Getting Really Irritated. Vent.

Business By karateka Updated 26 Jan 2009 , 3:19pm by iamlis

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 9:44pm
post #1 of 38

I tried something new with tastings today. I decided on a once a month all day tasting. Make an appointment, you taste 3 flavors of my choosing and fillings if you want. (you choose those, just let me know ahead what ones....)

I actually filled my schedule today. 6 tastings between 2 and 8pm. One called a few hours ahead and said she had the flu and could she come next month? (Not sure I believe her....she sounded fine and perky)

First one showed up and was here 17 minutes. Called from the car to ask if this was a business or home address. Seriously....it says all over my website that I'm a home baker.

second one is the call off.

Next one is 44 minutes late.

Any money on whether the rest show up? Honestly, this is a whole day blown on this. I'm wondering how badly I want to be in this ridiculous business, where I throw away product on people who say they want it then just blow me off. Half the time they don't book me anyway, because I charge the "same as every one else" and "a home baker should be cheaper".

Can I re-freeze all this cake I made for these ungrateful, rude people? And what do I say to my family, who mopped floors, polished cherry wood furniture, cleaned windows, and shoveled snow for me? Sorry about your wasted effort on your Sunday off? icon_mad.gif

Maybe this vent will make me feel better.....thanks for listening.

37 replies
grama_j Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 9:54pm
post #2 of 38

Dealing with the public can be a thankless job to say the least...
((( HUGS))) and let's hope next month is better...... If not, I wouldn't do it any more...

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:00pm
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by grama_j

Dealing with the public can be a thankless job to say the least...
((( HUGS))) and let's hope next month is better...... If not, I wouldn't do it any more...




I want to agree with you.....but how to do tastings if not this way? The old was just wasn't working. Too much left over cake, nobody wanted to pay for tastings when "everyone else is free tastings". icon_mad.gificon_mad.gif

I'm seriously considering quitting and just decorating for contests. But how to pay for travel? Double edged sword, there.

Oh, and I should mention that I emailed each client early Saturday morning and reminded each of their appointment and requested a call if they couldn't make it.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:01pm
post #4 of 38

Awwww.

I had my first "no show family emergency" this weekend for a tasting.

I told the lady I hoped all was okay and that it was no problem but that I would need the $25 put down online as a deposit for the rescheduled tasting, since I will have to redo the tasting cakes for her.

Haven't heard back yet....

j-pal Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:02pm
post #5 of 38

I'm so sorry this happened! I've never tried the all day tasting concept, but that experience would be a good reason for "why not" to. I think that's why some decorators are charging consultation fees.

One thing I've done with my appointments that helps (doesn't work all the time) is to just tell them right at the time of the appointment, "Listen, I know that you understand that I'm setting aside this time especially for you, so if you can't make it, please give me as much notice as possible." And I always called them the day of the appointment to confirm.

I had a friend who used to ask her customers for their address upfront. She'd tell them the appointment was free, but "no-shows" would be billed!! It was said in a "joking" manner, but it got the point across.

Good luck in the future!

Lorendabug Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:03pm
post #6 of 38

Sorry, people can be so self involved sometimes that they don't think about how others go out of the way to do things for them. At least your house is clean and the snow is shoveled and you got help doing it.

I don't have a cake business I just do it for fun but people are even like this for job interviews. I call people in for interviews and such at my work. I tell them we are only interviewing on this day from this time to this time and they say "Oh, can't we do it another day I have plans." I have to then explain it is the only time that the management team is all here to do the interviews. Now I understand when someone says they have a doctors appt but geez we do our interviews all day 9am to about 7pm. I just love the ones that just don't show and then call to reschedule.

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:11pm
post #7 of 38

My next appointment is now 11 minutes late.

Carolynlovescake Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:16pm
post #8 of 38

Working from home is the nature of this beast.

No matter how seriously you take yourself, and no matter how legal you are, no matter how you market it people see you as a home baker who has the time to waste.

They also assume you don't have overhead like a bakery and expect you to be cheaper.

It kills me at the ignorance some people choose to have. This is a HUGE part of why I stopped doing weddings. Between people thinking I was ripping them off by price because I worked out of my home, others thinking they could bring their dogs to run around out back in a no pet home, brides just being a standard bridezilla... when the time came for us to need additional home security I gladly threw down my spatulas and went for a dog.

I'm now in the process of getting my garage remodeled so I can relicense from home, keep the dog and when I'm ready to open my doors again I will refuse to go into the wedding industry. After 20 years I've had my fill. I want to go back to simple sheet cakes, cupcakes, candy, and cookies for regular every day birthday and office parties.

