What Are These Brides Looking For?

Decorating By MPGA Updated 11 Jan 2009 , 10:17pm by Deb_

MPGA Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:27am
post #1 of 27

Hello,

I just received an email from a customer that left me with my mood on the floor. She contacted me because she wanted me to do her wedding cake, I sent her pictures, even helped her to look for her "special design", and when she seemed ready to place the order, she requested to do a tasting first.
I told her that the tasting would be $20 for three flavors, and that I was going to give her 3 5" cakes covered in fondant with the flavors/fillings of her choice (including liquor cakes).
She told me to start making the Rum sample and to send her my flavor list to choose the other two.
That was two days ago (the appt being this Sunday), today I received this email:

Hello *****,

Sorry but I spoke with my fiance in regards to what we discussed by phone yesterday. The list of flavors and fillings that you sent to me were impressive but we're not comfortable with paying $20 for a testing.

Thank you,

*****

(names substituted to maintain anonymity icon_rolleyes.gif )

This was my response to her:

*****,

Sorry that you think $20 is too much for a tasting, but regretfully the ingredients are not free, and making 3 5 cakes and cover them with Fondant making exact miniatures of wedding cakes for your consideration takes time and effort, not to mention ingredients again.
I really dont understand what you are aiming for since you cant even get 3 5 cakes for $20 at walmart, but its your decision and I respect it.
I dont even cover the actual costs of the cakes, even less the labor costs with those $20, they are just a small fee to see how serious the customers are regarding to order the cake.

In any case, thank you once again for considering me , good luck in your wedding.

Regards,

*****.

Seriously... what do they expect?, to make you help them all the way and to make you work for no money at all?. Or is it me the one that's wrong for charging them $20 for the tasting?.

icon_cry.gif

26 replies
jamhays Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:42am
post #2 of 27

I don't think $20 is enough for 3-5" cakes, but you can't charge what they're actually worth, for tastings.

I would tell them there's a $20 fee for the tasting & that it will be applied to their cake order when they decide to hire you. If they don't hire you, then you keep the $20. (Then make sure your wedding cake estimate is enough to cover the tasting cakes.)

cocobean Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:46am
post #3 of 27

Wanted to say that your reply to her was PERFECT!!! Congratulations! Hope you hadn't started the rum cake already! icon_mad.gif Guess she never got her brains back after going through her teen years!

costumeczar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:48am
post #4 of 27

I don't think that you're wrong in trying to charge for that amount of work, but you really don't have to go to all that trouble for a tasting. In my area practically nobody charges for tastings, so I don't charge either. However, I give them a small piece of cake, not a replica of that cake covered in fondant, either! That's a lot of work for you, and it's a lot more than a taste of the cake.

There have been a lot of threads on the business forum about how people do tastings, so maybe you could do a serach for those and see what other people do. I just think it sounds like you're making a lot of work for yourself.

If she knew that you were going to make all of those little cakes she was being unreasonable in not wanting to pay, but she might not have known, so maybe she just thought it was strange to pay for an appointment. I know that a lot of places do charge, so don't feel bad if that's how you want to do it. You'll definitely run into people not wanting to pay you, though, so be prepared.

sweetbn Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:50am
post #5 of 27

Maybe you could look at offering the tasting before you have invested your time in working on a design for the cake. When they come in for the tasting you could begin to get a feel for what they had in mind. If they book with you after the tasting then you could put more effort into developing the design with them, instead of feeling like your efforts were wasted.

Janelle

antonia74 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:50am
post #6 of 27

I'm really sorry this happened to you, but next time do let them know that the $20 fee is deducted when they place their order. That should sweeten the deal. icon_smile.gif

Also, invite them in earlier in the process. You've essentially sent her the photos, done some research for her, etc all for free. She can now take that to another baker. Not fair! icon_sad.gif Inviting her in for a tasting and a design meeting is the perfect time to whip out any photos you've searched for, but doing it earlier can sometimes bite you in the rear. icon_cry.gif

I also would have edited out the line about having to charge her $20 as a fee "to see how serious the customers are regarding to order the cake." Yikes! icon_eek.gif No, you don't have to justify the fee. Time + ingredients = money, leave it at that.

indydebi Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:50am
post #7 of 27

She spoke to her fiance and "we" are not comfortable....

