$3 Per Slice Serving Fee??

Decorating By SecretAgentCakeBaker Updated 18 May 2009 , 10:41pm by CanadianChick

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:17pm
post #1 of 20

My brother's wedding is coming up soon. The reception site told him that, because it is not their item, they would charge $3 per serving to cut and serve the cake! Is this standard? (He told them that the baker (me) will cut and serve the cake instead!)

Wow, if that's true and if the bride were to have purchased a cake from a bakery at $5 a serving, then she really would be paying $8, plus all the taxes and tips associated with that. Yikes! When I got married 10 years ago, the reception hall we used did not charge us any fee related to the cake, and I brought it in from somewhere else.

19 replies
marmalade1687 Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:30pm
post #2 of 20

That's normal practice around here - sometimes even higher for some of the big hotels. They call it serving fee, plating fee, and cutting fee, but it's all the same. Your brother is lucky that they will allow you to cut and serve - some places won't allow that! (I started hearing about it from my clients about 4 or 5 years ago...)

MikeRowesHunny Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:43pm
post #3 of 20

Yes, I have had quite a few couples who have had to reduce their wedding cake budget because of such fees! I think it's such a shame. Fair enough if the location can produce the cake of their dreams, but that is why my couples come to me, because the location just isn't capable of doing so - sigh!

ahuvas Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:53pm
post #4 of 20

rather than having a cake could you have a dummy cake with top tier real just for cake cutting photos and have mini cakes already boxes as favors to get around the cost? it seems a little crazy to me to spend that much - essentially a thousand dollars or more (depending on the size of the wedding) - that's how much I spend on gas for my car per year icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:56pm
post #5 of 20

Well, I'm going to come to the defense of the facilty here.

THe couple bought the cake elsewhere. The facility is not making ANY money from the cake. Yet the couple expects the facility to provide the plates, forks, table linens, staffing to serve and clear the tables, the dishwasher to wash the dishes, and if you weren't going to cut it, they had to provide an experienced cake cutter or two.

Did I mention they weren't making ANY money on this cake? icon_confused.gif

It's a debatable point if $3 is fair or outrageous and I"m not defending or arguing that one. But there is an expense involved with serving a cake.

When I do a catering, I know if I dont' have to cut the cake, I can get cleaned up and out of there WAY faster, which saves my payroll expense overall. (If my crew of 3 is there longer because ONE of us is still cutting cake, then it's costing me payroll for FOUR people, not just the cake person.)

We get our dander up when people infer "it's just a cake.... why is it so expensive?" yet here we are, arguing "it's just cutting a cake ... why is it so expensive?" Don't you think we should respect the work involved with the functions of the other vendors like they should respect the work involved in ours?

MikeRowesHunny Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:57pm
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahuvas

rather than having a cake could you have a dummy cake with top tier real just for cake cutting photos and have mini cakes already boxes as favors to get around the cost? it seems a little crazy to me to spend that much - essentially a thousand dollars or more (depending on the size of the wedding) - that's how much I spend on gas for my car per year icon_smile.gif




That's not a bad idea, apart from the fact I charge pretty much double for mini cakes as they take soooooooo long to do and are a real PITA icon_rolleyes.gif !

playingwithsugar Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:58pm
post #7 of 20

Venues around here are charging as much as $3 per serve, no matter where you get the cake.

I had posted a response to another thread, way back in the early days, about a venue in Washington state that was charging $10 per serve.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

michellesArt Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:03pm
post #8 of 20

after reading indy's post i have to agree-they are providing a service too in regards to the cake, cutting, plating, cleaning and staff so it wouldn't be free. it's a point that i haven't come across yet. but really, whether or not they provide the cake there is still that associated cost-do some of them maybe roll it into the fee of the venue and only bring it up if the client chooses to get their cake elsewhere?

MikeRowesHunny Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:05pm
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Well, I'm going to come to the defense of the facilty here.

THe couple bought the cake elsewhere. The facility is not making ANY money from the cake. Yet the couple expects the facility to provide the plates, forks, table linens, staffing to serve and clear the tables, the dishwasher to wash the dishes, and if you weren't going to cut it, they had to provide an experienced cake cutter or two.