OhMyGanache Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:17pm
post #9 of 38

I do a 2 hour "tasting event" once a month... and people must RSVP. But then I don't have to sit around waiting for anyone, and they can come at any point during that two hour time frame. The flavors are limited, and it's more of a "cocktail party" atmosphere. I have a table set up, and some drinks (I have waters out, coffee, tea, and some dessert wine) and it goes over very well. And it only takes 3 hours out of my day (2 hours for the event, and an hour for set-up and clean up).

Hope it gets better for you. icon_smile.gif

Momof3boys Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:18pm
post #10 of 38

I'm sorry to hear that but wanted to say your cakes are INCREDIBLE! Wow. I can't imagine not showing up to taste one of your cakes!!!

Hopefully your next client has arrived already

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:19pm
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoleKitten

I do a 2 hour "tasting event" once a month... and people must RSVP. But then I don't have to sit around waiting for anyone, and they can come at any point during that two hour time frame. The flavors are limited, and it's more of a "cocktail party" atmosphere. I have a table set up, and some drinks (I have waters out, coffee, tea, and some dessert wine) and it goes over very well. And it only takes 3 hours out of my day (2 hours for the event, and an hour for set-up and clean up).

Hope it gets better for you. icon_smile.gif




Can I pm you for more details?? I might need to try this.

Current appointment now 19 minutes late.

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:21pm
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momof3boys

I'm sorry to hear that but wanted to say your cakes are INCREDIBLE! Wow. I can't imagine not showing up to taste one of your cakes!!!

Hopefully your next client has arrived already




Thanks for saying that. I needed a smile. icon_smile.gif

And....she's 20 minutes late.

indydebi Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:23pm
post #13 of 38

Did any of the couples know this was an all day event type of thing? The reason I ask is, even tho' you called each one to remind them of their appointment ... of the time set aside just for them ... if they thought it was an "open house" thing (because people think stupid, that's why), they may have thought it was just a casual thing .... they may have thought people would be in and out all day "....so she won't miss us if we're not there".

If they were not aware it was an all day thing for you, then I can only offer my stand-by guess: People are rude, crude and stupid. dunce.gif

OhMyGanache Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:27pm
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoleKitten

I do a 2 hour "tasting event" once a month... and people must RSVP. But then I don't have to sit around waiting for anyone, and they can come at any point during that two hour time frame. The flavors are limited, and it's more of a "cocktail party" atmosphere. I have a table set up, and some drinks (I have waters out, coffee, tea, and some dessert wine) and it goes over very well. And it only takes 3 hours out of my day (2 hours for the event, and an hour for set-up and clean up).

Hope it gets better for you. icon_smile.gif



Can I pm you for more details?? I might need to try this.

Current appointment now 19 minutes late.




Absolutely. Happy to help in any way. icon_smile.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:28pm
post #15 of 38

I am also a home licensed baker. I have my first 2 tastings this weekend. But am not doing them in my home but at a coffee shop. I did email them last week and will do it again a couple days before so there is no confusion as to the time/meeting place. That really sucks and I feel bad for you! I look at it this way.. we home bakers work hard and have talent just like any other place. If they don't like our competitive pricing well then they can go elsewhere! thumbs_up.gif

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:29pm
post #16 of 38

Oh, no. Each person was booked as a separate appointment. One even asked if it was a private appointment and I said yes, that hour is all yours and only yours. I emailed every person and reminded them of their appointment day and time. I requested a call if they couldn't make it.

I thought I was VERY clear.

Good news....even though my current appointment is 28 minutes late, my 6pm just called and asked for directions.

kaciealexa Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:32pm
post #17 of 38

i work for a plastic surgeon and we have always offered free consultations.. well, invariably, we would get no-shows.
i think there is a misconception out there that if something is free, then it has no value...
what we have started to do is get a credit card number when they call to schedule a consult.. we tell them that the consultation is free, but if they are a no-show, we will charge their card $125... my doctors time is very valuable, . and if he can be there along with his office staff, he deserves to be compensated for no-shows..
since we have started this, we have had very few no-shows... and only 1 person in 6 months has whined about the charge.
you bakers could do the same thing. .. tell them that your next cake testing day is _________ and they will need to pay a consulte /tasting fee of $____ to pay pal , or check/money order by __________ in order to be allowed into the tasting... if they come, they will get their tasting fee returned ASAP, and they get this back whether they book or not. you could call it an inconvenience fee. or whatever...

