When holding a tasting, you obviously provide samples for the bride/groom's choosing along with water, etc.
So I have some general questions about the "procedure" of the tasting.
-Do you provide a portfolio of your work during the tasting? If so, when do you present it to the customer?
-Obviously it begins with an introduction, but after that, what do you do?
-Do you gather information on what the couple is interested in for their cake?
Any other things that you do during a tasting/the order that you do them in would be so helpful...I'm trying to figure out an efficient way to go about it without forgetting any details.
Keep in mind that this is how I usually do things. It's by no means cake law, or anything.
Question about portfolio:
I usually provide my portfolio during the initial consultation. If they want to see it again, I'll gladly let them look at it. I try to keep the tasting purely about the cake that they're actually tasting.
(my current bride has 3 different types of cake so the tasting was kind of drawn out)
After the introduction:
I give them a rundown on exactly what they're tasting so there's no surprises during it. Also, I'll stress the point of giving feedback on what they've tasted as they're tasting it. I usually make the cake recipe into cupcakes so it's easy to transport and easy for them to handle. I'll bring a plate for each person, forks, and a knife. I bring plastic so I can just throw it away afterwards. Once I know they've tasted everything (cake, icing and fondant), then I'll ask for thoughts on it. This will give me an idea if I need to re-work the recipe and do another tasting.
I try to do an initial consultation before I think about doing a tasting. I have a questionnaire (sp?) that I'll give the bride with just some basic questions on it. I ask things about favorite cake flavors, allergies, favorite cake styles, and other basic things. I try to do an initial write up of the cake contract at that consultation, but won't have them sign it until after the tasting.
I hope this helps some. After doing a few, you'll figure out what works for you.
I only do one appointment ... we keep it simple for them by not making them come over twice. I deal with a lot of out of town brides and having them do 2 appts would be a hardship for many of them.
I have my tray of samples ready for them; I run thru the flavors and then invite them to mix-n-match to "...see what flavors just POP on your tastebuds!" I give them 2-3 minutes alone while I do some "cleaning up noises" in the kitchen. Then I come out, open the laptop and start taking preliminary info from them.
At some point, when I see they've pretty much eaten all of the samples, I ask, "Have you been looking at cakes? Do you have an idea of what you want, or are we starting from scratch and do we want to look at some photos?"
Usually they want to see photos, so I get my photo books out. I remove the sample tray and their plates out of their way, and we start flipping thru photos and talking cake design. I wouldnt' offer them the photo albums while they are eating ... too hard to eat, talk and flip thru pics at the same time, plus it clutters the eating space.
There are so many ways to handle an appointment and bottom line is that you find one that works for you. The great about CC is you will get LOTS of great ideas, and you get to pick and choose the best ones!
But remember, your job is to sell YOU before you sell your cake, and that includes making your client comfortable with you. So just make it relaxed, easy, and informative for them. You're asking them to trust you with their wedding cake. The sampling appt is a great time to build that relationship!