Decorating For Sam's Club

Decorating By sugarcheryl Updated 13 Oct 2008 , 11:46am by sugarcheryl

sugarcheryl Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 9:40pm
post #1 of 26

I did not know that cake decorating for Sam's would be a challenge. It's a new store we will have our grand opening soon. But I have different people telling what and how I am to decorate cakes. Someone said there isn't much creativity they are right. It's like an assembly line get in get them out. I'm to slow right now and I told them when they hired me. I've done custom cakes not high volume. It's a different world and some said she likes perfection and I do but there is no room for that. I do not see me staying there for long but I wanted to work on speed and see how a commercial bakery operated. There are no high bakeries where I live. I am the only full time cake decorator right now. They thought I was going to quit today because the expression on my face today. I said I wasn't going to quit I just wish I had one person training me instead all these chiefs. I said I must talk to my friends on CC. I could not do this for 20 years that is working at places like this.

Okay guys thanks for letting me vent. I love this business just not the gettem in gettem out icon_sad.gif

25 replies
Donnagardner Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 9:49pm
post #2 of 26

Just make the best of it and learn what you can and RUN FAST when you leave.

terrig007 Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 9:49pm
post #3 of 26

Unfortunately, that seems to be the story. I talked to a lady at Harris Teeter this past weekend and she said they're on produciton too. Also, one of the ladies who taught the Wilton class worked at Publix and said the same thing. She always said that generally they only had one decorator at a time there and they were expected to do 8-10 cakes per hour and whatever walk-ups they got to. Good luck though, I'm sure you're learning a lot though about the way the grocery stores work.

sugarcheryl Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 10:05pm
post #4 of 26

Yes when I was told I had to do 8-10 cakes per hour I said you got to be kidding. But I guess it can be done. Well we will see if I don't get it they will let me know for sure.

all4cake Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 6:20am
post #5 of 26

sugarcheryl, right before I left Sam's, they had increased expected production to 10-12 cakes per hour. They must've reduced it ...I'd say due to a potential mutiny.

One day, after management had to view the video on decorated cake production, they were back at the bakery informing the cake decorators that they know it can be done so we needed to, basically, get into high gear. Later in the week, the ones who missed the original showing of the video had to watch it....that's when I got the low-down....An understanding manager let me know what was on that video....CRAPPY LOOKING CAKES! Sure, she got 'em done but they weren't completely covered...she had left gaps, aaaaaaaaand she had tossed confetti on them. Now, add in roses, kits, and the like and that reduces your time....rounds...they got 17 an hour....1/2 sheets was 10...and that was whipped...buttercream was fewer(takes time to refill them bags.

and on that video....they didn't account for stuff like that.

I do feel bad for you with the extra pressure from being a newly opened club. It does get better...

Pookie59 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 3:41pm
post #6 of 26

10 cakes per hour - 6 minutes per cake. In six minutes I'm not sure I could get the icing smoothed and a border piped.

sweetkisscakes Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:56pm
post #7 of 26

I feel your pain. I'm a cake decorator at wal-mart and they have actually told me that I'm TOO CREATIVE! I was told i have to do easier stuff for the case b/c if I'm not there the other bakers won't be able to do it. yeah my supervisors have been on my butt about making cakes faster too but I really hate to jeopardize quality like that I'm a bit of a perfectionist too.

sugarcheryl Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 11:54pm
post #8 of 26

Yeah so am I perfectionist but they told me to get over it. I don't know if I can just slap something together. We will see how it pans out. I'm really there to pick up a few things and then I will be on my way. My family doesn't understand they think it's great and oh yeah you can be come a supervisor they just don't have a clue. I have no desire to move up. I plan to further my own business.

all4cake Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 12:07am
post #9 of 26

I made it through by saying to myself, "Their money, their time, their cakes, their way." They really want to make it easier on and members alike by having only what is available in the book. The first time you get a member approach you with, "well, they do it for me at the club over at ...." or, "that's not how they do it at the". The cakes are inexpensive for a reason....limit the selection, perfect the technique and time needed to complete it. If they want customed cakes, they should seek out someone who can produce it. I'm sorry...I threw a partial customer vent in.

sweetkisscakes Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 1:56am
post #10 of 26

My mom was talking about how great it would be if i could move up in the company too. yeah they have no idea. its a cake job so its good. but walmart or sams club cakes are nothing like what i want to be making. But for now its money so I will play along and give them what they want fast and cheap, but not good.

