I Hate Tastings- Vent

Business By karateka Updated 30 Jun 2008 , 4:58pm by cakedout

karateka Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:05am
post #1 of 17

I had one today. The bride and groom brought their 2 children, which I didn't know they'd do. So they are wandering around my dining room, touching my OSSAS cake, acting bored and interrupting.

The groom had the personality of a grumpy grizzly bear. He didin't like the frosting because it is too sweet and wanted to know what could be done about it. I just had had enough of him at that point and said "nothing. Frosting is made of sugar and butter and flavorings, so it's really impossible to lessen the sweetness unless you ice with whipped cream, which I can't do. Cottage foods laws, blah blah blah"

The bride kept asking him what he liked and he didn't like anything. He didn't like the fillings.

They barely ate the cake I had to cram in at last minute because they didn't call with their flavor choices until 2 days before. (they had previously told me to pick something appropriate).

It's so awkward to sit there and have to pull info out of these people. You'd think they'd have at least some idea of what they wanted when they got to this point. But I had to start fishing..."Do you want round or square?" Do you have any colors in mind? Do you have a design theme in mind? You're getting married in a garden? Do you want flowers on the cake? DO you want a topper? GAAAAAHH!!

Every bride I've ever known has 10 pics from bridal magazines and knows exactly what she wants.

You know, I'd almost rather have tastings once a month. Bake like 6 different flavors of cupcakes, box them up with samples of icing and fillings and hand them out to take home! Then I'd be spared the agony of watching them eat, make faces, argue about stupid stuff.

Thanks for letting me vent. I feel much better now. icon_wink.gif

16 replies
Chef_Stef Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:46am
post #2 of 17

gag, what a pain, I can just imagine!

This is why I never have them actually taste the cakes in my presence...we sit and meet and chat about ideas and get a rough idea of what the design and theme will be. I take lots of notes. We part ways, and I give them the box of their samples to take home and eat, argue over, and get back to me about.

I don't have the time or the interest to watch them try each flavor and/or pick it apart and/or argue about each detail, etc. Do that at home; get back to me when you know what you want (or don't want). Try it, it might save you some aggravation...

karateka Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:49am
post #3 of 17

That's a good idea. I think I might just do that from now on. I almost screamed at them today.... it was driving me crazy.

Chef_Stef Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:58am
post #4 of 17

Definitely try it--box up the samples. Meet with them, get the basics. When you're done, hand them the box and say, "Here you go. Take these home, try them out, and let me know what you think," and you're all done.

They always just email me the next day (or two) and let me know what flavors they want to go with for the cake, and it spares me listening the nitpicking and arguing and whining about: why is the icing so sweet (or so buttery)? or, can this cake be fluffier? or, can it be moister? or, can you make a milder chocolate icing? is there sour cream in this? lol

JanH Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:17am
post #5 of 17

You poor thing, stuck with a grumpy groom, rampaging kids and clueless bride. icon_cry.gif

From the way they acted, you'd think they never had cake before....... icon_eek.gif
....or been to a wedding that had a wedding cake... icon_surprised.gif

I must compliment you on your self-restraint. thumbs_up.gif

Don't know if you charge for your tastings. But this might have been one instance where paying might have encouraged them to do a little homework. icon_twisted.gif

Or maybe not. tapedshut.gif

Might I suggest an adult beverage or a long bubblebath to help you relax; you deserve it. judge.gif

b777fan Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:30am
post #6 of 17

Ditto on the bubble bath! I like the idea of giving them the cakes to taste on their own time. I appreciate that suggestion and will use it if a tasting ever comes up.

I have had the same experience with the "icing-too-sweet" complaint. This year, I did a birthday cake for a friend of a friend as a favor, and I heard from the friend that the couple said the icing was too sweet for them. I wish I could have told them what you had told the groom.

I tend to fall into the trap of trying to please the customer, even if it means making things harder on myself. I guess we have to have a stopping point sometime. It is amazing how much people don't realize all the work, money, and time that go into making a cake...

chutzpah Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 10:47am
post #7 of 17

I conduct most of my preliminary business via e-mail, and when I book a consultation I always send them a little list of stuff: if they are parents they need to organize a sitter, they must have some idea of what they are looking for (deco/color etc). I've had couples show up with brats in tow, and told them that we'd have to re-book the appointment. I have asked argueing couples to leave the premises, and people who behave d like pigs have been asked to leave also.

