A Different Pricing Q...(No Really)...

Business By lostincake Updated 16 Apr 2009 , 1:46am by loriana

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 6:13pm
post #1 of 37

Hi everyone,

I'm doing my first paid cake soon for my sis' friend.

My first time working out pricing and I thought I had it all figured out. I even checked pricing for other places in my area and thought I had a good idea...

I have tons of forum topics bookmarked that talk about pricing where people quoted how much they would charge per serving for cakes that were accompanied by pics to help illustrate - reviewed them all and had worked out a comfortable average price/serving I was thinking of starting off charging...

But now I realize I am as confused as ever because I don't know what serving sizes people are actually using when quoting how many it will feed, when it's a special occasion cake. The forum posts I looked at didn't make it clear.

How do you figure out the number of servings for special occasion cakes (i.e. stacked but not for weddings)? Do you use wedding sized servings regardless, or do you use party sized servings? What would be the industry standard? It seems most use wedding sizes but then why is there the distinction?

For example, I quoted this friend a two-tiered special occasion cake (7" & 9") as serving 38. Do most people quote this as serving 57 instead (if so, I seriously undercharged her lol).

If you can enlighten me, I'd like to hear what method most people use and why so it can help clear up my confusion.

Any help would be oh so appreciated - Thanks in advance!

36 replies
Deb_ Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 6:26pm
post #2 of 37

As you know *Party* size is larger therefore you get fewer servings per cake.

Did you ask them what size pieces they are planning on? In my studio I have *dummy* slices of cake so they can visually see the size of each, it's very helpful to the client.

If they are planning on party size then they need to buy more cake.

EDIT TO ADD********

You may want to provide a *cutting chart* with the cake so they know exactly what size pieces they should be cutting.

SweetSweetCreations Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 6:28pm
post #3 of 37

Let me start by saying I am new also and just figuring out pricing.

I quote all cakes at party sizes unless it is a wedding cake. When I quote wedding cakes I always tell the bride the differnce in part servings and wedding servings so she can make a decision on the size cake she needs. Wedding servings are smaller because food is usually served at a wedding and there is also a grooms cake so usually you get 2 different kinds of cakes.
I use Wilton to figure my sizes. This is just how I do it I am sure you will get a lot of different ideas.

$2.00 per serving and up buttercream
$2.75 per serving and up fondant
Fillings, additions, sculpting, gumpaste flowers and sculpting extra charge.
This is standard pricing in my area.
My problem is I don't charge what I say my prices are. I have changed that the past week or so. If they don't want it at the price quoted they don't get it. I am learning Thanks to all the help from CC!

cylstrial Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 8:26pm
post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

As you know *Party* size is larger therefore you get fewer servings per cake.

Did you ask them what size pieces they are planning on? In my studio I have *dummy* slices of cake so they can visually see the size of each, it's very helpful to the client.

If they are planning on party size then they need to buy more cake.

EDIT TO ADD********

You may want to provide a *cutting chart* with the cake so they know exactly what size pieces they should be cutting.




I love the dummy slice idea! That's great!!

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:00pm
post #5 of 37

I use the wilton wedding chart to determine pricing. It CAN be used to determine servings, but I use it to determine pricing.

A 10" round serves 38. Times my per-serving price equals the price of the cake. I tell them it will serve 25-35, depending on how they cut it. But the price is the same, regardless.

My understanding is a wedding slice is 1x2x4 (8 cubic inches). A party slice is 1.5x2x4 (12 cubic inches .... 50% bigger than the wedding slice). For those who offer party pricing, is your party pricing 50% more than your wedding pricing? For example, if your per-serving price is $3, then your party price is $4.50/serving, right? After all, they are getting 50% more cake per slice.

If you're not doing this, you're giving away free cake. It wont' take long for a customer to figure out "tell her it's a party cake and you'll get it cheaper!" shhh.gif

I see threads on here all the time about people price for parties and for weddings but they never indicate if the party price is higher because the party slice is bigger .... I'm curious on the general way of thinking on this.

Educate me, folks.

