BakeLoveMom Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:05pm
post #1 of

I got a phone call last month from a bride who wanted a tiered fondant cake for her wedding. Ivory fondant with plum flowers...gumpaste mind you...we still needed to finalize the design, but she recently e-mailed me changing the number of people from 200 to 100 because they are having a choc. fountain and that cake is just to suppliment and for pictures. I had quoted her $3.50 per person flat rate. Including cakes, fillings, buttercreams, fondants (all made by scratch), the support system, delivery(which is a half hour away), and the gumpaste flowers. I live in the middle of MI, and people are extremely cheap and unrealistic about the price of cake. Sorry, I might be being harsh, I am just flustered. This is the last e-mail I received from her...

Sarah --Sorry about not getting back to you right away--I am not wanting a cake for 200 people I just want a small one for pictures because I am having a choc. fountain in place of a big cake---so I have checked around before finding you and was quoted a price of $75.00 how much would it be for 100 people?


and this is what I sent back...Now I feel bad I sent it, but I was shocked and I wasn't sure if I should believe her or if she was just trying to get a better deal. Let me know what you would have done.


Wow! $75.00!!! They must be taking a big loss or doing you a major favor. The ingredients alone would cost more than $75.00 because I make everything from scratch. The cake plate it is displayed on, supports(dowel rods and cake plates-so the cake doesn't collapse), the , box, cake flour, butter, eggs, white chocolate for the fondant, not to mention delivery...I have no idea how someone could do that and be able to just break even not to mention the time it takes to do that kind of cake. Even if it was and only buttercream cake. I am in shock...definetly thank whoever gave you that deal. I am so sorry I can't match that price. I wish I could have helped you and I wish you luck on your upcoming marriage. If for any reason you ever need my services feel free to contact me.

Thanks so much,

Sarah



So what should I have done???

145 replies
chutzpah Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:09pm
post #2 of

Sweet Jesus! That's like 75 cents/serving. That person must be taking a HUGE loss!

-K8memphis Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:17pm
post #3 of

I think you did great. 75 cents a serving?? For sure, more power to 'em. And you kindly left the door open for 'em too. You did good I think.

Seventy five cents a serving?? <faint> <thud>

And a chocolate fountain could never replace a cake--they are so messy and sticky. Messy McMessykins for a wedding? yuck.

I mean I like choco fountains but if I was in wedding attire I probably would stear clear of it. Not to mention stearing clear of double dippers.

Fondue to replace wedding cake--no way. Bad form for have 200 people line up to get 'dessert'. Hopefully she'll at least have two or three.

Cakeonista Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:18pm
post #4 of

Sarah, your e-mail was brilliant! You could not have been more professional. I have a feeling she will call you back and if she doesnt its because she feel pretty stupid. Good work.

ajmccray Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:21pm
post #5 of

I think your reply has right on target. I wouldn't feel bad at all, it was a very nice note just explaining why you couldn't match the price. I tend to undercharge for my cakes (I know, I know) but $75.00 for a cake to feed 100?! Even if it was a basic sheet cake, it would be more than that. Do you think she could have told you that to try to get you to come down on the price?? I wouldn't sweat it, if she's going to be that cheap on her wedding cake, she won't be worth the trouble.

Angela

icer101 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:22pm
post #6 of

your reply to her was very good. don,t feel bad about anything... its not whether we make from scratch or box or extender recipes.. they are paying us for our expertise on creating a beautiful cake.. whether it is fondant or buttercream... and all the beautiful decorations that go with it.. i have had to say something like this a few times in my years of decorating.. hth

bethola Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:23pm
post #7 of

Just what you did! If she can get a cake for 100 people for 75 bucks! GO FOR IT GIRL!!

Having said that....my DISTANT cousin asked me to do her daughter's wedding cake. I was already helping with the catering so I declined. But, here is a little of the conversation "Do you know how to do a fondant bow?" "Yes, I can do fondant" "Are you SURE? Because I cater and I know everyone can't do fondant" "Yes, I'm quite SURE I can do fondant" "Well, I'll send you a picture and see if you think you can do the cake" At that point I told her that I would be unable to do the cake.

Fast Forward 2 weeks (now is 3 weeks until the wedding) "My baker CANCELLED ON ME!" I'm thinking....DUH! Would you PLEASE PLEASE do the cake? I'll pay you double! Yeah, like I wanted THAT headache. Stuck to my guns. She did find someone that told her it would be no problem.

The wedding and groom's cakes were HORRIBLE! She was very upset with them and didn't even want to pay. See? Dodged THAT bullet, didn't I? LOL The cake tasted good, but, the decorator needed much more practice before she did this type of cake. I'm SURE she did her best, but needed MUCH practice.