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:36pm
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaciealexa

i work for a plastic surgeon and we have always offered free consultations.. well, invariably, we would get no-shows.
i think there is a misconception out there that if something is free, then it has no value...
what we have started to do is get a credit card number when they call to schedule a consult.. we tell them that the consultation is free, but if they are a no-show, we will charge their card $125... my doctors time is very valuable, . and if he can be there along with his office staff, he deserves to be compensated for no-shows..
since we have started this, we have had very few no-shows... and only 1 person in 6 months has whined about the charge.
you bakers could do the same thing. .. tell them that your next cake testing day is _________ and they will need to pay a consulte /tasting fee of $____ to pay pal , or check/money order by __________ in order to be allowed into the tasting... if they come, they will get their tasting fee returned ASAP, and they get this back whether they book or not. you could call it an inconvenience fee. or whatever...





I used to do that. People would get snarky and ask why I charged when nobody else did. Plus, I felt since they were paying, I had to let them choose the flavors. Since I can't make only enough cake for 3 people, I would have tons of leftovers of all kinds of different flavors of cake in my freezer. Makes for tons of waste, since only rarely does anybody else pick the same flavors to taste as any previous bride.

And if you say you'll charge their card if they no show....can't they simply whine to their credit card company and have it reversed? THen I have to pay it back plus the fine. I feel like I'm in a no win situation. I'm discussing quitting the business with my DH. He's against it, but I'm getting disgusted. People are so freakin' rude. CUrrent appt is now 36 minutes late. Starting to feel I'm stood up again. icon_lol.gif

chutzpah Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:41pm
post #19 of 38

I wait only fifteen minutes for my consultations. If they haven't called I pack it in and go home. If they want to re-schedule it costs them $50.

I've only ever had one no-show. They called the next day, said they had forgotten, apologized and re-booked. I've had people come late, but they have always called and said they are parking the car or stuck in traffic or something valid. Then i wait.

indydebi Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:41pm
post #20 of 38

karateka, sounds like you did everything "right". icon_confused.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaciealexa

i think there is a misconception out there that if something is free, then it has no value...


I agree with this statement, even tho' I do free samplings and I hardly ever (dare I say never?) have no-shows. I think my last no show was over a year ago .... I've had about 8 in 5 years.

Some of the conception may be regional. If everyone in your area charges for samplings and yours is free, then folks may think yours has no value. But if everyone does free samplings, it's possible people may not go to a sampling where they have to pay (..... "but everyone ELSE is free!" whine whine)

I used to work with a very disorganized wedding planner. She and I dealt with the very same brides. She had a LOT of no-shows ..... I never had a no-show. Same brides .... different results. This is where I looked at her level of .... for lack of a better word .... professionalism in dealing with brides compared to how I dealt with brides, and I figured out that how I dealt with them from the git-go was a big impact on my no-show rate.

Here's a thread where I put a copy of my confirming-email that I send out, if anyone is interested. http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-616055-reschedule.html Evidently it gets the message across because I have brides call me if they think they will be even 5 minutes late.

indydebi Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 10:48pm
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

Since I can't make only enough cake for 3 people, I would have tons of leftovers of all kinds of different flavors of cake in my freezer. Makes for tons of waste, since only rarely does anybody else pick the same flavors to taste as any previous bride.




Excellent reason on why my brides dont' get to pick flavors. I serve white, choc and a 3rd of my choosing. I bake an 8" square cake of each ... cut it in 9 squares ... put in a gallon ziplok bag in the freezer. I pull out one square of each flavor per sampling. I bake once for every 9 appointments. My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake except it will taste like lemon. I dont' view a tasting as a time when they get to sample everything on the menu before they place their order (try THAT in any restaurant!) .... I view it as a time when they taste my cakes to see if I have any baking skills and to see if they like my baking in general.

Deb_ Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:17pm
post #22 of 38

karateka you're way too talented to let this discourage you from continuing your business.

I also deal with appointments at my full time job at my Salon. I've been a hairstylist for over 25 yrs., and it's been the same since year 1. You'll always have a small percentage of people that will just blow you off, or come in late. It's hard to not let this bother you.

As far as the tasting appts. Is this the first time you're meeting with these couples or have they already been in for a consult? How about charging a fee maybe 20 to 25 dollars for the tasting, but if they book with you, deduct the fee from the total? Charge their credit card at the time of booking and let them know it's non-refundable if they cancel or don't show up.

Also remember that you don't have to serve these people every flavor you offer. Just a "sample" of your most popular flavors. The purpose is for them to judge your baking abilities, not to fill their bellies with a lot of cake, filling and icing.