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:26pm
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



My understanding is a wedding slice is 1x2x4 (8 cubic inches). A party slice is 1.5x2x4 (12 cubic inches .... 50% bigger than the wedding slice). For those who offer party pricing, is your party pricing 50% more than your wedding pricing? For example, if your per-serving price is $3, then your party price is $4.50/serving, right? After all, they are getting 50% more cake per slice.

If you're not doing this, you're giving away free cake. It wont' take long for a customer to figure out "tell her it's a party cake and you'll get it cheaper!" shhh.gif

I see threads on here all the time about people price for parties and for weddings but they never indicate if the party price is higher because the party slice is bigger .... I'm curious on the general way of thinking on this.

Educate me, folks.




This is EXACTLY my confusion LOL! And I didn't even know that I was undercutting myself until I realized that I was quoting party size servings when it seems a lot of other CC'ers were using wedding size even for party cakes!

I definitely will be revising my pricing after this that's for sure. I'll chalk this one up to growing pains and the "newbie effect" but I am probably going to have to quote wedding size servings from now on (after double checking local places, it seems the cakes they quote will serve up to 40 are smaller stacked 6" & 8" cakes).

Thanks dkelly & SweetCreationsByJodi and indydebi for your input. It helps to know how others do it.

**edited for typo**

Toptier Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:43pm
post #7 of 37

Yup, and if it's this confusing to us how confusing is it to customers?

Recently I picked up a grocery store leaflet on wedding cakes and they listed various cakes sizes, ie. 6"-8" round stacked started at $100
in buttercream and served 24-36. I was thinking of changing the way I charge to this - charging for a "whole cake" instead of "per-serving". The problem is, you just can't list all the possible cake combinations can you? Also, if you give people a serving size range such as 24-36 people automatically think "in the middle". I guess there is no perfect way to do it.

Right now I do charge "per-serving" based on Wilton sizes and charge 50% more for party sizes but I do feel it is confusing for customers. Ok, I'm done rambling now!

Deb_ Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:44pm
post #8 of 37

My pricing is based on the Wedding size serving....i.e. 10" round = 38 servings, same as you indydebi.

If they want *party* size pieces then they need to order more cake.

I tell them the Industry Standard is based on Wedding size servings and this is what I base pricing on. If they choose to cut larger slices then the 10" will only provide approx 24 servings. (though the price is based on 38 not 24)

Did I completely confuse everyone..........cuz I think I just confused myself icon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:50pm
post #9 of 37

OMG...I'm ROFLMBO!

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:53pm
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptier

I was thinking of changing the way I charge to this - charging for a "whole cake" instead of "per-serving". The problem is, you just can't list all the possible cake combinations can you?



It's really just semantics.

6/8 serves 12/24 = 36 servings. Assume $3/serving for simple math. You COULD tell them "36 servings at $3 a serving." OR ...... "This cake is $108 and serves 24-35."

When you charge "per cake", you've just already done the math for them. Or ... if you charge per cake, you can break it down to get a per serving price.

It's just semantics. thumbs_up.gif

Deb_ Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 9:55pm
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetCreationsByJodi

Let me start by saying I am new also and just figuring out pricing.

I quote all cakes at party sizes unless it is a wedding cake. When I quote wedding cakes I always tell the bride the differnce in part servings and wedding servings so she can make a decision on the size cake she needs. Wedding servings are smaller because food is usually served at a wedding and there is also a grooms cake so usually you get 2 different kinds of cakes.
I use Wilton to figure my sizes. This is just how I do it I am sure you will get a lot of different ideas.

$2.00 per serving and up buttercream
$2.75 per serving and up fondant
Fillings, additions, sculpting, gumpaste flowers and sculpting extra charge.
This is standard pricing in my area.
My problem is I don't charge what I say my prices are. I have changed that the past week or so. If they don't want it at the price quoted they don't get it. I am learning Thanks to all the help from CC!




