I've been a big fan of CC eversince I came across the website. Love it!
I have a question that maybe someone can help answer. I have to meet with the owner of a very prestigious country club, and they want me to do their wedding cakes. Now, I have been doing cakes from a commercial space for 5 years, and the legal end is all taken care of. My question is- do country clubs out source their wedding cakes, don't they have in-house pastry chefs for that? What should I expect from this meeting? I'm nervous because this is the most lucrative oppurtunity that has come my way till date, I really don't want to screw it up!
Very cool, good luck. Why are they outsourcing? Who knows, who cares? They must've seen your work, and it's better than the quality they are getting now, whether that's in house, or not.
Yes.. good luck. A lot of times they don't have pastry chefs. they will get their desserts from a commercial supplier and they come in frozen and they just have to thaw them. I'll be sending some good cake ju ju for you! Good Luck!!!
The important thing to remember is to negotiate something that is not only beneficial to you and the country club but also to the bride that wants a specialty designed wedding cake. You need to factor in things like if you end up with a bridezilla or a bride that booked before she figured out her budget, or what if you have an order for another wedding that weekend with 1000 servings.. Or an OOT event that you won't be around that weekend.
Stuff like that needs to be factored in before going in exclusive.
Thank you all so much for your replies, Keep 'em coming!
BTW Jkalman, great tagline! my sons love watching Chowder!
How fun! I used to be on a list of cake decorators that the CC recommended to brides that didn't alreay have their own. Most of the time the CC would call and say a cake for x number of servings the bride has no preference do what you like. I also did butter roses for the CC they would call and order 3 or 4 hundred roses made out of butter to serve at very fancy events.
the reason that I don't still do it is because we moved
I get referrals from a local country club also. They have the bride call me and I set up a time at the club to meet with them (bride & groom or bride & mother) and get their idea of what they want. If they ask for a tasting, I will make a 4 inch and bring it with me. I usually try to get as much info on the phone before we meet so I can be better prepared. Once I understand what they are looking for I determine price based on intricacy, flavor, filling, type of buttercream, fondant...whatever. You have to establish a price range for a cake with buttercream or fondant for a simple cake and go from there. If I were you, I would keep in contact with the banquet manager and ask him/her to sit in on your meeting so they can observe your professionalism. You want to be able to get more referrals (and that's how I would convey it to the banquet manager/club manager). I don't think you would want to be told what to make from them as it could lead to lots of problems.
That comment about 1000 people got me thinking. You will need to think about your "assistants" ahead of time. Whether they are paid by you or whether you have free reign over country club workers (later is usually not the deal). Assistants could be the helpers that help you bake, assemble decorate, move your supplies to location, etc. Who is going to serve it? Cntry Clb workers or you? Personally I would. Theres no better high than hearing someone say,"Did you do this? Its fantastic!" If you dont have a chefs coat. Get one right away. I like the pink ones. Sets you apart from the catering people. I would insist on wearing your own (have it embroidered with your name and name of your company) unless you want to get absorbed into looking like one of the country club staff.
That type of customer base (the members) will get you more cakes on an individual bases (ex. b-day cakes from the brides crazy but nice aunt Sally).
I'm sure that you will talk over with him all your usual rules (that you currently follow) about prices, supplies (like cake stands, etc)
Dont forget to bring your business cards to all functions.
Hint: My pants that I wear with the Pink chefs coat is Black nurses pants that I bought at Walmart (no kidding!). They are the nicer ones with tons of pockets - crazy comfy and no where near the price of food industry clothes.
I would go online to buy your coat (if you dont have one already). I must suggest the ones like on the Food Network. They are made by "Chefs Revival." I get them dry cleaned (w/starch) after every function.
I can think of so much more!!
Some clubs and hotels in my area have started doing packages for the brides, where they have the cake included in the total price that she pays them.
What happens is they have a baker who's the exclusive vendor for their package, and he gets the business regardless of what cake the client wants. They have a certain amount included in their package allowance, and if they want a design that costs more than the package allows, they have to pay him the overage directly. He gets a flat fee from the hotel and they keep a percentage. Under this arrangement he makes a certain amount even if he normally wouldn't charge as much for the cake if it was someon who walked in off the street.
They still let people who don't want to hire the baker bring someone else's cake in, but they don't tell people that unless they're pushed, and I don't know how that works with their package fees. I do know that a lot of brides have come to me and they're not happy with the arrangement, but I'm sure most of them just have the guy make their cake without asking whether they can use someone else.
There's a difference between being on a preferred vendor list and being exclusive to a venue...Make sure you're talking about the same thing when you talk to the Country Club people. If you're negotiating being their exclusive baker make sure that they're paying you enough!
Thank you, thank you, thank you all so much for your wonderful advice! it has been very helpful in putting my presentation together. I will be meeting with them this Friday, will let you all know how it goes. Thanks again, you all pointed out some good things to consider when I go in to meet with the owner.
I can't wait to "hear" how it goes!
there is a small country club that recommends me to their clients.,...just because the lady in charge likes my cakes, I've gotten several orders from her.
but to be exclusive? that could be some good business for you.
keep us posted!
What an awesome opportunity. Just remember to be very professional and dont over do it. Be sure that you can meet and exceed the expectations as far as the agreement between you and the cc.
Thanks to all of you who helped me with my presentation with the big time country club. It went quite well, I showed them my portfolio, and they pretty much want me to do all their wedding cakes. The terms were finalized and I will be making good money from their orders. Yay!
When I asked how they had heard of me, the manager said that she had seen my cake at one of her friends daughter's birthday, and loved the look and the taste of it!
So thanks again, all of your advice helped me a lot!
I work at a bakery that is contracted from several hotels and country clubs to do theri package cakes. There is a basic cake included in alot of packages usually something basic in flavor and disign. If they would like to upgrade they are welcome to. some upgrade some don't but the money is there either way. good luck on your meeting hope it all goes well with you.
Glad to hear everything went so well! Congrats!!