Bottom line: She got what she paid for!

Lesson Learned.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:24pm
post #8 of

Here's another thing--are some caterers and venues trying to horn in on wedding cake arenas? I mean who said the chocolate fountain replaces the cake??? Not even close. Stupid even.

In another recent thread ~~ Who's bright idea was it for the caterer to serve a variety of desserts including cake??? Hey that should not be allowed. Think I'll start using me some fried chicken drum sticks for pillars.

And god help the caterers in my area that try to horn into cake areas.

Geez louise, like times ain't hard enough.
I got room for them and the chintzy bride in The Jar!!! lol
(see signature line)

chutzpah Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:28pm
post #9 of

Gimme summozem chockinleks.

Shelle_75 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:32pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Think I'll start using me some fried chicken drum sticks for pillars.




Tee hee hee! Love that!

froggyjustjumpin Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:34pm

So just how many jars do you have that you still have room?

-K8memphis Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:36pm

No no no I got it I got it!!!

Let her run her choco fountain on full steam ahead and some little kid come to give her a big hug with chocolate smeared all over them selves.

Bwuuwhahahahaha

Susie53 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:38pm

You did the right thing...your email to her was perfect. thumbs_up.gif

TracyLH Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:40pm

I think your response was very good. You were honest in pointing out your costs and polite as well. I wouldn't think twice about what you sent. It did not come across in any wrong way at all. You were truthful in a nice way and wished her the best. Pat yourself on the back and sleep well tonight. It couldn't have been better.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by froggyjustjumpin

So just how many jars do you have that you still have room?




It's just one jar--plenty of room--ashes only.

I displayed this prominently on the shelf at eye level in my cubbie when I was a super for the phone company. icon_biggrin.gif

icon_lol.gif

misserica Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:48pm

Champagne I think the email was perfect, stated exactly why you could not do it and you even offered your services in the future if she needed it. And there is no way she is getting a cake to serve 100 for $75, unless its Twinkies, and I think 100 Twinkies would be more than $75...wave buh bye and thank your lucky stars she got the chocolate fountain, lol.

K8, I almost fell off of my chair, your posts should have a warning...."friend chicken drum sticks", everyone in my house looked up to see why I am laughing so hard I am crying!

BakeLoveMom Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:58pm

Thanks so much everyone. I was just shocked and flustered and I wrote the e-mail and sent it. Then I thought maybe I should have waited a little while until I had calmed down to write her back. I was sure I could of said it differently...but thanks guys for making me feel better. I felt like saying are you crazy??? But I refrained...which is hard for me icon_smile.gif

Sarah

jlynnw Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:00pm

Brides just need to be educated and you did just that! They want everything and the look and this and that but want to payfor nothing. You want a dessert table, fine, but that is not an excuse to go cheap on the cake. A chocolate fountain to replace the wedding cake? icon_confused.gif I can imagine how the photos will look. Hey everyone I was too cheap to pay for a cake so now that I have 200 people to celebrate with us, and this is our first party thrown together as man and wife, crowd around this little cake and take our pictures. If you like this, just wait until the potluck Christmas buffet party we are having. Only the best, Mr and Mrs. Cheapies.

cakeschmake Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlynnw

If you like this, just wait until the potluck Christmas buffet party we are having. Only the best, Mr and Mrs. Cheapies.




I went to a potluck wedding before. The invitation actually said "please bring your favorite covered dish" It was a small wedding but still, they had nice flowers and her dress was extravagant....

To make matters worse, it took chicken wings and didnt even get any, they were gone by the time I got thru the buffet line icon_cry.gif
At least I spared my hands and dress from the BBQ sauce icon_smile.gif

doughdough Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:16pm

I wouldn't worry about it. Sounds to me like you got your point across as tactfully as you could!

Look at it this way, you are changing the way people look at cake, one bride at a time...

ashk36 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:18pm

*cough*i'veconsideredapotluckwedding*cough*

Then my mom looked at me like I was crazy and said, "NO."

I thought that email was perfect, by the way. Nicely worded.

Tita9499 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:18pm

I think the bride was trying to get a response along the lines of:

"Dear Ms. Pinchapenny (soon to be Mrs. Cheapster Cheaperson),

I am so desperate for your business because you're the only person in Michigan that has ever wanted a wedding cake, that I am begging you to allow me to take food out of my children's mouth so you can have the best, cheapest wedding ever! I know that story about the $100 cake quote is a crock, but I'm a moron, so I'm going to believe you and do it for $20! On second thought, let me pay you for allowing me to make your wedding cake (fantastic idea, I know!).