It's YOUR 'office' so you get to dictate what happens there.

indydebi Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:41am
post #8 of 17

I can't say I've really run into that. If they think the icing is too sweet, well, that's just their taste and like you said, nothing I can do about that. I flat out tell them, "It's made of SUGAR!!!!" (smile in my gramma smile). If they begin any bickering (which is rare), I just say, "Oh gosh! Your first fight and I get to be there!" Then they laugh and say "Oh it's not our first!" If they can't decide on anything, then I tell them (in my gramma voice with my gramma smile), "OK, that means I get to do whatever I want and you dont' get to complain about it!" Then they laugh and actually start making decisions.

But I also take the pressure off by telling them, "You have plenty of time to make these decisions. Nothing is etched in stone until about 3 weeks before your event. Here's what we're going to put down today, just so I can send you a quote on your cake....."

As chutz said, it's your office .... you need to take control and diffuse it. I dont' do that by sending them home ... I do that by being in control of the situation ... and by not taking everything personal. It's just business. The purpose of "tasting" a cake is to determine what they like or dont' like.

I can count on one hand the comments I've gotten about "I dont' like......"

It's not personal .... it's business.

And just one more time, I'll add my opinion that shoving free cake at them at the door and sending them on their way is NOT a way to hold a sales meeting ... and that's what a sampling is ... it's your sales meeting. It's your chance to sell yourself first, THEN your business, THEN finally selling your cake. They are looking for someone they can trust the creation of the wedding cake to. It's your chance to answer their questions WHILE THEY ARE TASTING YOUR CAKE. I dont' know how they do that when they are sampling cake thru a drive-thru window.

acookieobsession Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 12:32pm
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by indydebi

And just one more time, I'll add my opinion that shoving free cake at them at the door and sending them on their way is NOT a way to hold a sales meeting ... and that's what a sampling is ... it's your sales meeting. It's your chance to sell yourself first, THEN your business, THEN finally selling your cake. They are looking for someone they can trust the creation of the wedding cake to. It's your chance to answer their questions WHILE THEY ARE TASTING YOUR CAKE. I dont' know how they do that when they are sampling cake thru a drive-thru window.

I agree with this very much. I have had clients that like or don't like a portion of the tasting, but I use it as an opportunity to explain either the reason or offer alternatives. What if they do have questions when they are at home tasting....better you are there to clear up any issues.

I have not really had any difficult people yet, but I can imagine that would be difficult to deal with. Perhaps you could offer some crayons and paper to the next kids that come by. It is difficult to get a sitter for us, so I think I would be understanding of their situation.


dailey Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:29pm
post #10 of 17

ugh, my pet peeve...picky grooms. icon_confused.gif i don't think ANY man should be that picky about cake, so unattractive. i mean, come on, shouldn't they be worrying about "men stuff"? its the brides job to be the diva, not the grooms...

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:57pm
post #11 of 17

I don't allow children at tastings either. I like kids, but they have NO place at a business meeting.. it's boring to them and I am not a sitter. You should have told them to reschedule when they could arrange a sitter. Chutzpah is right.. you dictate what is acceptable at a meeting.

I tell them the same thing.. you have to come prepared to talk about your cake. You should know approximately how many people you are serving and have SOME idea of what you want in a cake.

SO sorry that you had such a horrid experience.. ((hugs)) Next time kick them out (nicely). icon_lol.gif

leah_s Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:13pm
post #12 of 17

I agree 100% with Indy. Prospective clients sample the cakes during the meeting. And I'm right there. I give them a lost of flavors to look over while they eat and that's at the end of the meetng - after I've sketched their dream cake and after they've fallen in love with it. Then I have them pick their flavors. After they've spent all that time designing their dream cake, only rarely do they walk without booking.

Now about kids at consults. NO!!

True story. Bride showed up for her consultation with her mother. And her MOH. And her FMIL. AND the eight children she babysits.

Yeah, I sent her packin'. She and her entourage never left my foyer.