Jodi based on your pricing..................................

a 10" party size would be 24 (servings) X $2 = $48

That same cake for a Wedding would be 38(servings) X $2 = $76

That's a HUGE difference in price, I'm not picking on you but I just wanted to point out that......wouldn't that make people say *party* size instead of *wedding* size when they realize the price difference?

It's just something to think about, I think you are selling yourself short.

sadsmile Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 10:14pm
post #12 of 37

Oh I like the way you all think! I have always seen that party cakes are less costly then wedding cakes and I never understood why because they are the same work depending on the design if not more. Bigger pieces=bigger price=perfect! 50% more costs 50% more. They can have it but they need to pay for it.

Just another thought was the diff in pricing because the standard party cake was just a sheet cake and the wedding cakes are stacked...? If that's the case then old industry pricing goes bye-bye with old industry standards-right? The end all and be all of party cakes now are stacked up and decorated just as much if not more then wedding cakes. Even in colorings sometimes you are using twice as much and twice as many colors. My two cents for all it's worth, yada yada.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 10:26pm
post #13 of 37

I did not read all the replies--I'm just chiming in to say--people will cut servings smaller than wedding size if their crowd is bigger than the amount of servings--or if they want a bunch leftover. So I use wedding size servings for everything.

indydebi Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 12:24am
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

Just another thought was the diff in pricing because the standard party cake was just a sheet cake and the wedding cakes are stacked...? If that's the case then old industry pricing goes bye-bye with old industry standards-right? The end all and be all of party cakes now are stacked up and decorated just as much if not more then wedding cakes.




Bingo!! They want the Ace of Cakes cake but they think it should still only cost twenty bucks because "it's just a birthday cake!"

Right on my website, on the Other Occasion Cakes page, it says: If it looks like a wedding cake, it's PRICED like a wedding cake!

LaBellaFlor Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 12:44am
post #15 of 37

I base ALL my servings based off "wedding" cake servings, 1x2x4, which is also considered a dessert serving, meaning no need for additional dessert, besides cake. I don't do the whole "party" price & "wedding" price. Its all based on design & ingredients.

paulstonia Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 1:09am
post #16 of 37

I hate that with the wilton charts. And I know when I have a party I slice them larger than their wedding size slices. I decided to go with earlenes chart. They're a little big slice than wiltons wedding but not as big as their party chart. At least it made me feel like it was a little fairer. And there all the same, wedding or party. I mostly make them for family and friends anyway.

michellesArt Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 1:36am
post #17 of 37

i would stay away from the whole "party slice" vs "wedding slice" because most people want the extravegant cake but not the price- if they want ace of cakes, they pay for it wedding or not

lostincake Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 10:35pm
post #18 of 37

Thanks everyone! I have a better idea now what I should do but have not made up my mind fully yet.

Still just baking for family and friends right now but want to get into the right habit and quote them a standard price and then a "discount" off that so they know they are getting a deal. This way, when I start charging normally, they won't be quite as shocked and it won't be as much of an adjustment.

icon_biggrin.gif

**edited for typo and to add smilie icon_razz.gif**

auntmamie Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 10:48pm
post #19 of 37

After browsing the price charts for some time on here, I finally got around to getting mine made. I decided to do two charts, party and wedding. The price per slice is the same, but the party has larger slices, and therefore is less money per cake. The difference is in what I included. A party cake can only have one flavor of cake, and one filling. More choices = upcharge. Decorations are limited to rose sprays, balloons, simple borders, and writing. More work (ie - drop strings) = upcharge. So, a 6&8 stacked for a party = 26 servings and $54.50 (26*2 + 2.50 stacking charge).

Wedding cakes are the same price per slice, but have more slices per tier. However, wedding cakes include up to two cake flavors and filling flavors, a defined # of BC, RI or GP flowers, and fancy borders, swags, drops, pearls, etc. So, a 6&8 stacked for a wedding = 39 servings and $80.50 (39*2 + 2.50 stacking charge).

One note, though. I can only sell up to $150 a week without a license, per state statutes. So, that seriously limits my ability to make wedding cakes.

indydebi Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 10:50pm
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulstonia

And I know when I have a party I slice them larger than their wedding size slices.