Did I mention they weren't making ANY money on this cake? icon_confused.gif

It's a debatable point if $3 is fair or outrageous and I"m not defending or arguing that one. But there is an expense involved with serving a cake.

When I do a catering, I know if I dont' have to cut the cake, I can get cleaned up and out of there WAY faster, which saves my payroll expense overall. (If my crew of 3 is there longer because ONE of us is still cutting cake, then it's costing me payroll for FOUR people, not just the cake person.)

We get our dander up when people infer "it's just a cake.... why is it so expensive?" yet here we are, arguing "it's just cutting a cake ... why is it so expensive?" Don't you think we should respect the work involved with the functions of the other vendors like they should respect the work involved in ours?




Debs, I love you, you know I do, and I see your point. However, I have also seen my cakes hacked up to within an inch of their lives because very few locations/caterers here have a clue how to cut & serve the kind of cakes you & I produce. Seriously, my 6 year old could do a better job of the cutting, and that's what gets my goat about the fee imposed on my couples. It's also the reason that the couple who's wedding (and therefore cake - eeek!), will be featured in a wedding magazine, have paid me to stay and cut their cake at the end of the month. They really don't want to see their $700 cake in a pile of crumbs on a plate, they want it cut properly! Yes, I do spend several minutes explaining to whomever how to cut the cake, and I leave diagrams, but I'm either laughed at (you've read my posts about that!), or ignored.

ahuvas Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:09pm
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjovibabe

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahuvas

rather than having a cake could you have a dummy cake with top tier real just for cake cutting photos and have mini cakes already boxes as favors to get around the cost? it seems a little crazy to me to spend that much - essentially a thousand dollars or more (depending on the size of the wedding) - that's how much I spend on gas for my car per year icon_smile.gif



That's not a bad idea, apart from the fact I charge pretty much double for mini cakes as they take soooooooo long to do and are a real PITA icon_rolleyes.gif !




I dont doubt it and would normally think the extra work wasnt worth it but its her brother's wedding. Im not a professional cake decorator (obviously) but I am not sure i would have issue with the extra work if I was in the same position and knew that it could save a sibling a considerable amount of money.

Also I dont begrudge the venue and totally understand why they are asking so much money - I am just not sure I would spend it. For a newly married couple who are just starting out $1000 can be stretched a lot further than wedding cake. But Im not really the type who thinks the wedding is the be all and end all (this is not saying that your brother is) = just that many couples go overboard and totally blow their budget on a single day.

moreCakePlz Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:28pm
post #11 of 20

I had my Moms 75th birthday party at a restaurant a few weeks ago and when I made the reservation I asked if I could bring an outside cake. They said sure but they would charge $2 a person if they had to cut the cake and served it on their own plates. They also told me that if I brought paper plates and cut it myself they wouldnt charge anything.

I thought it was nice that they give me the option.

indydebi Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:34pm
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreCakePlz

I thought it was nice that they give me the option.


That WAS very nice!!

hairfolicle Posted 17 May 2009 , 3:03pm
post #13 of 20

I must really be out of touch! I have never heard of a charge for cutting the cake and all that. Maybe I have just had or been to cheap weddings! I believe that if you have a restaurant, facility, or catering that the price should be all inclusive. It's all part of the job. I understand the reasoning behind it, because it can be labor intensive, but still $2 per plate and up is a little too much. Why not charge an hourly charge. Even if they charged $30.00 to $50.00 an hour they would still make out. A lot of cake can be cut in an hour. Or maybe you could supply your own plates and such and ask a friend or two to cut the cake for you. You could get them a nice gift as a thank you. A co-worker of mine was asked to help work a wedding and was compensated for it. The bride worked with us but we weren't close enough to her to be on the guest list (which we were fine with) but we still were able to help her out and see the festivities. I hope I don't make anyone upset with this comment. I know catering is very hard work and everything they do is appreciated.

indydebi Posted 17 May 2009 , 3:34pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hairfolicle

I believe that if you have a restaurant, facility, or catering that the price should be all inclusive. It's all part of the job. I understand the reasoning behind it, because it can be labor intensive, but still $2 per plate and up is a little too much. Why not charge an hourly charge. Even if they charged $30.00 to $50.00 an hour they would still make out. A lot of cake can be cut in an hour.




