Starting To Rethink My Tastings After Yesterday

Business By robinscakes Updated 21 Oct 2008 , 8:24pm by MikeRowesHunny

robinscakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 11:50am
post #1 of 25

I never charge for my tastings and have had really good success. I've only ever had one tasting not result in a booking, so I've been happy so far.

Yesterday I had a meeting with someone who just wanted to order a sheetcake but wanted to taste my strawberry cake. I didn't have any made up, so I had to make a whole batch of strawberry cupcakes for her. She also wanted a sketch of the cake which was no big deal--whipped it up in under 5 minutes. She was supposed to meet me at 4:00 and she never showed up. I didn't have her number at the bakery (she was an email customer), so when I got back home I emailed her to say I was there and she wasn't, what happened? She emailed back right away and said...and this is the God's honest truth....she couldn't come because it was raining. Apparently she is made out of spun sugar and would have melted.

So, I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this. I made the appointment for after my bakery closes (we close at 2:00) and I had to go back specifically for her. So, I think for small cake orders I'll make them during business hours only. I don't mind coming in after hours for a bride who will drop a big bundle on a cake. This was a quarter sheet cake for $50. However, we're open 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and it's hard for people to get there if they have to work. I'm wondering if I should charge for the cupcake if it's for a small cake order. I made the strawberry cake batter for nothing (I made other cupcakes and put them out for sale in the store, but our strawberry cupcakes don't fly off the shelves like our white and chocolate do). But, if she didn't show up it's not like I would have gotten paid for the cupcake even if I charged for it. We also don't take credit cards (the boss's decision, not mine), so I can't take a credit card deposit from her.

Any suggestions??????

24 replies
-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 11:56am
post #2 of 25

When I go to the butcher and I want him to cook me a filet so I can see if I like his meat is the idea that comes to my mind here. Or go to my produce store and need them to make me a salad before I can buy their lettuce.

She's made of spun sugar and she doesn't know what strawberry cake tastes like?

I have no patience with any of it you know?

Mike1394 Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 11:59am
post #3 of 25

First off since strawberry CCs don't sell that well I would've just made a few, and turn the rest into something that did sell.

For a $50 cake they can buy the cupcake. Not going to invest time, and $$$ for approx 15-20 profit.

Mike

Kiddiekakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:19pm
post #4 of 25

I don't do cake tastings for that reason..If I was an upscale bakery in New York that charges $5000.00 for a cake then I would but for small time ..It is not worth it..When I tell them I don't do it...they either book or don't call back!!

robinscakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:24pm
post #5 of 25

Yea, I did make the smallest batch I could, but that makes a dozen. Maybe just say I'll do tastings for cakes over $100? Or for over 50 servings??? I don't know. Definitely during business hours only unless you're a bride.

This woman actually wants to come back and taste again. I wiped the frosting off her cupcake and froze it. If she comes back, she gets that cupcake. I also told her I could only meet her during business hours. We'll see if she shows up....or it might be too sunny that day and she won't be able to make it.

Mike1394 Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:29pm
post #6 of 25

Didn't Wizard of Oz teach you anything? Witches melt when wet. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

loriemoms Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:37pm
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinscakes

Yea, I did make the smallest batch I could, but that makes a dozen. Maybe just say I'll do tastings for cakes over $100? Or for over 50 servings??? I don't know. Definitely during business hours only unless you're a bride.

This woman actually wants to come back and taste again. I wiped the frosting off her cupcake and froze it. If she comes back, she gets that cupcake. I also told her I could only meet her during business hours. We'll see if she shows up....or it might be too sunny that day and she won't be able to make it.