Bull.

Y'all can hear that conversation same as me. GUY (who knows nothing about cakes, planning parties, large events or anything wedding) threw a fit about paying a fee "just to TASTE a cake!" She caves and tells you "WE" aren't comfortable.

When they have kids, I wanna see this guy go to Chuckee Cheese and ask for a free pizza sampling before he books little Henry's birthday party there. icon_confused.gif

MPGA Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:06am
post #8 of 27

Thanks for all the replies so far!. I just wanted to share a couple details that I didn't write in my first post:

She did know that the $20 fee was going to be deducted from the cake price if she hired me.

She requested the cakes to be covered in fondant "because she wanted to see how they looked like".

CakeMakar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:09am
post #9 of 27

Wow, 3 5" cakes covered in fondant? That's a lot of work & time. Have you considered a smaller sampling?

DsLady614 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:53am
post #10 of 27

I think, in the long run, you've had a narrow escape. I get a hint of Bridezilla there. Seriously, requesting samples covered in fondant?? There are 8 zillion pictures out there of fondant cakes, if you just want to see how something looks.

-Tubbs Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:22am
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPGA

She requested the cakes to be covered in fondant "because she wanted to see how they looked like".




"Here's a photo of what the cake would look like, here's a 2" square of cake and a small piece of fondant to taste." End of free tasting. If they want it for free, they get what you give them. If they want to specify, they pay.

all4cake Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:35am
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPGA

Thanks for all the replies so far!. I just wanted to share a couple details that I didn't write in my first post:

She did know that the $20 fee was going to be deducted from the cake price if she hired me.

She requested the cakes to be covered in fondant "because she wanted to see how they looked like".




she contacted you about doing her wedding cake...she obviously knew your decorating capabilities.

small samples so that she could affirm your baking ability and determine a balance between the flavors you offer and the flavors she may want.

If she likes things up to now, book a consultation to go over design and other details. confirm date by acceptance of deposit....all of which are discussed in advance with a letter/email stating, "these are the steps to follow when ordering your wedding cake with me".

If she wants to jump ship at any time, you won't be out all that effort...


NO PREVIEWS of "what it's gonna look like" I'd be like let me draw you a picture...here. Unless of course you just wanted to play.

paddlegirl14 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:36am
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonia74

I'm really sorry this happened to you, but next time do let them know that the $20 fee is deducted when they place their order. That should sweeten the deal. icon_smile.gif




This was my first thought. I have never heard of anyone charging for tastings or doing more than one or two bite samples.

Do be careful about your responses. She has the choice to not choose you. She is likely to tell everyone she knows. I know how it feels and how frustrating it is for those types of excuses, we just have to grin and bear them.

cakesdivine Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:49am
post #14 of 27

It always cracks me up that customers think they can tell you how they want their sampling and then expect it for free...LOL! Sorry, but you only get exactly what you want when you pay me exactly $xxx.xx for your order... icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 4:37am
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

It always cracks me up that customers think they can tell you how they want their sampling and then expect it for free...LOL!



Amen! I've shared this story before but had one bride come in for a catering, and she emailed me the list of 4 meats that she and her 3 guests wanted, PLUS a couple of different potatoes, and rice dishes. She was going to "let" me pick the 3 or 4 hot veggies for her to try and she also wanted to sample some of the fresh fruit. Not counting the 5 flavors of cake she wanted. By the time she was done with her list of demands, she was asking for me to fix about 32 servings of food for her. icon_eek.gif

Bite me. icon_razz.gif

Fresh fruit? She wanted to sample fresh fruit? Are you telling me this chic has never tasted a freakin' strawberry before?" icon_confused.gif

I emailed her back and explained that I was not a restaurant and didn't have all of this stuff cooked and waiting in the kitchen everyday, and "...I'm sure you can understand why I can't purchase a case of 48 pork chops so I can sample ONE of them out."

