loriemoms Posted 17 Sep 2008 , 3:51pm
post #1 of

When I first started, I use to put out just yellow, chocolate and white cupcakes. Then I started playing with filings and started making little cakes with different fillings. TOO time consuming. Then I started making all kinds of just cake, no filling, nothing, of about a dozen flavors and about 10 fillings. I noticed most people are competly overwhelmed or they eat everything and leave here sick. So I want to cut back my flavors...I was thinking of just yellow, white, chocolate and french vanilla and just van mousse and chocolate mousse and tell them they can request other flavors at their design consult? Or do you ask them to request flavors they want to try? What do you do to prevent overwhelming?

32 replies
CakesByJen2 Posted 17 Sep 2008 , 4:42pm
post #2 of

I used to just give them the basic chocolate and white, unless they specifically requested something. I would make 5" rounds, cut them in half, and put them together 1/2 and 1/2 and box it up for them to take home. Back then I did bridal shows and almost everyone had tasted at the show, so I had few requests for tastings.

Now almost everyone expects a tasting and I've started keeping small loaf cakes in the freezer in almost every flavor, then I just cut off a slice, pipe some icing on, and let it thaw. I generally limit it to 4 flavors, of their chosing, unless they really can't narrow it down. If they ask for specific icings/fillings, I'll have those, but they usually don't and I just provide a few, not many, that I think compliment the cake flavors they've chosen. I don't mind doing more, but what I found when I did was that they were completely overwhelmed and it seemed to be more stressful for THEM if they had too many flavors, especially fillings. Most people want white, chocolate, and one or two other flavors. I usually give them vanilla, choc., and strawberry BC, raspberry curd, and either white chocolate or cream cheese mousse, sometimes choc. ganach. These are my most popular icings and fillings, and compliment most flavors, and represent the main types of fillings: flavored buttercreams, fruit purees/curds, mousses, and ganach. I tell them each type of filling can come in a variety of fruit, nut, or chocolate flavors.

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 1:30am
post #3 of

white, choc, and one other flavor. then little samples of white BC, choc fudge icing, cream cheese icing and some other flavors/fillings for them to mix-n-match. Here's a pic of my gen'l set up. It shows 5 cakes, but I pretty much just set out 3 now.

I tell them "My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake except it will taste like lemon. These are not the only flavors/fillings I offer, but it gives you a good idea of my baking and of how you can mix-n-match flavors."

Since this pic was taken, I chnaged how I bake the cakes. I bake a 10" square of each flavor, then cut it in 9 squares .... slightly bigger than 3x3". Perfect size for 2-4 people to sample. Then I just pull one of each flavor out of the freezer for the samplings. I only have to bake once for every 9 samplings.
LL

snarkybaker Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 1:42am
post #4 of

I do tastings three ways-

Every six weeks we have a cake tasting on SUnday Afternoons. We make eight different filled six inch cakes that prospective brides, moms etc, can taste.

Someone can schedule a consultation, where I give them some brochures, talk to them about design, schedules and pricing and hand them a couple of cupcakes. They can taste whatever is in the case, ususally they just try chocolate and vanilla.

If someone wants to book a private tasting, it's $35, and they can choose up to three cake/filling/icing combinations. They can eat them here, or take them home to share with friends or family.

We convert about 85% of people who attend our general tastings ( they are pre-qualified leads from local hotels) and over 95% of those who get the three samples.

loriemoms Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 10:26am
post #5 of

Deb: Your little sample photo is wonderful! Mine isn't much different, except I found these little flags I can write on at Bakery Crafts, and I label them that way. I just wanted them to try everything and you could tell the were overeating when they were here! haha! I also am baking little 8 inch square cakes and cutting them into squares...but doing this for like a dozen flavors! Thats just too much, for me and the brides! With wedding show season coming up (Have one next month and then in January) I wanted to revamp my tastings.

I really don't beleive in "mass" tastings. I find brides love the individual attention and we have a really good time just sitting down and talking about their wedding and cake. I was booking almost every bride that walked in here, but I raised my prices and now I am booking about 85 percent, which still aint too shabby! (will see how I do after the January show...I booked almost my whole season from that one show last year! It was wild! We had people coming back for seconds! hahaha!)

marmalade1687 Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 11:53am
post #6 of

I do pretty much what Indydebi does - I hold monthly consultations, and I serve a choice of 3 cakes and 3 fillings (all separate so that the couple can mix and match). I bake a loaf and just cut a slice off for each cake sample - then cut that into individual bite-size squares. Works very well. At this time of year though, I am having to hold bi-monthly consultations...too many requests and not enough space! icon_biggrin.gif

FromScratch Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 5:57am
post #7 of

I hold private tastings and I don't offer options when they come in. That being said, my tasting plate is pretty thorough. I present a plate with 5 different cakes and 12 different fillings (most of which are flavored SMBC). I bake off cakes and cut them into small pieces and freeze that in a vacuum bag and I keep fruit purees and lemon curd and such frozen into cubes on hand so I can make up small amounts of fillings when I need them. I also have a map of what is on the plate so they don't get lost.. LOL. I know it sounds like a lot, but it's the equivalent of a party sized serving of cake and just 1 TBSP of each filling.