I only do tastings for servings over 100. If I get someone who wants a tasting for anything smaller then that (even weddings) I tell them they can buy some cupcakes. People do not realize how much time and money goes into these tastings. I also would not offer any special flavors besides the usual unless they put down a deposit, that can be applied torwards their cake. I always have white, chocolate, yellow, red velvet and french vanilla in the freezer, ready for tastings. Thats it! I had a bride not show up becauese there was a slight chance it might snow,but that excuse is REALLY sorry! What is she going to do if rains on the day of her wedding?

luvscakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:40pm
post #8 of 25

I'm just an AHB however I only do tastings with brides.
If someone else wants to sample my cake- they have to buy them. I will do small 6" ones for this purpose, and have actually had a few people buy the sample and of course come back for a bigger cake.

The other idea- one that I am thinking about doing, is charging a fee- $25, $50, or $100 depending on the cake or event before I'll even meet with people. Once they decide to go with me this $ will go toward their order. That way, I'm not wasting my time and $$ for people who don't show or don't buy!

LizAnn Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:43pm
post #9 of 25

When I go to the supermarket I don't ask them to whip up a salad, an entree', vegetable, bread and dessert in order for me to shop there. This customer is one you can do without.

AllCakedOut Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:45pm
post #10 of 25

I make them buy a taster cake. $25 for a 6", fondanted. It gets fondanted with scraps of whatever I have on hand, marbled together (so it doesn't cost me anything for the fondant). The $25 goes against their contract if they order.

I only really do this for over 100 servings. Under that, you can buy the taster cake, but it's not going to be applied to your contract.

Right now, I have someone giving me a hard time over a 36 serving cake... but I have people who sign on for a couple hundred servings without a tasting at all. Sigh.

robinscakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:53pm
post #11 of 25

Yes Mike, I should have figured that out! It is close to Halloween and I'm sure she wouldn't want to melt before the 31st.

It seems like a lot of you do the tasting for large cakes only. I think that sounds like a good way to go. Like I said, this is the first time I've ever had a no-show and I've only ever had one person not book with me after a tasting. So, if I had to get burned, this was only a small sting.

luvscakes Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 12:57pm
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Didn't Wizard of Oz teach you anything? Witches melt when wet. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike





thumbs_up.gif Well said Mike!!

sweetcravings Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:07pm
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Didn't Wizard of Oz teach you anything? Witches melt when wet. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Eisskween Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:10pm
post #14 of 25

I am the same as "AllCakedOut." If someone wants to schedule a tasting, I tell them that I will arrange one, three different flavors with buttercream icing. If they book the cake, the tasting is free, if they don't it's $20.00 for time and materials.

I usually bake up a batch of tasters and freeze them, then ice them the day of the tasting.

Like Indydebi, I only do this for wedding cakes (100 or over servings).

You would go broke doing tastings for every little cake you do.

Best,
Karen

JP Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:16pm
post #15 of 25

I disagree with only doing tastings for large orders. That tells the customer that a small order is not as important as a larger one and good customer service dictates that we treat all customers with orders big AND small as vital to the business. Perhaps charging for smaller order tastings would be a better way to go. A no-show customer who does not have the common courtesy to call and cancel with you is beyond ride. I would not have scheduled another tasting with her, even during business hours.

indydebi Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:16pm
post #16 of 25

I just can't figure out where some people are coming from. It NEVER would have crossed my mind to ask for a sample of cake when ordering a sheet cake for $50!!

When there's a new pizza place in town, I can't walk in and get a slice for free BEFORE I decide to buy a pizza..... I buy a pizza and if I dont' like it, then I dont' buy from them again.

I've had people ask me that, too ..... they want a sheet cake and ask if they can have a sample. I tell them they can order a small cake or some cupcakes.

AllCakedOut Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:41pm
post #17 of 25

No, it's a matter of efficiency.

When a person is only ordering 36 servings, for instance.. They're still paying the same per-serving price as those ordering 100 servings... but taking up as much or more of my time. I'm not a retail bakery with a full storefront. I'm a custom baker, and my time IS valuable. If tastings are so important (who really needs a tasting for 36 servings?!?!), then the grocery store and the bigger storefronts are more than happy to take a piece out of their freezer.

