Caterer Wants Me To Do Cakes And She Sell Them - Need Advice

Business By sassycleo Updated 2 Oct 2008 , 11:36pm by TheCakeShak

sassycleo Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 10:22am
post #1 of 14

Ok so the story goes like this... Many many months ago I met with a caterer who wanted to meet me and see what I had to offer. She at the time made it sound as if she was going to throw all of this business my way. She supposedly wasn't happy with the cake person she had on staff.

So I went through all of the hoopla of making the cakes, doing fillings and icings. I traveled with all in tow to her business where we had our "tasting". Everything went perfectly and then I haven't heard from her. I found out she wasn't getting rid of the girl she had, and I BELIEVE this was more a check out what someone else is offering to better my own services kind of practice. I've heard through the wedding vendor grape vine that at that point in time she was doing several some what shady things with others. Again heard it through the grapevine so I consider it hearsay.

So months go by and not a call, not an email nothing. About a week or so ago I get a call from one of her staff wanting to know if I can do 60 petite fours and a bunch of cupcakes. My reply sorry I'm booked, but honestly I was. I was surprised by the call though to be honest.

Well I got a call again yesterday and in speaking with the woman (again member of her staff) I found out they no longer have anyone on staff to do cakes etc. The woman I met with is pregnant and due any day. Her employee told me they were going to be calling me often with work. She called yesterday to see if I could do a job where another company is doing the wedding cake. Now the bride wants a grooms cake. So they want me to make a grooms cake and they are going to be providing it, aka taking the credit for it. I'm not sure how much I like someone else taking credit for my work. My other concern is providing a cake when another decorator is providing the main bridal cake.

I'm not sure how to handle this... Part of me says screw it and do it. You'll get the business from them. The other part of me says no not to do it, they couldn't be bothered with me until now when they are in a crunch and because someone else is providing cake as well.

I'm coming up on a 1 yr of doing this legally as a business. While I'm not booking a wedding every weekend at this point, I've gotten 14 for this year and already several for next year. I'm hoping I'll do even better for next year as I eventually would like a shop where I can "go to work" and do what I love. I'm torn and could use some serious advice.

13 replies
yummymummy Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 10:29am
post #2 of 14

My first instinct would be to RUN!!! If this person is in the business of catering, she should know you just can't call a short time before the event to place an order and have it filled so quickly. I also don't like the idea of someone taking credit for your work...it could lead to bad things. It's early in the morning right now and I know I could add more to this, but my brain isn't working yet. icon_rolleyes.gif I'm sure others will put there .02 in for me. But in general, it doesn't feel like a good, honest, business deal.

yummymummy Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 10:31am
post #3 of 14

okay...I may have read part of the post wrong...again, it's early. Did she call a week in advance for the 60 petit fours? No...she caleed a week ago. See, I told you my brain's not working! ughh...I need some coffee!

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:05am
post #4 of 14

Sassycleo,
While I can see what you mean about it generating more business, it really doesn't seem right that they want to take credit for your work. In all honesty, I think that you would be better off saying thanks but no thanks. Since you've only been "doing" this for a year, you'll more than likely see an increase in your orders. It sounds like they thought of you only as an after thought. I don't like that.
You know what's best for you so we're with ya whatever you decide.

sarahpierce Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:28pm
post #5 of 14

Could you give this woman your business cards, and have her hand them to the catering clients that need cakes? That way she can't take credit for your work, and the client can talk directly with you instead of playing telephone. Also, it is one last thing the cater doesn't have to worry about. It's a win-win situation.

costumeczar Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 2:14pm
post #6 of 14

Oh hell no, don't do that. I just pm'ed you.

ccr03 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 2:29pm
post #7 of 14

So my sister has an party equipment rental company (tables, chairs, chafers, tents, etc...). Well, at one point this lady called my sister 'proposing' the same deal. She wanted my sister to rent her tables and chairs for cheap so she could turn around and offer them as an expanded part of her business. My sister QUICKLY said thanks, but no thanks.
This lady was not going to lose anything! She didn't have to buy and stock inventory, deliver anything - ALL she would be doing is making more $$$. It's the same thing here! Now, if another arrangement was made in the realm of you getting credit and her not marking it up as much, that would be a different story, but to be her own 'secret' bakery - I don't think it's right or honest.

chutzpah Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 7:20pm
post #8 of 14

Aw shucks, hunny, you'd best run.

sari66 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 8:36pm
post #9 of 14

Don't do it!

OhMyGanache Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 8:39pm
post #10 of 14

Don't do it. She'll either turn down the order or do a crappy job of it. Either way, you win.

Petit-four Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 9:03pm
post #11 of 14

Sassycleo--

If I read the scenario correctly, is seems like there are a few likely outcomes:

1) They love the cake (of course). They take credit. You'll get more orders, and money, but no direct name recognition when you open your own bakery. Possibly good, possibly bad.

2) They don't love the cake (not you, of course, but say they take down the Groom's favoriite team as X, and they tell you Y). Any problems: they 'release' your name, and you get negative publicity (again, not you're fault, but they make it seem that way). All bad.

3) Yukky bride's cake, from them and your delicious groom's cake. Guest complain. Guess who's name they "mention" again? All bad.

4) They are super honest, diliegent people, and then something they do is wrong (like tell you to make cake for 60 when the event has 120) -- and they take the blame. icon_smile.gif

How likely do you think #4 would be? And do you think you'd be happy with income generation (#1) but less name recognition?

Hope this helps! thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:23pm
post #12 of 14

I don't have a problem selling "wholesale" to other food businesses. I sell cookies to a restaurant for their lunch caterings they do on the weekend. I still get paid no matter who I'm selling it to.

however......

I would back away from this one just because of my perceived impression of their business practices. Yeah, you're "good enough" when they need someone in a pinch, then how soon will they throw you to the curb? Is it a last minute call? Poor planning on their part does not mean I have to jump thru hoops to pull their a$$ out of the fire. I dont' need last minute stress orders like that.

If they were professional in their dealings with me (and no yucky reputation stories following them everywhere), I'd consider it. But based on the info you've shared, I'd stay out of this one.

whimsette Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:27pm
post #13 of 14

I'd politely decline the offer and continue building your own business rather than supplementing someone else's.

In the wedding industry, it's best to deal with the client directly instead of being a sub-contractor. That way there's less chance of miscommunication between cake designer & couple.

Plus, I'm curious about legal/liability issues. There'd have to be some really clear contract wording about how to handle refunds, unhappy customers, disasters, etc. between you and the catering company so that you'd be protected in case something went wrong.

TheCakeShak Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:36pm
post #14 of 14

If it were me being posed something like that, I would not "walk away", I'd run the other way!
That would just "tick me off" that someone else would even have the nerve to take credit for my work, yet alone make me feel like my cakes are only for secondary additions, i.e, grooms cake or just extra cake. Like everyone else is asking, if they are getting the wedding cake from somewheres else, why can't they get the grooms cake from the same peoples?

You did right even though you heard stuff from the grapevine, like the ol' saying, something like, "if you have heard it through the vine, then it's probably true", and if your gut is telling you something is not right, go with your "gut" feeling.. Sounds like this caterer could bring you down..And IF they are "taking the credit" for others cake work, then it "will all come back and bite them in the hi-nee".

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