I'm not in business yet. But I fully intend to be, hopefully in a year or so when I have saved up some money to rent space in a kitchen (and have more practice put in). I'd like to have my whole plan and structure mapped out way before then.
I've researched my area and the general prices. Most places have a set per slice price for buttercream and one for fondant (and of course extras cost more, etc). But one or two of them have a price structure that depends upon the flavor of cake. Does anyone else do this? I think I'd like to do it this way.
For example, a basic butter cake filled with vanilla buttercream costs FAR less to make than say a dark chocolate cake filled with fresh caramel, pecans, and chocolate ganache. The price of a good chocolate (and a lot of it in this case) and nuts would really up my bottom line. If I charged all one standard price, I'd have to line it up with the highest cost cakes to keep my profit up, but then I can't see justifying a really plain cake at the same price, you know? (And I gotta say, my first love is baking, so I don't much enjoy making the basic cake filled with plain buttercream)!
One company in particular has a menu with asterisks... one * is the first price level, two * is the second, and three * is the top tier pricing.
Anyone do this? Does it work well for you?
I price mine at the highest end, and am then able to tell my brides, "No matter what flavor you want, it's all the same price." Since so many people have a Level 1, Level 2 type of pricing (what I call the "nickel and diming a bride to death" system), most of my brides are thrilled to hear they can have whatever they want and it won't cost them more. Makes the planning process a lot easier ..... we don't have to deal with "well how much if I pick THIS one? Or how much if I pick THAT one?"
I do the same with, for example, chocolate covered strawberries. There is a definite price difference depending on the time of year. I price them based on the out-of-season price. If I want to discount them during peak season, it's always easier to tell a bride "I'll give you a price break on those today" instead of "well, I've gotta jack up the price because it's February."
I hope many other CC'ers pop in here and share with you their pricing structure and why they do it that way. This will give a number of viewpoints to ponder, enabling you to sort thru and select the ones that will work best for you.
That makes sense, and with your strawberry example I can imagine the delight if a bride finds out she gets a price cut in summer all of a sudden.
Do you ever have brides scoff at the price if they just want a basic cake? OR, is it the opposite, since it's all the same they go ahead and choose a fancier cake since it sounds more appealing? If it's the latter, I could totally see going this way since i'd rather make fancier flavors.
No, I've never had one give me any flack over it. Usually they get excited with, "you mean I can have TWO flavors!?"
Once in a blue moon, I'll have a bride ask "what will you deduct if we only have (dots, or scrolls or whatever she perceives is simple)?" I just tell them, "Since I dont' charge extra for added decors, it stands to reason that I don't have anything to deduct for simple. If you want a cake with just dots and ribbons or if you want a cake with 25 BC roses cascading down the side ... it's all the same price."
I try to close the conversation by showing them a big positive for THEM, such as "So you can have the elaborate cake of your dreams with us for the same price as you can get a hardly-anything-decorated cake elsewhere."
Nobody else? Not that I don't fully value Debi's opinion! I was just hoping to hear from a variety of experiences...
Well, I don't bake a lot of exotic cake flavors, but the only thing I charge extra for is carrot.
I have different prices based on the cake flavors. I find that most people appreciate it alot. Either they want an extravant cake that no one else will have and so are willing to pay more to be unique or they are working on a budget are are refreshed to find they can afford a much "prettier" cake in a more usual flavor. I have set up a couple "signature flavors" that I charge at the same rate as butter cake and butter cream icing. The cakes usually have one distinctive ingredient that doesn't eat up to much of the profit. I also have "platnum flavors" that I suggest to those who call me up and say they want something delicious and "different." I don't know if that helps any... but I hope it does.
I have to agree with the simplicity of Deb's pricing....and now I'm kinda thinking I should do the same thing. I have a per serving price for all tiered cakes and then premium filling and/or cake is an additional .25 per serving if they choose it....
And I certainly don't want to be one of 'those' nickel and dimed u to death decorators...... hmmm, something for me to think about.
Diva, it's amazing to watch the thought process of a customer. My base price of $3.50 is NOT considered one of the cheaper ones in town. Lots of bakeries have a base of $2.50 and even $2.25. But many of my brides are educating me on what they are finding at other bakeries: "....by the time they add everything up, I can't afford it!" they are THRILLED to pay "more" as a base price and get so many "free" add-ons.
A little off-topic, but the lowest price is not always the selling point. Had one lady come in and had been quoted $130 for cake for 100. I told her it was a great deal and she'd never find a better price. I told her my price of $350 and she kinda winced. I then told her we were about to introduce our "Just a Simple" cake .... one flavor, limited design, no delivery, $250 for a wedding her size.
She wanted 2 flavors, she wanted delivery. She had in front of her a cake offer for $130, I offered a $250 cake.
She bought the $350 cake.
CHeaper is not an automatic sale. Remember that.