You know, this person actually asked me - after i explained that I DON"T have anything just on hand, i don't freeze anything, etc - to whip up a batch of SMBC, just so she can have a try and make sure it's good enough for her order? For free, of course. This is after she told me that she's far too busy to attend the farmer's market, where I have a slab of taster cakes, and where she can purchase individual cupcakes to sample.

1 hour of my time when talking about a 200 person order? Not a big deal.

That same hour of time for a 36 person order? REALLY cuts into profit. It's a matter of scale, not about customer service.

AllCakedOut Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 1:43pm
post #18 of 25

Oh, and btw.. in my pre-cake making days, if I had to order a 1/4 sheet or round bday cake at the grocery store, it would seriously have never crossed my mind to ask for a sample... and they'd have been FAR more equipped to, than someone who only does custom.

Homemade-Goodies Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 2:15pm
post #19 of 25

Robinscakes, you are far too kind...no one else would have agreed to this. And then you get burned, what a thoughtless cow she must be!

I just had my first wedding tasting, and based on what I've learned here at CC, I charged her 25.00, which is applied to the order, if booked within next 3 months. I someone really wanted a tasting for a celebration cake, I'd do something similar, I think.

If she shows up for her frozen cuppie, I'd make sure she knew that you didn't normally do tastings for celebration cakes, and her behaviour made sure you won't again.

FromScratch Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 10:10pm
post #20 of 25

I'm with allcakedout too.. it's not about not thinking they are important.. it's more about not eating up my time (aka profit) for a small order. Honestly.. the only people who ask for tastings here are my brides. Most others just order.

summernoelle Posted 16 Oct 2008 , 10:37pm
post #21 of 25

Didn't read everything, but the SAME exact thing happened to me early this spring. I am in Texas, and any time it is under 50 degrees or so, we are all freezing. Anyway, one morning it was "freezing" and raining, and these two women didn't show up for their tasting. I also do not keep scraps around, so I went to a lot of trouble making them cakes to taste. I waited for about 30 minutes, and they didn't show. I called them, left a message, and about 30 minutes later they called back and said what your client did, the weather was too cold, and too rainy. Grrrr!
I politely said I was no longer interested in making their cake, and the woman got angry and told me my cakes were "s**t". I hung up on them.
Point being, people who care more about themselves than you are not worth the small amount they will pay you. Fire them as clients.
I've been stood up twice this year, and it sounds harsh, but I don't give second chances after that.

littlecake Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 2:35am
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiddiekakes

I don't do cake tastings for that reason..If I was an upscale bakery in New York that charges $5000.00 for a cake then I would but for small time ..It is not worth it..When I tell them I don't do it...they either book or don't call back!!




couldn't have said it better myself!

i don't do tastings at all......

some customers that you have to go thru all that to make an order are COSTING you money....we don't have to take everyone as customers...let the pitas go somewhere else.

gr8cakemaker Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 7:59pm
post #23 of 25

WOW! I am a new business and was wondering how cake tasting procedure goes...this is EXACTLY what I needed to know/read. I often times will go out of my way for customers and end up paying (literally) for it later. THANKS CC'ers, theres no sugar coating...and thats what I like!

KHalstead Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 8:11pm
post #24 of 25

I think after reading this I'm going to put something on my website about "We offer a complimentary cake tasting for orders over $200.00 at customers request (must give at least 2 weeks notice for tasting)"
Because in all honesty someone could say they want a wedding cake and then order cake for 20 and be like......well, it's a small family ceremony!! I"m not doing a tasting for 20 servings either!!!

MikeRowesHunny Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 8:24pm
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I think after reading this I'm going to put something on my website about "We offer a complimentary cake tasting for orders over $200.00 at customers request (must give at least 2 weeks notice for tasting)"
Because in all honesty someone could say they want a wedding cake and then order cake for 20 and be like......well, it's a small family ceremony!! I"m not doing a tasting for 20 servings either!!!




and that's when you need to instigate minimum order servings and pricings! I won't do a wedding cake for less than 150 euros or 32 servings (whichever is greater), and I charge for tastings. Not worth my time for any less!

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