Customers And Others Wanting Your Recipe, What Do You Do?

Decorating By CarrieBear Updated 7 Jun 2009 , 3:57am by Cake-Gal

CarrieBear Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:33pm
post #1 of 101

So I am just curious on other peoples opnions out there about this topic.
Have you had a customer ask for your recipe? If you refused to give it to them what did they say or how did you put it politely to advise them that you dont?

This is how I feel, if you are doing this as a business and that is how you are making money I dont know how appropriate it is for someone to ask for your the recipe. If you go into a restaurant they are not typically going to give theirs out, thats what they make money doing.

I had a friend who I just made a wedding cake for and a couple people that were at her reception asked her to get the recipe from me. I did not charge her for the cake it was present, I gave the recipe to her because I said, well its not my recipe I got it online so I guess anyone could get it.

But I do have recipes that I have made up my self and would like to some day go into business if everything works out. If I am developing my own recipes and that is what I make money out of. Dont I have the right to say, No I'm sorry I dont give out the recipe?

It seems like people get so furious when you say no. But if its a recipe I have spend a long time developing and perfecting and I use it for my business and I feel its my signature. I just dont feel like I should have to reluctantly be giving it out. I hope other people out there feel the same way, in any other business out there that doesnt happen.
Go ask Pepsi for their recipe and see how reluctant they are...
sorry forthe long rant..

100 replies
chassidyg Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:40pm
post #2 of 101

My sister in law asks me all the time, which is why I wont allow my 13 yr old niece to come "help me" when she tries sending her over. She wants niece to report back! And my sis in law goes into restaurants all the time asking how do you make that, how do you do that, whats the recipe for that. I find it ANNOYING!

I wont give out my recipes unless it's to another baker.

mmdiez10 Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:43pm
post #3 of 101

Just say no politely. Tell them it is a secret family recipe that you do not feel comfortable sharing at this time. Tell them that when you get time to write a cookbook, then they can buy it and have the recipe then. Just kidding. But something along those lines.

shelbur10 Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:43pm
post #4 of 101

I'm not making my living doing cakes, but I still don't like to give out certain recipes to anyone and everyone. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to share with everyone here at CC (not that I have much to offer, I've learned everything from you guys!), but I do think it's your right not to share your recipes, ESPECIALLY if this is your career. When people ask, I just smile and say "sorry, that's top secret" in a joking tone. If they get mad, well, that's their problem, isn't it? Are they going to tell you corporate secrets from their jobs? icon_confused.gif Just another example of how people don't 'get it'. It NOT 'just cake & cookies'!!

CarrieBear Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:47pm
post #5 of 101

ok well im glad there are others that feel the same way I do.

Deckor8 Posted 30 May 2009 , 2:53pm
post #6 of 101

it's funny isn't it? how trivial people make it seem when they ask you for the recipe of the cake that everyone else is raving about.... I tell people that I'm sorry, but I don't share my recipes, because I've literally spent hours and $$ trying to achieve this success. It wasn't as easy as opening up a Betty Crocker box and adding some oil and eggs... Some people are still weird even after I saw that, so I'll usually throw in, besides... you'll never invite me over anymore if I give you the recipe!

If all else fails I just say, I guess I just suck like that icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 30 May 2009 , 3:04pm
post #7 of 101

When the Colonel shares his secret 11 herbs and spices, then I'll share my chocolate chip cookie recipe that took me 6 months to create.

chassidyg, I've shared this story before, but my sister is a pain kinda in the same way. Her favorite soup at Applebee's ... she SWORE they made it from scratch which, in her logic, is why it was only offered one day a week. I got so sick of trying to convince her that I finally gave her a frozen container of it for Christmas .... and told her, "Here .... I ordered this on my last truck order from GFS. Now shut the hell up."

The "recipe" for most stuff in restaurants is a product number on their supplier's order form!