BCJean Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 2:22am
post #11 of 26

sweetkisscakes......hang in there until you can get some real speed going...then you could get a job at any bakery. I have never worked for a Sam's Club and have never wanted to. I have worked in 2 different in-store bakeries though. Where I work, if you do 6 cakes an hour they are happy with you, and they love it when you do something different. They let you do drawings also and you can take 15 to 20 minutes for that and they charge the customer an extra $8.00. The last 4 photos in my photos are all 10 minute cakes as well as the lavender plaid one.

I have also worked in bakeries where they let me do as I pleased and you only needed to average 3 special order cakes an hour. The bakers always filled, iced and set up the wedding cakes and the decorators just decorated. Most wedding cakes took about 30 minutes.

When talking about these speeds, you have to realize, everything is at your finger tips; an endless supply of clean spatulas, a big tub of icing, all of your colors are mixed and the bags are filled.

It has been my experience that the pay in the in-store bakeries, and the benefits are much better than the private bakeries.

indydebi Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 3:44am
post #12 of 26
Originally Posted by BCJean

When talking about these speeds, you have to realize, everything is at your finger tips; an endless supply of clean spatulas, a big tub of icing, all of your colors are mixed and the bags are filled.

This is what I was curious about. I've never worked in such an environment, but does a "decorator" at one of these types of bakeries do more than "just decorate"? Do they level, fill, crumb coat, ice and border? Or are they handed an iced cake that needs "just decorated"?

This makes a difference on the time expectation ... not that 6 minutes to "just decorate" is reasonable in anybody's time warp!

Listening to one of the speakers at the Las VEgas Bakery convention, I also got the impression that in his high-volume bakery, his decorators just decorated ... they didnt' ice, smooth, etc., like we all have to do.

(The local walmarts around here will actually tell their customers "we can't do that special size/shape/border because our cakes are shipped in already baked, iced and bordered.")

BCJean Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 3:57am
post #13 of 26

I can't speak for other bakeries but the ones I have worked in, you have to split, fill and ice the cakes. The cakes come in to us frozen, 1/2 sheet in a box, wrapped in plastic. Four of these boxed sheet cakes are then boxed in another box. We split and fill with 3 big scoops of filling, zip the icing on with a quick icer, go quickly one swipe around the sides and using a really long spatula, do one swipe across the top. Yes, the decorating time means you fill, ice and decorate the cake.

I worked in one bakery where the bakers iced the wedding cakes. We had 5 decorators and did an average of 40 wedding cakes a week.

I have never worked anywhere that the cakes came in pre-iced or filled.

lasvegasmommma Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 4:49am
post #14 of 26

I apologize for totally being OT, but BCJean... how do you do yout top ruffle borders? They are really pretty!

BCJean Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 4:55am
post #15 of 26

I have the directions from when I posted the pic on different borders thread. I will pm them to you.

BCJean Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 4:57am
post #16 of 26

oops, guess I can't do that. Here it is, sorry for taking up so much space here.

To make the ruffle border:

I use a #104 tip. I start with the wide end of the tip touching the edge of the cake and the narrow end extended, to the left, outward from the cake. I do a jiggle motion and leaving the wide end touching the cake, bring the narrow end up while still making the border, then over to the right. I then bring it straight up again...over to the left......around the cake. The wide end of the tip is always left on the very edge of the cake, only the narrow end moves; left, up, right, up,...After I have that all the way around, I take the 2nd color and a #2 tip and make a tiny jiggily line, on the very edge of the ruffle, all around the cake.

Have fun with it. It is one of my favorite borders to make.


all4cake Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 6:11am
post #17 of 26

At Sam's, the only time we got pre-iced cakes was during graduation and it was only 1/2 sheets. The rounds had to be filled. There was no splitting and filling of any cakes...the filled ones came a poke cake is filled(that's what it looked like anyway).