I charge $30 for a tasting and if they book I'll take that off of their bill. People have been loving this set up so I am sticking with it. I used to make a 6" cake and 6 cupcakes.. it's WAY too much cake for a tasting.. so I like this a lot more.

This is what it looks like:
LL
LL

kellertur Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 7:01pm
post #8 of

This is a very helpful post. icon_smile.gif

Indydebi ~ thanks for simplifying this with a photo... the tasting process has always overwhelmed me.

cakelady45 Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 7:17pm
post #9 of

Hi there,

When I schedule a consultation and they ask for tastings, I let them know that they may choose 2 flavors and filling options for free with the consultation. If they want 3 to 4 flavors I charge $15 and for 5 to 6 flavors/fillings, I charge $20. I know this may sound low as compared to all of the rest, but it's good for the area in which I live. I usually do cupcakes with the fillings/frostings that are ususally cut in half for the people they bring with them. I don't provide extras for them to take home.

Thank you!

poshcakedesigns Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 1:15am

I keep things simple - I only offer basic flavors for my cakes and fillings. Maybe one day I'll venture out and make different cakes but for now keeping things simple works best for me and helps me to keep my cost in line.

For my testings I charge $25 - they can pick 2 flavors. If they book with me then I deduct the testing fee. I'm not large enough to offer free testings at this point.

I make cupcakes - I provide 4 of each flavor or 8 of one if they only select one flavor to sample. And I only do testings 3 times per month.

OhMyGanache Posted 23 Sep 2008 , 5:11am

Depends on the tasting.

I do group tastings once a month and only offer basic flavors and it's a free event. If they want to try any specialty flavors, they must book a private tasting, and the fee is $50 and they can choose up to 6 flavor combinations. (Which could be 6 flavors cake, 6 flavors filling and different icings)

If you watch Duff, he offers 6 options as well. The variety helps justify my high private tasting fee.

kjt Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 10:33pm

I need some help with wording an email please.

I dropped off cuppies for a tasting, got an email response that they were "so delicious" (yay!), and wanting to know when she and her fiance could schedule a formal tasting, "we see some flavors on your website that look so good, and we'd like to try them".

How can I say I don't bake samples of specific flavors without sounding snooty? I WANT to say, as Debi so eloquently puts it, "my lemon cake tastes just as good as my chocolate, only it's lemon flavor"!

Thanks, y'all icon_smile.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 10:48pm

I've been doing tastings for years, but who knew there were so many different ways of conducting them?! icon_biggrin.gif

CakeForte Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 10:50pm

I do what snarky does. I have also added open houses at venues into the mix. They want to try cake, they can go to the open house. I have just implement the tasting fee (like yesterday) so I don't know how that will work for me yet.

@kjt

"Thank you so much for the compliment! The next steps are to get the details for your wedding so I can reserve your date on my calendar. The deposit is 50% and this secures my services and I turn down other requests for that date.

After that point we can schedule a meeting and you can select 3 more flavors to try. If you are not ready to sign a contract, additional samples are $xx."

Don't give them any more free cake until they commit to a contract!

Mensch Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 4:53am

Well, hold onto your hats, everyone, 'cause I am about to post a picture on CC!

This is what my sample tray looks like. I never bake especially for a consultation, except when I need a specific flavor anyway. I actually make up about seven or eight trays all at once and cover them with plastic wrap and freeze them like they are. It saves lots of time rather than take out all the Tupperware containers with fillings and slices every time I have a consultation scheduled.

They don't get a choice of what to sample.
LL

kjt Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 11:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

Well, hold onto your hats, everyone, 'cause I am about to post a picture on CC!


They don't get a choice of what to sample.




Well, look at that, and it came thru bright and clear icon_wink.gif !

At my initial tasting I provide three cake/filling flavors, and my normal (vanilla creme bouquet) icing. If the customer wants to choose three additional flavors to sample, I'm going to charge, but then apply the charge to the cost if they book.

Thanks cakeforte for the transitional wording, that's exactly what I needed.

Kathy

Classycakes Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 12:46pm

I don't do formal tastings any more - it became just too much for me to handle! I simply explain that unlike a bakery, I don't have a daily supply of fresh baked goods. As a one-woman show, I simply do not have the time requirements to specially bake products for each consultation, in addition to my weekly orders. What I can offer them is a sampler package of the flavours I am baking to fill that week's orders. I prepare a plastic container with cake pieces and fillings that I am preparing that week and they can pick it up on the Saturday or Sunday following my weekend deliveries. I write on the lid what the flavours and fillings are.

If they want a particular flavour, then I will look through my upcoming orders and tell them which week I will have that flavour. They have the option of waiting for their sampler package or taking the current week.

I don't bake separate cakes for these samplers - when I level my cakes and remove the top (which is the best part in my opinion icon_biggrin.gif ), I cut the top into squares and put them in baking cups.

