Help! My First Unhappy Bride!!!

Business By CAKESHERWAY Updated 14 Aug 2008 , 10:28pm by apclassicwed

CAKESHERWAY Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 8:59pm
post #1 of 19

Ok, so I have my license and a very fast growing business that will be in it's own "public" shop within 12-18 months. I am generally booked solid 6 weeks out and am already closed for many weekends in 2009. Okay, so having said that, I did a cake on August 2 for a bride and groom and for whatever reason, the cake was LEANING a bit to one side (the back). I was really upset about it though I didn't show my emotions to anyone at the event while setting up. Before I left, a guest who had arrived WAY too early (the take charge type) came up and stuck match books under the cake board to sort of "help" it a little, well when she did this it actually forced the board up into the cake causing the cake to lean ALOT more. When you walked into the room, you could not tell this at all but when you walked to the side or back you could tell. I was NOT happy with this cake but once it was assembled, there was no turning back and not enough time to even think about taking the cake down and figuring anything else out.

I know that I should have done a few things differently (now in hind sight). Today the Groom called and left a message and wants me to call him so I am sure it's to discuss the leaning cake.

Any suggestions as to what I should do? I have no idea what to do about this so I really need you help! I have done many weddings and this has never happened before and will never happen again (hopefully) but I do have to deal with this so please, someone give me some advice???? Thanks!!!!!

18 replies
leah_s Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 9:09pm
post #2 of 19

Apologize and ask what would make them happy at this point. Then do it. (I'm assuming they'll ask for some amount of refund.) And look into using SPS next time. icon_smile.gif

Chefperl Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 9:10pm
post #3 of 19

I am not sure how to deal with the entire situation, but if someone came and touched the cake without my permission, I would not be responsible. In my contract i state that if anyone outside of my company touches the cake i am not held liable. (Who's to say there was anything wrong with the cake before one of their friends touched it icon_wink.gif wink wink)

poshcakedesigns Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 9:11pm
post #4 of 19

I am so sorry to hear that.

1. I would not offer a full refund - I'm certain they ate the cake, right? that being said they still have to pay for what they ate.
2. If they request something back, I would offer to do another cake for their anniversary for free or maybe a free birthday cake.

I know you feel bad, mistakes do happen but I don't see giving a full refund if that is what they ask you for.

Good luck - let us know what you decide to do.

suchie6 Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 9:19pm
post #5 of 19

Let me start by saying your work is wonderful. I am new at this and would never think of selling to anyone - so I'm not speaking from any sort of history ... I'm sure the bride and groom picked you because of your talent - but - I am sure they also understand that you are human and a purchase contract is not a guarentee of perfection. Accidents happen - that's why they call them accidents.

Did you stick around the hall to discuss the situation with a member of the wedding party or the wedding planner - or did you call someone to let them know what they would see when they arrived? And/or did you discuss the situation with the catering staff regarding what to do if the lean worsened and/or how to serve it best to avoid addtional damage? If I was the bride I would have appreciated the advance warning and attention to detail.

Do you know if any addtional damage occured after you left?

If the groom is calling I would not delay the conversation - the longer you wait the more upset they may get feeling you are avoiding them.

I know it's uncomfortable but there is no sense damaging your reputation over an uncontrollable situation. Face the situation head on - see what they have to say and determine how you can make them feel better about the experiance.

melvin01 Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 9:20pm
post #6 of 19

See what he has to say first. Until you talk to him, there is no knowing what the call is about.

Let us know what he says, but do have maybe something in mind (possibly a partial or small refund or a discount on a future cake) in case he is upset.

Until you talk to him there is no knowing what is going on.

michellenj Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 10:00pm
post #7 of 19

It couldn't have feen leaning too terribly, or it would have fallen over. Just keep that in mind when you talk to him. Don't assume that he is calling to complain-maybe he's calling to tell you how much they loved it.

Best of luck! Let us know what he says.

melodyscakes Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 11:27pm
post #8 of 19

usually when the groom calls, its a refund in mind.
I do 3-4 weddings every weekend, and sometimes accidents happen. wish it weren't the case, but wedding cakes are a bit fragile and have a mind of their own...
I've had to give a few refunds, and you learn the hard way what to do better next time. I always want my customer to be happy,,,and that usually cost me $$$
good luck.


melody

CAKESHERWAY Posted 13 Aug 2008 , 3:37am
post #9 of 19

Thanks everyone. So I have no problem working to make him happy as I wasn't happy with the cake either. If any of you want to see the cake, I just added a few more cakes to my website and it is one of them. I have many many cakes missing on the site due to a computer problem but I got a new laptop last night and will be working to get it all updated. Anyway, I just wanted to get that one up for sure.

So the cake is exactly what she wanted in style and color (though i never cared for it) and the cake itself including all flavors and fillings where perfect and all turned out to perfection. So, i know they can't say anything else was wrong with the cake.