OhMyGanache Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:22pm
post #23 of 38

Here's another idea. Have you ever thought of pairing up with other wedding vendors for a group consultation? I was contacted by a local hotel who wanted me to join their group of "preferred vendors" and give out samples at their monthly event (I did one - and decided it wasn't worth it for me though). They had a DJ, a rep from a vineyard, and several other vendors. The DJ had a system, and went around the room to all the vendors with his mic and we got a few minutes to talk about ourselves and our services and then the attendees could wander the room and get info and samples.

I think this might be a good idea for you... or something to look into anyway.

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:25pm
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly27

karateka you're way too talented to let this discourage you from continuing your business.





Thanks for that. icon_smile.gif

Quote:
Quote:

How about charging a fee maybe 20 to 25 dollars for the tasting, but if they book with you, deduct the fee from the total? Charge their credit card at the time of booking and let them know it's non-refundable if they cancel or don't show up.




That's what I was doing before this, but was letting them pick flavors. Maybe I could go back to that if I don't let them pick.

Indydebi....how long to thaw one of your squares of cake? I made exactly enough cake for my tastings today, thawed the whole bunch. Now I have a bunch that won't be used. Can I re-freeze it?

Do you pop them in the microwave (how long?), or just let it thaw for x amount of time? Of course that wouldn't help me today....if they just no show, I'd have their cake thawed already. Poopheads.

My 6pm appointment left. Nice people who said they'd contact me after their income tax refund came in. Fingers crossed! Now to see if the 7pm shows up. Any bets????

karateka Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:27pm
post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoleKitten

Here's another idea. Have you ever thought of pairing up with other wedding vendors for a group consultation? I was contacted by a local hotel who wanted me to join their group of "preferred vendors" and give out samples at their monthly event (I did one - and decided it wasn't worth it for me though). They had a DJ, a rep from a vineyard, and several other vendors. The DJ had a system, and went around the room to all the vendors with his mic and we got a few minutes to talk about ourselves and our services and then the attendees could wander the room and get info and samples.

I think this might be a good idea for you... or something to look into anyway.




That IS a good idea.....I'll be looking into that, thanks!

tarheelgirl Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:29pm
post #26 of 38

One of my good friends does photography. Well, we have been teaming up to meet with brides. This is our first time coming up on Saturday so hopefully all will go well. I am doing the tasting and she will present her photo packages for the wedding. We are trying to work together and refer each other to our clients. I thought about doing a little folder for the couple with my information and if they decide to book it will have their contract in it. Also, a list of recommended vendors with all their info as well.

indydebi Posted 25 Jan 2009 , 11:38pm
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

Indydebi....how long to thaw one of your squares of cake?



About 15-20 minutes ..... 30 minutes tops. I take them out of the freezer an hour before the appt and they are thawed WAY early enough.

I HAVE quick-thawed them in the microwave (I was the one who forgot about the appt and was scrabbling to try to NOT look disorganized! icon_redface.gif Thank god for cakes in the freezer and icing that stores well on the counter!). I just left them in for about 10 seconds at a time. Needed them thawed but not warm, ya know?

snarkybaker Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 12:32am
post #28 of 38

I do " all day" tastings every month. We always book the whole day, have very few no-shows, and end up selling about 70% of the brides who attend. ( The closing rate goes down right after big bridal shows when you have a lot of "tire-kickers" in the market place).

We make 6 to 8 kinds of cake ( our choice). We book the appointments every half hour. They can bring as many people as they want ( They still only get one plate of cake). We offer coffee, water, beer and wine. We offer couples who book at the tasting a free anniversary cake. They know that is the offer when they come in and most have the mindset of wanting to book with us.

We email out the schedule to the local venue/hotel event planners, and typically we get about half of the event filled with referrals from them.

You have posted numerous times about difficulties with your tastings. I am going to suggest you take a continuing education class on salesmanship. It really sounds like you need some help getting control of your customers.

summernoelle Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 12:45am
post #29 of 38

Karateka, you've posted before about having lots of problems with tastings. I think that it is time for you to start charging-you've been stood up way too many times.

I am in the same boat. I get stood up a lot, and I am at the point where I am thinking about not even making wedding cakes because it is such a PITA. I'd rather just stick to party cakes where I don't have to deal with tasting appointments.

karateka Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 12:48am
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by txkat


You have posted numerous times about difficulties with your tastings. I am going to suggest you take a continuing education class on salesmanship. It really sounds like you need some help getting control of your customers.




I won't disagree with you there. Where do I find such an animal? I get catalogs from vocational colleges allt he time. Never a mention of that type of thing. I could learn to speak arabic, though. Or carry a concealed firearm. icon_rolleyes.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%