Deckor8 Posted 30 May 2009 , 3:08pm
post #8 of 101

indydebi - I just about fell off my chair when I read your response about the Colonel.... thanks for that icon_smile.gif made my Saturday... and thanks for your crazy good BC recipe - can't get enough of it!

firelegs Posted 30 May 2009 , 3:27pm
post #9 of 101

I'm glad you brought this topic up - I got asked for my recipe last night. I did a graduation cake a couple weeks ago for a friend, and she wanted to know my bc recipe and my cake recipe were. Of course she went on to to tell me that while the cake was beauiful, it must be really easy,and take only 20 minutes to do (gotta love it). I always make the cake in my circle of friends, and I just know the next party / event, she would show up with a cake made from my recipe. Annoying. I'm not sharing.

chassidyg Posted 30 May 2009 , 3:59pm
post #10 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


The "recipe" for most stuff in restaurants is a product number on their supplier's order form!




I did see that story in another post, and I'm still laughing at it. My sis in law came running to my mother in laws one day after eating at subway. She goes "They gave me the recipe & told me how to make a meatball sub!"...I go duh, throw some cooked meatballs in marinara, throw them on a sub sized loaf of bread & top with cheese...not that hard...Oh she was ticked at me!

TexasSugar Posted 30 May 2009 , 5:23pm
post #11 of 101

If it is a recipe you have spent time coming up with and is unique, then just be honest with them. "I'm sorry I have spent a lot of time perfecting this recipe. If I tell ya, I'd have to kill ya". If they get upset they get upset. They'll get over it.

If it is a recipe you found online or in a cook book then direct them to it. Either way, just please be honest. Don't give them a recipe that isn't it, but telling them it is. I'm not saying you would do this, but it has been suggested in the past.

-K8memphis Posted 30 May 2009 , 5:40pm
post #12 of 101

I say it's a trade secret.
But apparently if you ask my daughter she'll give it to you.

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif (that'snotfunny!) icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Where's the <I'll strangle her smilie face>?

en-passant Posted 30 May 2009 , 5:45pm
post #13 of 101

I tell them no. i am not obligated to give my recipes to anyone.

Deb_ Posted 30 May 2009 , 7:25pm
post #14 of 101

Like some of you I only give out the recipe if it's not one of my own original ones that I invented.

I figure if I found it in a book or on-line, it's not "mine" to not share. (does that make sense?) icon_rolleyes.gif

The way I figure it is.........just because I share the recipe with them, it doesn't mean they'll be able to *pull it off* icon_razz.gif

CarrieBear Posted 30 May 2009 , 7:54pm
post #15 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Like some of you I only give out the recipe if it's not one of my own original ones that I invented.

I figure if I found it in a book or on-line, it's not "mine" to not share. (does that make sense?) icon_rolleyes.gif

The way I figure it is.........just because I share the recipe with them, it doesn't mean they'll be able to *pull it off* icon_razz.gif





ok that is how I felt too, I did give her the recipe becuause like I said, that one was not mine and thats how I was thinking, I got it online and they could have too, I just afraid for that next time when some one askes me for a recipe that I created but according to what every one else is saying here it makes me feel better about standing up and saying no as politley as possible. thanks for the insight so far every one, I appreciate it.

tonimarie Posted 30 May 2009 , 7:55pm
post #16 of 101

[quote="TexasSugar"] If I tell ya, I'd have to kill ya". If they get upset they get upset. They'll get over it.

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif That's funny cause that's exactly what I say to people in a joking tone of course. But do you ever notice it's only cheap skates and "friends" that ask?? icon_rolleyes.gif

indydebi Posted 30 May 2009 , 8:01pm
post #17 of 101

i was sharing this thread hwith hubby and he points out that he recalls his gramma (and even his mom) refuse to give out their recipes and it's no big deal. It's pretty common for a woman (man) not to share their recipes.

BTW, I will share recipes that I've gotten from cookbooks, internet, etc., but as someone else said, odds are slim the person can pull it off. When I'm asked for my oatmeal cookie recipe, I just shrug and say, "It's on the box". More than one person has said, "I use that recipe and MINE don't turn out this good!"