I have no problem giving a refund but should it be a full refund? I just don't think it should be as they did serve the cake (and no it would not have and did not actually fall over) and from the front (as pictured on the website) there was little proof of any lean so their pics where fine I am sure. So, the big question is just how much should I refund? What percentage? Any thoughts? I also plan to offer a free cake just because I really do want them happy, if that's even possible. let me know what you all think. thanks again!

leah_s Posted 13 Aug 2008 , 11:19am
post #10 of 19

Don't offer. Ask what it would take to make them feel beter, if it does turn out to be a complaint. Then agree. I have, on one occasion, been prepared to half/full refund and the customer asked for 1/4 back. Let them determine what would make them happy.

Gale Posted 13 Aug 2008 , 12:12pm
post #11 of 19

I looked at your website and your cakes are beautiful! I don't know which wedding cake was the one you're referring to but it couldn't have been leaning but so much because it certainly doesn't show up in the pictures! I would wait and see what the groom says first before I'd offer anything. If he does say something about the lean, I would also make sure he knows about the guest and her matchboxes. I am sure after talking with him, you'll have a better feel how to settle the issue to satisfy everyone. good luck

dawncr Posted 13 Aug 2008 , 1:42pm
post #12 of 19

I've just looked at your website, too. I have no idea which wedding cake it is---So, the lean can't have been too bad.

As I've posted before, I think there are some websites that suggest couples request 'discounts' after the wedding from any vendor who didn't meet their perfect expectations.

What about offering a discount on a future cake? Or a free anniversary cake (not a *huge* one)?

melodyscakes Posted 13 Aug 2008 , 6:39pm
post #13 of 19

so, what happened?

No-goodLazyBum Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 7:43pm
post #14 of 19

Yeah, what happened?

CAKESHERWAY Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 8:11pm
post #15 of 19

Sorry it took me so long to give the update but we went camping last night (spur of the moment thing).

So I called him right away yesterday and he just asked what went wrong with the cake. I explained to him that there was a slight lean and that one of his guests tried sliding match books under the board which made the lean way worse and that by then, I had not enough time to take the cake apart and do anything (not that that would have helped anyway).

So, I told him that I am dedicated to my customers and their complete satisfaction and that I wanted to make this right with him if possible. He wasn't sure what to ask to make it right and said he really didn't want to be a pain in the @&& but wasn't happy with what he had paid for either. I said I was happy to give him a free anniversary cake or future cake or discount the price of the Bridal cake.

This is the best part: he says, How much did we spend for her Vegan cupcakes? So I told him and then he says "She absolutely loved those cupcakes as it was the best vegan cake her or I have ever had and the wedding cake itself was outstanding in taste so could we maybe have a free 6" anniversary cake and a few of those vegan cupcakes?

I said ABSOLUTELY! The bride is Vegan so she couldn't actually eat her cake and had vegan cupcakes instead so that's what they want for their anniversary too. I was so pleased with the outcome but still feel like I should give them something more. Am I crazy? I just am of the mind that going above and beyond what they expect, never hurts. Maybe a larger dollar amount in the gift voucher than what they expect to receive. She is due to have a baby in 4 months so maybe they could use the extra for the shower and then maybe I can save face with those guests. What do you all think?
Also, I love you all so much and as soon as this happened I knew who I would turn to for advice...great advice and you ladies never let me down. If it weren't for all of you, my business would not be what it is today so thank you all. icon_smile.gif

erinalicia Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 8:16pm
post #16 of 19

Sounds like it worked out well. I'm glad to see that you didn't just jump in and offer a refund first. I think that getting the customer's input on how you can make it right is the best bet. When you offer a refund from the get-go, most people are going to jump on it.

Good for you! icon_smile.gif

melodyscakes Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 8:24pm
post #17 of 19

LUCKY! why can't all customers be like him????????



wow!

you go girl!


melody

sweettoothmom Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 8:38pm
post #18 of 19

Oh bless your heart! That is a real life nightmare.
It sounds like you went above and beyond to make the groom happy since this happened. I agree with the above and beyond thought you were having. I am the same way.
I always throw in a little something they would never expect. You mentioned they are expecting a baby soon. Surprise them with something specific to them. Did they have a theme at the wedding such a a certain flower or colors? Use that theme to spur your creativity if baked goods then perhaps something like a gift for thier home or newborn or maybe even a gift certificate to a great eatery for that first night out after the baby has been here awhile. The thought is what counts and I read you as a very thoughtful person. Whatever you come up with I am certain it will be more than they expected and they will be back for more!
PS I lean to one side all the time and hardly anybody notices icon_biggrin.gif

apclassicwed Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 10:28pm
post #19 of 19

Glad it all turned out so well for you & the bridal couple. A little something extra is a nice touch and may give you repeat customers for a long time! If they are having a baby shower soon, offer a nice discount on the shower cake or a gift card to either a restaurant or even the grocery store!

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