And when I get a 12-pc bucket of chicken, I eat 3 pcs instead of the 2-per-serving that they calculate it for. But I STILL pay the same price, even tho' I'm only serving 4 people from it instead of 6.

If I serve more chicken (aka cut bigger cake pieces), then I should expect to buy more chicken/cake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulstonia

I decided to go with earlenes chart. ..... At least it made me feel like it was a little fairer.


Fairer to who? I understand you're doing it for family and friends, but if you are giving them 50% more cake at the same price as a wedding slice, you're giving away 50% of the cake for free. Just something to ponder when you start doing it more as a business instead of just family/friends.

dandelion56602 Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 10:59pm
post #21 of 37

I do Wilton's wedding chart. If you haven't seen a slice of cake that is 1x2x4", cut out a piece of cardboard to give yourself an idea. It's a good size piece of cake. It may sound small, but it's not. I use to feel like I was cheating people until I saw that it's a good size piece. And after cutting a few cakes for friend's showers you realize how many people say "just a small slice". there's usually other foods, whether snacks for a party or a meal at a wedding. People want to seem modest & like they are watching their figure or are just full from other food. But I've never had someone ask me for a larger piece, period. That's usually a kid who just wants the icing & if mama sees a huge piece, well poor kid & poor cake cutter!

snarkybaker Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:09pm
post #22 of 37

We price party cake and wedding cake differently, and I use Earlene's chart, and advertise the fact that ours is a proper "southern-hospitality sized piece of cake compared to most bakers who's slices are at least 1/3rd smaller than ours."

Wedding cake pricing is "package" driven. It includes the delivery, samples, torting, two fillings, stacking, etc.

Party Cakes are a la cart, two fillings is ectra, delivery is extra, etc etc. You can order a party cake that is as expensive as a wedding cake from us, but you can also order a nice 8 inch choclate cake with raspberry filling and vanilla icing for only $40.

I took the idea from Mike McCrary who does cake starting at $2.75 a serving but goes up to many thousands of dollars. It has been working well for us.

indydebi Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:15pm
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion56602

If you haven't seen a slice of cake that is 1x2x4", cut out a piece of cardboard to give yourself an idea. It's a good size piece of cake. It may sound small, but it's not.



Agree. People hear "one inch" and they think "paper thin". It's not. Here's pics of 1x2x4 cake pieces that I cut at one of my weddings: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1156785

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion56602

And after cutting a few cakes for friend's showers you realize how many people say "just a small slice".



Yep. I cut most of my wedding cakes at the wedding and I ALWAYS get people who ask for a smaller piece.

snarkybaker Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:19pm
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion56602

If you haven't seen a slice of cake that is 1x2x4", cut out a piece of cardboard to give yourself an idea. It's a good size piece of cake. It may sound small, but it's not.


Agree. People hear "one inch" and they think "paper thin". It's not. Here's pics of 1x2x4 cake pieces that I cut at one of my weddings: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1156785

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion56602

And after cutting a few cakes for friend's showers you realize how many people say "just a small slice".


Yep. I cut most of my wedding cakes at the wedding and I ALWAYS get people who ask for a smaller piece.




Whenever I get into the discussion about slices of cake I always feel like Crocodile Dundee "That's not a piece of Cake...This is a piece of cake."

cas17 Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:31pm
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulstonia

And I know when I have a party I slice them larger than their wedding size slices.


And when I get a 12-pc bucket of chicken, I eat 3 pcs instead of the 2-per-serving that they calculate it for. But I STILL pay the same price, even tho' I'm only serving 4 people from it instead of 6.

If I serve more chicken (aka cut bigger cake pieces), then I should expect to buy more chicken/cake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulstonia

I decided to go with earlenes chart. ..... At least it made me feel like it was a little fairer.