I think it will look absolutely stunningly (horrendous) next to the chocolate fountain! I can just see the chocolate being slung all over the cake that I slaved for hours on only to have you and your husband forget to eat it because you were too busy doing keg-stands with your college buddies! I'm sure you'll pass my name on to all of your cheap friends and family who, although they probably make six figure salaries, will pretend to be dead broke just to get a cheap cake while I struggle to pay my bills!

Thanks so much for having no shame. I look forward to being screwed over by you soon!"

Yep, that's exactly how she wanted your email to read. Glad you saw past that, boot her on to the former mortician who thought cake decorating was a "piece of cake" and quoted her that asinine price. When everybody's smacking their lips saying, "hmmm...do you taste a hint of formaldehyde in your buttercream?", then she'll realize the mistake she made by trying to go the cheap route. Your email was right on point.

cocorum21 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:27pm

I think your response was great! I copied it and saved it to my "What to say" file.

GayeG Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:47pm

Tita! That was way too good!! I esp. like the part about the "yummy" buttercream!! icon_wink.gif

Several years ago I lived in central Mi - and I got these calls ALL the time! And thats WHY the bakery's there are expensive! *shaking my head* I always kept my prices as low as I could for competition ... but they seemed to always think it wasnt quite low enuff!! Im glad to be back home in Fl where most ppl know what a decent cake cost!!

champagneibo - your email was perfect! Like TracyLH said - you can sleep well knowing that!

BakeLoveMom Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:56pm

Tita9499 thanks...you are funny...all of you guys are so nice. I just really don't know anyone that would be able to do that...it seems impossible...so it made me think she was trying to get me to go down, but that is way down...and I have to say I have been told many times that I need to charge more. Now, I could see her e-mailing me back eventually and saying that she did need me to do it because the other person isn't going to now...and I would be kinda hesitant to take her on as a client. Oh well, I will keep you guys posted as to what she says...it should be interesting.

Sarah

Tita9499 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 8:04pm

Whatever you do, don't go out of your way to accomodate her. As flaky as she was about trying to bargain you down (which is exactly what she was trying to do), she may be just as flaky about staying with you. You may go out of your way to help her out when she decides o come groveling back, only to find that weeks before she decides her chocolate fountain is the bomb and she don't need no cake from you period. I've seen it done too many times to good, hardworking, cakerators.

I'm not saying this lady is lying about the $100 quote, but can you imagine how horrified people are going to be when they're pulling cat hairs out of their mouths? I can only imagine that this "cake person" is a old widow with, like, 113 cats running around her home licking the buttercream off of her fingers...erp, 'scuse me, gotta vomit real quick, HAY! Stick to your guns girl!

cathyscakes Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 8:10pm

Let me say I'm the biggest sucker out there for a sob story. I am embarrassed at how many times I have done a cake for nearly nothing. Then later find out how much was spent on flowers, the dress etc. I have learned a valuable lesson. Why is it that cake seems to have this problem. They see the walmart cakes and think, why can't you do it that cheap, they don't say that to a caterer. They just figure the food must be better for the higher cost. Its maddening, I have a soft spot and am easily taken advantage of, but I have learned. I would never go to a friends business and ask for a break in costs, people have no idea the work involved.

Honeychild Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 8:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

No no no I got it I got it!!!

Let her run her choco fountain on full steam ahead and some little kid come to give her a big hug with chocolate smeared all over them selves.

Bwuuwhahahahaha




Oh dear (tears in eyes from laughing), you are a HOOT!

Don't let cheapskates make you undersell your time, hard work, and talent. I honestly don't think people really realize what it takes to pull of a delicious and beautiful cake. You do this because you love it but you need to make some money from it too. Good for you! Your email was very professional and totally appropriate.

Tita9499 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 8:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

Then later find out how much was spent on flowers, the dress etc. I have learned a valuable lesson.





Don't get me wrong, as a person who works in the trade industry, I fully respect the skill it takes to put together certain things.

That being said, I don't understand why a bride will walk away from a florist who's quoting 2-grand (if you're lucky) for a bunch of roses in foam blocks, all Holly-go-lightly (happy); then bounce like a little bunny rabbit on meth at the "deal" she got on her dress in paying 5-grand (and it's not even a Vera Wang) from the dressmaker.

Only to have her walk into one of our shops/bakeries/homes and scoff at the audacity of us charging her the right price for a custom designed, hand decorated, labor-intensive EDIBLE work of art...seriously, some of us (me raising my hand and waving it like a psycho) have invested thousands of dollars on culinary degrees and training, others have invested precious years of our lives honing this craft and it ticks me right the heck off (sorry I'm being so vulgar), to have someone treat us like we're chopped liver!!

Let's start a revolution!!!! (or not, I'm just sayin')

LittleLinda Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 8:26pm

Your e-mail was just fine as it is. I sounded professionl to me.

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