SHe didn't get her gourmet free meal ..... and she lost no time in informing me that she worked in a high school cafeteria, so she "...knows ALL about food and food pricing!" (yeah, at one point I told her she can't go by her pricing because I was told that (one supplier) undercuts their pricing to schools and hospitals so they have to gouge the rest of us to make up for it.)

It was a painful sampling .... I knew in the first 5 minutes that there was no way I was choosing to work with this chic..... and I think this was a quote that got lost in the cyber-black hole!! icon_rolleyes.gif

Denise Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 5:00am
post #16 of 27

I do not charge for tastings but I also only offer one flavor at a tasting too! Generally French Vanilla or Butterpecan.

Once I did have a bride want to taste 3 flavors and she gladly ponied up $20 and no I didn't apply it to her bottom line.

I did have a bride ask me awhile ago how many flavors at a tasting and I said "one". I never have a problem with it.

I did have one bride ask why a local bakery charged (bakery owners are friends of mine) and when I told them that they had to pay an employee specifically to come in on Mondays for consults they seemed to understand a little better - nothing is free.

costumeczar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:12pm
post #17 of 27

If she did know all that in advance, then I agree that you should be thankful she bailed on you! I'd charge them $20 EACH for little cakes like that, especially if she was placing an order, which essentially was what she was doing.

I'd advise you to take that approach in the future, actually...If someone starts telling you what they want for a tasting, flavor and design-wise, then you should charge them for it like they were buying a birthday cake, totally separately from the wedding cake. Tastings should be at your convenience in terms of what you're serving. Special requests from the bride constitute an order for a cake, and you should charge accordingly!

Maybe you could cover a dummy in fondant and keep it around for moments like that when someone wants to see how it looks!

cocorum21 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 5:05pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonia74


Also, invite them in earlier in the process. You've essentially sent her the photos, done some research for her, etc all for free. She can now take that to another baker. Not fair! icon_sad.gif




I've had this happen to me a few times before I caught on and got tired of it. The last time it wasn't for wedding cakes but I was looking up ideas and more ideas and more ideas just for them to tell me it was out of their price range when they knew full well that I have a minimum $ amount. Then she had the nerve to ask me if I had any pictures of a different kind of cake for some other event icon_confused.giftapedshut.gif I thought yeah right if you can't afford this one you can't afford another one and I'm not going to spend 30-45 minutes looking for ideas for you again.

I stopped doing that and now, I still hunt down pictures but I TELL/EXPLAIN to them my idea instead of emailing them pictures. If they want picutes let them go hunting.

CharmingConfections Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 5:26pm
post #19 of 27

I had a bride request a tasting, I told her $5 per flavor, I would make a small cake in each flavor just as you... I never heard back from her. $5! Give me a break! people are just ridiculous.

I did however get my tastings all for free when I ordered my wedding cake... so I guess why pay when you can get it for free.

Their loss. That bakery makes up for it with their cake prices.

indydebi Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 7:21pm
post #20 of 27

I guess I don't understand how you get into design and flavors and such before the sampling appt? icon_confused.gif

They call me and tell me they are interested in a cake. I ask them if they need a day or early-evening appt as I'm opening my calendar. We make an appt and I tell them I will send an email to confirm the appt. In the email, I tell them if they have any photos of cakes they've seen that they like, to bring them to the appt. If they try to get into design and such over the phone, I might have "some" conversation but tell them, "that's some of the detail we'll discuss at your appt."

It is at the appt that we discuss headcount, pricing, design and flavors. After the appt, I email them the quote and I'm done until they book. No multiple appts ... no research before the fact .... no time investment on my end until they actually show up.

summernoelle Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 5:33pm
post #21 of 27

i am on the fence with this-mostly because I have been on two sides of it!

When I was booking my wedding cake, I didn't have to pay for tastings. But I only got little bites, too.

But as a vendor, it is so expensive! And half the time they don't show up! Gah!

I don't know what to do about these situations....

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 5:59pm
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

But as a vendor, it is so expensive! And half the time they don't show up! Gah!