Fairer to who? I understand you're doing it for family and friends, but if you are giving them 50% more cake at the same price as a wedding slice, you're giving away 50% of the cake for free. Just something to ponder when you start doing it more as a business instead of just family/friends.




i absolutely love the bucket of chicken analogy debi. i got to use it one time recently and you could almost see the lightbulb turn on over the ladies head, he he.

thank you for your no nonsense and very clear advice!! thumbs_up.gif

luvsfreebies72 Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 6:59pm
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion56602

I do Wilton's wedding chart. If you haven't seen a slice of cake that is 1x2x4", cut out a piece of cardboard to give yourself an idea. It's a good size piece of cake. It may sound small, but it's not. I use to feel like I was cheating people until I saw that it's a good size piece. And after cutting a few cakes for friend's showers you realize how many people say "just a small slice". there's usually other foods, whether snacks for a party or a meal at a wedding. People want to seem modest & like they are watching their figure or are just full from other food. But I've never had someone ask me for a larger piece, period. That's usually a kid who just wants the icing & if mama sees a huge piece, well poor kid & poor cake cutter!


these are pretty much my exact thoughts on this... I really would like to know where this business of cutting larger sized pieces at parties came from in the 1st place... don't most parties have food? Mine do. Aren't most wedding receptions parties? with food? Someone enlighten me please icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 7:09pm
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsfreebies72

... I really would like to know where this business of cutting larger sized pieces at parties came from in the 1st place...



"Back in the olden days ....." icon_biggrin.gif

Birthday parties and even wedding receptions were just cake and punch. I was an adult before I went to a wedding that served food (and they were considered "the RICH" relatives!). In my early 20's, "food" at a wedding was finger sandwiches of ham and turkey, maybe some chicken salad, veggie & fruit trays, cheeseballs. Food at a kids birthday party? Never! The only time someone had food at a party was if it was a big family cookout.

I also come from the midwest and from a family of farmers. You sure don't feed a hardworking farmer family anything less than a brick of cake! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif (In my house, a bowl of ice cream was a cool whip bowl FULL of ice cream for each person. I go to my friend's house and they serve a dessert bowl of 2 scoops of ice cream and I'm like "what the hell????" icon_eek.gif )

Over time, weddings and even birthday parties have evolved to a time to really entertain and take care of your guests. (thank you food channel! thumbs_up.gif ) Because people have other foods, you're right, they are more full and have no nee to gorge themselves on a brick size piece of cake.

luvsfreebies72 Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 8:23pm
post #28 of 37

"back in the olden days", indeed...

*duck & cover*

soooo kidding. I'm not really a spring chicken myself

I know that back in the olden days they didn't serve food at weddings and parties, but I was under the impression that custom was started around 1800's-ish and ended mid-century-ish. could be mistaken. anyhoo... I vote for "wedding size" servings on all cakes! you'll make more money

lostincake Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 8:28pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsfreebies72

... I really would like to know where this business of cutting larger sized pieces at parties came from in the 1st place...


"Back in the olden days ....." icon_biggrin.gif

Birthday parties and even wedding receptions were just cake and punch. I was an adult before I went to a wedding that served food (and they were considered "the RICH" relatives!). In my early 20's, "food" at a wedding was finger sandwiches of ham and turkey, maybe some chicken salad, veggie & fruit trays, cheeseballs. Food at a kids birthday party? Never! The only time someone had food at a party was if it was a big family cookout.

I also come from the midwest and from a family of farmers. You sure don't feed a hardworking farmer family anything less than a brick of cake! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif (In my house, a bowl of ice cream was a cool whip bowl FULL of ice cream for each person. I go to my friend's house and they serve a dessert bowl of 2 scoops of ice cream and I'm like "what the hell????" icon_eek.gif )

Over time, weddings and even birthday parties have evolved to a time to really entertain and take care of your guests. (thank you food channel! thumbs_up.gif ) Because people have other foods, you're right, they are more full and have no nee to gorge themselves on a brick size piece of cake.




indydebi is always such a wealth of information! icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 8:34pm
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlin28

indydebi is always such a wealth of information! icon_biggrin.gif


When you can start most of your conversations with "back in MY day .....", then you will, too! thumbs_up.gif

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