has anyone else had this happen.

I'm feeling the pressure of too many novelty type cakes and really need to step up my wedding cake game, but I want to make sure I do it right.

I love this thread and appreciate all of your comments.

-Michelle

ladyonzlake Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:54pm
post #16 of 34

I'm with you Michelle...I need more wedding cakes! I think people are so intriqued (sp?) with my 3D cakes and until I get licensed I can't really solicit to brides.

I have these little glass bowls for sauces...they're about 2" diameter that I put my frosting scoops into. I only offer fillings if I happen to have some available. For different BC flavors I just add melted chocolate, puree's, extracts ect to my vanilla IMBC so that makes it easy.

indydebi Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 4:01am
post #17 of 34

Ok, my mom-finger is coming out at y'all!

You don't like to sit there while they are eating your cake? Get over it. You can't do a good consultation if you're doing it thru a drive-thru window. You are a salesman ... a good salesman doesn't just mail some brochures to a client ... a good salesman TALKS to the client to find out what they need, what they are looking for, and how that salesman can fill the void.

Rules of Sales: You sell, in this order, (1) YOU (2) your company/business (3) THEN your cake. If they are not buying YOU, then you've lost the whole deal.

The consultation is NOT when you are selling your cake. That's the after product. It's when you are selling YOU. It's the time to talk to the bride, find out what she wants, let her get comfortable with you. She is looking for someone she can TRUST with her wedding cake .... and you're going to throw 4 cupcakes in a box into her car as she drives by and waves to you?

If you want to give them some "private time" to sample, then what I used to tell them, "You go ahead and get started while I finish some clean up and I'll be right back in." Then I make some cleaning noises for a couple of minutes in the kitchen while they are eating. But I am NOT going to miss the opportunity to show them why I should be the one to make their wedding cake .... and the reasons have NOTHING to do with my cakes!

Here's some other conversations on samplings: http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=592119&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0
http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-592148.html

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 9:57pm
post #18 of 34

I usually meet at their house or a restaurant. I used to make little 6" cakes, but felt VERY awkward cutting and serving. Not to mention forks, plates knives, napkins, etc. Now I keep frozen cake (rotating it through in short time... don't want freezer burn). I cut out bite-sized pieces with a small cookie cutter and put them in small sample cups. (Call it "cake shots" icon_smile.gif ) This makes it so simple and clean to serve everyone. They don't really need forks to eat these and it simplifies everything. I go ahead and include the filling in the sample cake. I think that if you provide a bowl of filling for them to add.... they will drown the sample in it. Then on the wedding day, they may want to know why there was only a thin layer . It lets them know the proportion they will get and how it will really taste. This has worked out wonderfully for me and most people are pleased to get any samples at all!

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 10:01pm
post #19 of 34

Oh.. and I don't mind sitting there while they sample. I don't believe in feeding the the whole family, so I only offer 2-3 sets for Mother, Groom, and Bride. This is their day and shouldn't need group consensus. Then again.... I don't charge anything for consultations!

CakeLadyM Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 10:26pm
post #20 of 34

I always take the booking first, then if they'd like a sampling, it's just to finalize which flavors they would actually like. All my tastings are portables, and I've been doing it that way for two years now. Seems like with the faster, busier lifestyles people are living these days, they appreciate it more.

I ask which flavors they'd like to try, and I charge $75 for four flavors cut from four 6 inchers, gathered back into one cake then star tipped. They can sample two different fillings along with that, and I throw those into the little SOLO cups with lids, and a fruit sticker or whatever on top to signify which filling is which.

I'm the only one in town who does this, and the brides fall all over me for it. Here's a pic of what my "portable tastings" look like...
LL

indydebi Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 10:43pm
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLadyM

I always take the booking first, then if they'd like a sampling, it's just to finalize which flavors they would actually like.




Wow, that is so opposite my view of a sampling! A sampling in my area is for the bride to see if they WANT to book with you.... to see if they like your baking. I'm not sure of the reaction I'd get when they ask "Do you do samplings?" if I replied, "Yes .... AFTER you give me your non-refundable deposit before you even taste my cakes/foods." icon_confused.gif

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2008 , 11:03pm
post #22 of 34

$75 dollars for a sample? People would laugh me out of business. You are so lucky to be able to do this.

CakeLadyM Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:20pm
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLadyM

I always take the booking first, then if they'd like a sampling, it's just to finalize which flavors they would actually like.



Wow, that is so opposite my view of a sampling! A sampling in my area is for the bride to see if they WANT to book with you.... to see if they like your baking. I'm not sure of the reaction I'd get when they ask "Do you do samplings?" if I replied, "Yes .... AFTER you give me your non-refundable deposit before you even taste my cakes/foods." icon_confused.gif




Most of my bookings come from either seeing my pics online, or from referrals. They already know the quality of the cake, and the level of my decorating. The tastings I do, for the most part, are just a finality in the ordering process.

CakeLadyM Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:24pm
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn123

$75 dollars for a sample? People would laugh me out of business. You are so lucky to be able to do this.




Look at the sample cake pic I put up. That is a 6 inch round cake, with 8 full sized servings in it. PLUS two or three fruit fillings. That means I had to bake FOUR separate cakes and most likely, buy a filling or two just to give the bride or whomever a "tasting" of four flavors she decided to "try." Add a normal delivery distance of 20 miles or so round trip to that. Not to mention the cost (nominal, I know, but it's still there) of frosting, boxes, boards, and SOLO cups.