The time was supposed to be from freezer to packaging...B/S!

I think that was an ill-informed manager's own idea...we weren't allowed to ice frozen cakes(we could fill the rounds) and thawing took 20-30 minutes.

The whipped colors came pre-bagged.

In the video, they set up everything before timing started then gave an approximate time for completing that one and figured using that time, how many should be finished in an hour....again...B/S. Everytime they ran their mouth about "the video", the case was suddenly filled with cakes adorned with confetti...just like in "the video".

sugarcheryl Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 10:10am
post #18 of 26

We do that at Sam's Club also like BCjean said We just do not bake. At our club we have only 3 cake decorators. 1 full time 2 part time.

Gama Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 11:18am
post #19 of 26

I worked at Carvel icecream bakery .When I first started I was slow, and had to learn to be fast, real fast. The cakes would start melting as I was trying to get them to look perfect. My manager said "Don't worry about them looking so good just ice the top comb the sides and get them back into the freeze... Theeeennnnn take them back out and put a boarder on the top throw some sprinkles on top, box them and put them out front with all the rest of the cloned cakes icon_sad.gif "
Well I worked there for 10 years and when I left I was able to do 12 - 18 small rounds in an hour that was with taking the cakes out of the molds making whip and dealing with customers icon_sad.gif
My point is just try and do it. I did not like that all the cakes looked alike and was pretty proud of how fast I got at it. And looked forward to making MY SPECIAL cakes at home. Hang in there and learn what you can from there and take the money you earn and buy stuff to make great cakes at home icon_biggrin.gif

all4cake Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 6:12pm
post #20 of 26

SugarCheryl, ya'll have to split and fill the cakes there???

sugarcheryl Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 8:40pm
post #21 of 26

all4cake No we don't have to split them we just take two rounds and fill them and then ice them. I really would be in trouble if I had to split them.

kandu001 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 9:47pm
post #22 of 26

I used to work at Publix decorating cakes and was told that I was too slow too, because I want everything to be perfect. Needless to say that since they don't allow creativity and they want you to crank out cakes...I no longer work there. It was a good company though.

LoriMc Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 10:52pm
post #23 of 26

This is all very depressing..... icon_eek.gif

Everything good in this world is turned into a money making event, and then the standards get lower and lower.

Personally I do not like the taste of Publix, Walmart or Kroger cakes.

indydebi Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 1:27am
post #24 of 26
Originally Posted by LoriMc

Everything good in this world is turned into a money making event, and then the standards get lower and lower.

Like sweetkisscakes said ... lowering the bar so everyone can pass it. But to be fair, I understand the manager's stance on it. They need consistent cakes going out their door, not a great one today and a crappy one tomorrow. It really makes me feel bad for the talented decorators working there who want to raise the bar .... kind of like having a doctorate in mathematics and having to work out of first grade math book! dunce.gif

Originally Posted by LoriMc

This is all very depressing..... icon_eek.gif

Don't look at it that way! This is good for us independent cake makers. Everything listed here is a selling point for our cakes.

BCJean Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 5:21am
post #25 of 26

[quote="indydebi"] .... kind of like having a doctorate in mathematics and having to work out of first grade math book! dunce.gif

...take it from one who knows, it is more like being a teacher of first grade math. All day ...and day after day and year after year you spend your time going over addition and subtraction of very simple numbers....then you go home and figure your own finances, make decisions about where your money will earn the most, figure what you can and cannot afford to purchase or what business deal you are ready to venture into. You have helped children all day on their journey to learning math but it sure doesn't mean that is all you know about it.

So, go in there and ice and border cakes all day, as fast as you can. Make your employers happy that you can do so many. Make your customers happy there is a cake available which they can afford on their struggling budget.....then go home and be as creative as you wish to be. Maybe at some point you can cater to only the rich who can afford your creations, then you can go out on your own, if that is what you really want to do.

sugarcheryl Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:46am
post #26 of 26

I agree with BC Jean and that's what I'm going to do. I can seperate the two worlds.

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