They just come and pick up their package and leave so that means any one of my family can answer the door and give them their cake box. Their consultation is done separately before the sampler package.

Most of them book right at the consultation and are very understanding and I haven't had any negative feedback. And I'm very lucky that only maybe 5% of my clients ask for samples so it is very easy to manage this way.

I bake for 4-6 wedding cakes per week so usually there is enough variety for me to choose from.

thecookieladycc Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 2:40pm

I do 3 different flavors of cake, usually something heavy like rich chocolate, something light like white chocolate or yellow, then something different like lemon or red velvet, then use 4 different fillings that could go with all of them. Even though its just a tasting I make it a visually presentable as possible because people do a lot of their eating with their eyes. I use clean cut even portions cake, nice round equal dollops of filling on a pretty plate.

CakeForte Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 3:50pm

One client just told me she didn't hire me because I didn't let her choose the samples....I had 4 cakes w/ 4 fillings....and 5 appointments that day. She was "confused as to what she was getting with her order".

I told her this is no way I'm baking 20 combos of cake for free, and that the samples are to give her an idea if she likes the taste, as I really only use two recipes to come up with everything. I mean she was very nice about it and said she's used me for birthdays and such (which who really knows)....I just thought that was an odd excuse.

thecookieladycc Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 5:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

One client just told me she didn't hire me because I didn't let her choose the samples....I had 4 cakes w/ 4 fillings....and 5 appointments that day. She was "confused as to what she was getting with her order".

I told her this is no way I'm baking 20 combos of cake for free, and that the samples are to give her an idea if she likes the taste, as I really only use two recipes to come up with everything. I mean she was very nice about it and said she's used me for birthdays and such (which who really knows)....I just thought that was an odd excuse.



that is weird???

leah_s Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 6:21pm

How many samples they get at a tasting depends on how many guests they expect at the reception (and ultimately how much cake I am likely to sell.) I get the # guests during the initial phone inquiry.

<50 guests = 1 sample of cake.
>50 - <75 = 2 flavors of cake
>75 = three flavors of cake.

I make a one layer, torted 4" round. I cut a 10" cake board either in half for a 2-flavor tasting, or into thirds for a 3_flavor tasting.

Cakes and iced and filled with vanilla bc.

I usually have basic fillings on hand - Bavarian creme, strawberry creme, raspberry creme and lemon creme. If they want to try any or all of those, I give each person a spoonful.

I can reassemble the cake board and it all fits into a 10" pie box and they can take their leftovers home.

Although I offer 30 flavors of cake, on my Tasting Menu I offer 9 only. If they want a different flavor, they have to purchase a 6" round for $36. All the varieties on the tasting menu are variations from white cake and chocolate cake.

kjt Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 6:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

How many samples they get at a tasting depends on how many guests they expect at the reception (and ultimately how much cake I am likely to sell.) I get the # guests during the initial phone inquiry.

<50 guests = 1 sample of cake.
>50 - <75 = 2 flavors of cake
>75 = three flavors of cake.


Although I offer 30 flavors of cake, on my Tasting Menu I offer 9 only. If they want a different flavor, they have to purchase a 6" round for $36. All the varieties on the tasting menu are variations from white cake and chocolate cake.




Thanks leah, this is really useful info for me, do you charge for an initial tasting?

leah_s Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 6:49pm

I don't charge for the tasting.

muddpuppy Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 7:05pm

I don't charge for tastings, and because I do in-clients-home consults, I bring 3 flavors of cake and 6 fillings in those clear plastic mini cupcake clam shell containers. They're single use, look cute if you use a coloured cupcake liner under the fillings and cakes and my clients often comment on the cuteness of these "cake kits". It works well for me. I bring one for each person in attendance wrapped with a ribbon and with my biz card stuck on top. icon_smile.gif

Mensch Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 7:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by muddpuppy

I bring one for each person in attendance wrapped with a ribbon and with my biz card stuck on top. icon_smile.gif




Even if there are 6-7 peeps?

love2makecakes Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 7:16pm

For those of you who freeze your samples, how long do these samples usually freeze for?

Also Mensch - don't you need to reconstitute the smbc before serving? Just wondering...

muddpuppy Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 7:36pm

"Even if there are 6-7 peeps?"

Yup... icon_smile.gif

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 7:51pm

I don't do tastings either... have never had to ( a lot of my biz is word of mouth, and usually the word is they taste great). But if I had a request for one, I would probably let them choose 3 flavors they were intersted in and pull out some of the 1" squares from the freezer : )

Tellis12 Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 8:14pm

I bring chocolate and white cake, along with trad. bc and then two filling flavors of their choice.

Debi, where did you get those little square containers for your filling?

indydebi Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 8:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellis12

Debi, where did you get those little square containers for your filling?


GFS. Product #6889801 for the white ones. Product #6889601 for the black ones. They come 50 to a package for about $8 (last price update I show on my spreadsheet). I also use these for dessert tables, to serve 2" squares of cheesecake, choc covered strawberries, etc.

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