I'm not giving it to them for free...

Jenn123 Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:29pm
post #25 of 34

I'm not saying it isn't worth it, I just couldn't get anyone to pay it.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:35pm
post #26 of 34

CakeLadyM, do you credit the price of the sample to the cake price? $75 seems really steep for a sampling. I charge for my samplings - $30, and for that they get up to 3 cake flavours (either cupcakes or 4x2in rounds), fillings & icings, but I always credit that money back to their cake price if they go with me for their cake.

CakeLadyM Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 12:59pm
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjovibabe

CakeLadyM, do you credit the price of the sample to the cake price? $75 seems really steep for a sampling. I charge for my samplings - $30, and for that they get up to 3 cake flavours (either cupcakes or 4x2in rounds), fillings & icings, but I always credit that money back to their cake price if they go with me for their cake.




Oh most definitely I credit it back in. In my state, the $75 basically just knocks the sales tax off their final order. TN is at 9.25% these days.

I guess my philosophy on brides is a bit different than the rest. If you can have a wedding for 250 people, a reception at a fancy hotel for 250 people, serve drinks and food and get a basket full of money and gifts handed to you, and mommy and daddy have taken out a loan or savings or whatever to pay for all that....Then you can most certainly afford to pay for the centerpiece of that celebration, which will be your cakes.

Of course the DAY is about the bride and groom. But seriously---the most photographed thing at the reception, and the thing everyone goes to look at first is the cake(s). It's also the most talked about thing...how many times have you heard people talking about the FOOD at the wedding? Not often. But invariably (and not just because we're cake people, either) you will hear about the cake. "It was amazing." (or) "It was dry." (or) "It was greasy feeling." (or whatever.)

And with gas prices, supply prices being what they are these days, I cannot in good sense give them what I do for less...

Now, there are tastings/samplings that people still do where they just get a bite or two of cake and frosting, sitting right there with the cake lady, or whatever. And most definitely, one of those samplings would not be worth the price I charge. But a four-flavor six inch round, separated, labeled, and DELIVERED??

Yeah. Pay me! icon_biggrin.gif

Jenn123 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 1:25pm
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLadyM


Now, there are tastings/samplings that people still do where they just get a bite or two of cake and frosting, sitting right there with the cake lady, or whatever. And most definitely, one of those samplings would not be worth the price I charge. But a four-flavor six inch round, separated, labeled, and DELIVERED??

Yeah. Pay me! icon_biggrin.gif




You must have a really devoted following! What percentage schedule a tasting after they hear the price? Do you have a shop or work from home? I'm just curious about the response you get. How many cakes do you have in a normal weekend?

It just seems like you are really limiting the potential clients you will have. If I heard that a sampling would cost his much (i.e. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't get any money back.), I probably wouldn't even try you.

CakeLadyM Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:39pm
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn123

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLadyM


Now, there are tastings/samplings that people still do where they just get a bite or two of cake and frosting, sitting right there with the cake lady, or whatever. And most definitely, one of those samplings would not be worth the price I charge. But a four-flavor six inch round, separated, labeled, and DELIVERED??

Yeah. Pay me! icon_biggrin.gif



You must have a really devoted following! What percentage schedule a tasting after they hear the price? Do you have a shop or work from home? I'm just curious about the response you get. How many cakes do you have in a normal weekend?

It just seems like you are really limiting the potential clients you will have. If I heard that a sampling would cost his much (i.e. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't get any money back.), I probably wouldn't even try you.




1) What percentage schedule a tasting after they hear the price?
I've never had anyone balk about the price, because they already WANT a cake, then realize it's being taken off their final order. So the $75 is more of a price POINT than an actual charge.

2) Do you have a shop or work from home?
Both. Friends & family orders (if not large) are done at home. Then I have a partnership with a local restaurant business where I do weddings, caterings and larger orders.

3)How many cakes do you have in a normal weekend?
This last weekend was two birthday orders and one wedding.

4)It just seems like you are really limiting the potential clients you will have. If I heard that a sampling would cost his much (i.e. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't get any money back.), I probably wouldn't even try you.

That's just it. I stay covered up all the time. I don't care if I get those customers who "might want their money back" in the first place. Price shoppers aren't my clientele. "We're just looking around right now" aren't my clientele.

90% of my customers are from previous guests at a wedding I've done, someone I've done a cake for in the past, etc., who just want to taste the flavors available, investors who own land or tourist companies here in the Smokies I've already booked with in the past, etc. "Bob and Mary and thier 25 close friends having a bbq western backyard wedding" are fine and good, and I've done those weddings, too. But for the most part, my brides already KNOW they want their wedding cake to be done by me, and they KNOW that charge is credited off their final invoice.

I'm through explaining. I'm not sure I like the tone this thread is gaining, and all from a simple pic and statement on what I do. Sheesh!

MichelleM77 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:49pm
post #30 of 34

Please don't be offended. It's hard to show tone in an email. Some of us have a hard time getting a $75 cake order, let alone a tasting for that much. We are all just curious as to what your tips are as to how you get such great customers! icon_smile.gif

I do see now that this is probably more for weddings and not your run of the mill birthday cake order, right?

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