Should be all inclusive: Me cutting the wedding cake is inclusive ... *IF* you also buy a catering package AND the cake from me. Otherwise you're asking me to spend my payroll money cutting a cake that I made zero profit on. And if it's all inclusive, you're going to have those folks come along with "why should I pay a cake fee when I'm not having a cake?"

Charge an hourly rate ..... a lot of cake can be cut in an hour: See, this is where your thinking is wrong. You're thinking of it as a cake CUTTING fee and it's a cake SERVICE fee. There's MUCH more to it than just cutting a cake. ("Hey cake lady, why are you charging so much for a cake ... you just throw it in the oven for 30 minutes .... it doesn't take long!"). So let's add it up ... I can charge you per hour for the person to cut the cake, for the person assisting the cake cutter, for the 2 or 3 servers to carry the cake plates to the tables, for those 2-3 servers to go around and clear the tables of those plates and forks, for the dishwasher to wash those 200 plates and forks. When you add up the man-hours involved, there's a LOT of labor expense involved. It's not just 30 minutes to cut a cake ... it's all the behind the scenes expense involved that *I* have to cover.

artscallion Posted 17 May 2009 , 3:57pm
post #15 of 20

It's no different from the corking fee you pay when you bring your own wine/champagne to a restaurant and then expect the server to bring out glasses and/or ice bucket to chill it, uncork and pour it and then have the glasses washed, dried and put away, all for something you didn't even buy from them. It's reasonable to charge for this.

mkolmar Posted 17 May 2009 , 5:11pm
post #16 of 20

As much as I'm not crazy about cake cutting fees from halls (very few know how to cut properly where I'm at) I totally understand why they have them. As someone who has worked behind the scenes, there is a lot more to it than most people realize. Debi, pretty much explained it all.
You have to pay your staff to cut the cake, serve it (if you have the option) and then clean up their plates plus forks used for that cake and then pay a dishwasher to clean the dishes. If I owned a venue I would also charge a cake cutting fee if they wanted me to cut and plate it on my dishes when it's not a cake I made. I wouldn't want to be out any $ for something I didn't make any profit on, just good business sense.

costumeczar Posted 17 May 2009 , 5:55pm
post #17 of 20

There's a hotel here that charges $5 a serving for a cake-cutting fee, but they're willing to waive it if the bride asks. Sometimes it's worth asking. (I also know the people at the venue, so since they know me they might be more likely to waive the fee, I don't know.)

hairfolicle Posted 18 May 2009 , 12:10am
post #18 of 20

I guess that's why I don't make any money...I didn't mean to step on anyone's toes.

indydebi Posted 18 May 2009 , 12:21am
post #19 of 20

hairfolicle, you weren't stepping on anyone's toes! icon_wink.gif But you mentioned you'd never heard of one in your area, so we are just sharing a little of what it is and what's involved.

now when you get the question in Trivia Pursuit, you're the sure fire winner! icon_biggrin.gif

CanadianChick Posted 18 May 2009 , 10:41pm
post #20 of 20

heck, I think they're lucky that the venue is allowing the cake to be brought in.

I've arranged meetings for my department (about 200 people) at various hotels and NONE of them allowed us to bring in any outside food at all. ONE hotel allowed us to set up dishes of jujubes on the tables, another didn't mind if our "door prizes" involved food - but by and large they had a very strict NO OUTSIDE FOOD policy. I had to get an official OK to bring in whipped cream "pies" for a management pie-in-the-face event!

And although it was annoying, I understood the logic...they weren't responsible for producing the food, they weren't making the food (and therefore able to apply their overhead to the cost), but they'd still have the effort of at minimum, cleaning up after the mess. Plus, I believe there were licensing issues.

so, while we might bitch at the idea of having to pay any amount for service fees for plating & serving cakes...that's one of the costs of having an event at that venue!

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