Chef_Stef Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:30pm
post #13 of 17

Sorry but I'll have to agree to disagree about sending samples cakes home--my consults are in no way quick or a drive-thru meeting: We spend 60-90 minutes chatting BEFORE I send them home with their samples, and that's with me controlling the time...(I'm chatty, can't help it). The other reason we don't break open the cakes at the consult is because we're usually at Starbucks or some central place, and it would be very strange to open the cake there and break out the forks and plates. Sometimes when I'm working with my favorite wedding planner, we meet at the florist's house and we have tea and dive into the cakes, and that's fun, too, and once I build a kitchen, I'd definitely have them taste them there, but for now I have had no problem with sending samples with them to taste at home and decide.

I also tell them nothing's carved in stone at this point, (including flavors) and they have lots of time to decide details--anything can be changed until 2 weeks prior to the wedding. My consults are mostly to meet, get to know each other and get excited about working together at this point, and get some preliminary notes on paper that I can work with for a quote, which works great for me. We have a lot of fun, and I'm as excited about their wedding as they are, so they always leave on a very positive note. I almost never lose a bride once we've met...

For the "too sweet" icing issue, I offer IMBC, which solves that every time.

I like the idea of sending them a "prep list" of what to bring (no kids, inspiration pics) and what to expect to accomplish (hopefully basic design, colors, rough idea what size, etc).

Definitely control the setting, and indy's right about injecting some humor while telling them in a nice way that they are getting out of line (love the "It's your first fight" comment-LOL!). I've never had kids that were unruly at a meeting, but if I did, I'd probably say something like "Sweetiepie, if you can't sit still and be quiet for your mommy for a few minutes, the cake lady will have to send you home." The kid may not get it, but the mom should. Actually with my 20 nieces and nephews, the tone is usually more like, "Not in MY house, you don't!! If you're not taller than this counter-top, you don't get to act like that!" but of course with customers, you can't be 'scary Aunt Stef'...lol

Hope your next meeting is tons of fun, however you do it.

tatetart Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:36pm
post #14 of 17

My first tasting ever a bride showed up on my doorstep with 8 people.
Mom, Dad, bride, groom, sister, brother and 2 kids.

Since I had not stipulated that a tasting should require only two and I thought maybe the bride was just naive and didn't know better; I was gracious and served them all at my table.

The bride thanked me for being so accomodating and they ordered both a bride and grooms cake although with so many people and opinions it was quite chaotic. As they were leaving, the MOB turned to the bride and said, "See? I told you she could handle the whole family. She's a professional. She is used to this."
I then realized that I had been ambushed.

I now offer a free tasting for two. They are welcome to bring guests ...but there is a 25 dollar charge per guest. ( As any professional would do!)

chutzpah Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:39pm
post #15 of 17

I prefer just the couple, and tell them so, but if they ask (and most don't)they can bring up to two guests (I don't have enough chairs for more). But there is only enough cake for two people to sample.

tatetart Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:56pm
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by chutzpah

I prefer just the couple, and tell them so, but they can bring up to two guests (I don't have enough chairs for more). But there is only enough cake for two people to sample.

I bend the rules to accomodate an extra person or so. But now, it is my perogative, not theirs. icon_wink.gif

cakedout Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:58pm
post #17 of 17

GGGRRRR!!! icon_mad.gif How I HATE tastings like that! And I've had several like that over the years! I've even had a couple argue and the bride burst into tears! I had one bride that couldn't make a decision to save her soul-so I suggested that she take home a basic quote and re-book when she had thought a bit more about what she wants!

After several years of wedding cake phone calls, I began to recognize the brides that were serious and those that were "just looking". The serious ones would get the "$10.00 consult", with lots of time designing and chatting. The Lucy Lookies would get my "buck, fifty" consult with my basic sales pitch, sketch out a cake design or two that they had in mind, cake samples, give them a quote and a smile then off they go!.

In my early years of decorating I had several consultations that lasted a long time-one was 3 hours planning every single detail-then they never booked with me. I then decided to keep things down to 45 min-1 hour. I was tired of changing my whole schedule to accomodate consults, only for them to waste my time!

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