YOu might re-evaluate how you do the samplings to reduce your costs.

I bake an 8" square single layer cake and cut it into 9 squares. Cost = about 25 cents per square.

I offer 3 squares per tasting (3 different flavors): Cost = 75 cents.

I offer a tsp each of 6 to 8 fillings/icings. Using the info from Country Kitchen's site, a sleeve of filling is 3 cups (48 tsp) and costs $4.50 a sleeve = less than 10 cents a tsp. Cost = let's just round to about a dollar.

Throw in 2 plastic plates, 2 plastic forks and it costs me, in materials, about two bucks to do a cake sampling.

This does not factor my baking time (and I only bake once for 9 appointments) nor my consultation time (my appointments last from 1 to 2 hours, depending on what they're ordering and how many questions they have).

Even if I'm doing a food-sampling, it costs me less than $10 to prepare sample dishes for 4. Am I willing to spend $2 for a potential $600 booking or $10 for a potential $4000 booking? You betcha!!! icon_wink.gif

If a baker is making full size cakes and totally decorating them for a sampling, then yes, THAT can get expensive. And I used to do that ... until I wised up! I have pictures to show them my decorating skill. The icing tastes the same whether it's a scoop on a tray or a rose on a cake.

Here's a thread with my email that I send to brides to confirm their appt .... I think it's a big impact on why I rarely have no shows: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-609838-serious.html

psurrette Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 6:13pm
post #23 of 27

I was watching some new home show last night. they just happen to be getting married and they showed a small clip of them at the bakery
The women ( dont know who it was) handed them a plate with the smallest piece of cake maybe the size of a sugar cube with a tiny amount of filling on the top Not even any icing............ It blew my mind because I know people that give a 8" cake for tastings. I like to do cupcakes when I Have to do them but I hate tastings period!
Now I have to go get ready for one these people wanted orange cake and carrot cake YUCK not even good to eat after they leave.
Good Luck!

cakesdivine Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 6:28pm
post #24 of 27

I charge $30 for a sampling, I bake a 6" round and cut it into 8 pieces. I allow 4 total flavors, 2 of which must me my Fr. Vanilla and Dark Choc. Each 6" round is cut in half then in 4 pieces then the other half wrapped, bagged and put in the freezer. I have these little chocolate cups in different shapes and I pipe about a 2 tbls. of Van. BC, Cream cheese BC, and Choc. BC.

If they order, the $30 is credited to the cake order (thus it being a free sampling). If they don't order (generally due to them being elcheapo people) then I am not out my time and ingredients on a free sampling.

The only samplings that I do totally free is for an event venue that I do all their cakes. I know I will get the order so there is no sense in me charging them as it would be credited anyway.

psurrette Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 7:36pm
post #25 of 27

Did I mention in my last post that I HATE tastings?!!!
I made 2- 8" cakes carrot with cream cheese and orange with grand mariner icing my appointment was at 2:00 she called at 1:50 to say they would be 15 minutes late and at 2:30 she called to cancel...... said her fiance wasn't feeling well. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY! Not to mention i dont even like carrot or orange cake! ( that's what they wanted to try)
icon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gif

summernoelle Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 7:48pm
post #26 of 27

psurette-that happens to me a lot, too. Drives me nuts.

Deb_ Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 10:17pm
post #27 of 27

Live and learn from these inconsiderate people. Why would you go out of your way to make 2 specialty cakes for a tasting? Did you charge them for it, I hope?

I pretty much do what indydebi does, I offer 3 basics that I have on hand in the freezer.....if they would like to try an exotic combination, I charge $20 to make the requested flavor combinations, which will get deducted from the final price if they order.

I'm not going to waste my time and money on somebody that hasn't even committed with a deposit yet. My basic tasting is free.....special requests are not, very simple. These couples will take advantage of you if you let them.

Can you freeze these cakes for a later date.....cut them in pieces and wrap individually to offer at a later tasting. 8" cakes are huge.....you could get at least 10 good sized tastings out of each one. I'd freeze them.

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