That's because they dont' put in the love and the passion like I do! icon_wink.gif

mombabytiger Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:24pm
post #18 of 101

My grandmother used to cheerfully give out her recipes. She always left out one ingredient or essential step. I didn't get the real recipes until she died.

She was a pistol. I miss her!

PinkZiab Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:30pm
post #19 of 101

I have some recipes I use that I did not create, even thought I swear by them. I have no problem giving them to anyone. I have other recipes that are either long-held family recipes or recipes I developed myself (some over months and others over years) that I will not give out to anyone.

The best thing is the look I do get when I tell them I got a recipe from foodnetwork.com or something of the sort. I've had people say, "But you're a chef!?" icon_confused.gif As if just because I'm a chef I don't ever follow recipes or look for new ideas... yeah I went to freakin' Hogwarts culinary annex... I just wave my magical whisk and the desserts appear!

Rylan Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:17am
post #20 of 101

I don't sell cakes but when a friend asks for a recipe. I politely say, "secret" and then smile. Usually people would already understand what I mean but if they keep asking for it, I'd give them a recipe similar to what they ask for (of course I wouldn't tell them it was different). This usually doesn't happen because I'm willing to share my recipes to anyone. The only time I wouldn't are my family recipes that has been passed on generations to generations.

MJ2008 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:27am
post #21 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by mombabytiger

My grandmother used to cheerfully give out her recipes. She always left out one ingredient or essential step. I didn't get the real recipes until she died.

She was a pistol. I miss her!





My great-grandmother was the same way. She didn't pass on her recipes when she died though, so my mother still can't figure out how to make her potato salad.

I never give out recipes if I am responsible for them. I did the work to make it like that and I don't plan on sharing something that will hopefully make me money one day.
I don't usually give out other recipes anyway because they can do the work to find the recipe just like I did.

blondeez Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:34am
post #22 of 101

If someone wants a recipe of mine I dont mind sharing. I like to doctor recipes up so when they ask I give them the original recipe that I started with before I added my special touch to it.

foodguy Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:47am
post #23 of 101

This reminded me of a situation that we experienced when we ran the bakery. A woman who made cakes from her home in the town where my dear Mother lived called Mom and asked her if she knew my recipe for Buttercreme Icing. She said she would never use it on the cakes that she sold but that her husband loved my Buttercreme and she would only use it on cakes she made for him......yeah, right!

My Mom, God bless her, replied, well, I think I can remember it....he starts with 100 lbs of confectioners sugar, 30 or 40 lbs. of shortening.......the lady interrupted her and said, oh, well, I guess I couldn't do that. Funny thing is, Mom had no idea what I used!!

indydebi Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:58am
post #24 of 101

foodguy, that is awesome! I tell people that I just can't comprehend recipes with things like 1/4 tsp this or 1/2 tsp of that. I've multiplied my recipes to a high volume quantity, I just don't remember how to make a "home size" batch anymore.

Hubby gets frustrated because he's married to a caterer and I can't make coffee at home! (Seriously!) Sorry, sweetie, but I don't know how to make coffee for less than 100 people! icon_eek.gif

Gretta Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 1:03am
post #25 of 101

Like others, I don't share any recipe that requires "baking".. too much science involved. It takes a baker to know when the dough or batter is right or when it is done. It's really a matter of self protection. I once gave out a recipe and then was accused of leaving out an ingredient or some crucial step because it didn't turn out right. Hmmm... let's see, are our oven temps. the same? Did you over/under mix? Did you account for humidity? Was you leavening agent old or did you kill it? Now, ask me for a soup, salad or main course recipe and I'll write it out for you myself.
Btw-- I recently gave out a recipe and just got a call from the individual wanting to varify the ingredients because she submitted it for a recipe book!?! icon_eek.gif She then informed me that she was using her own name (because people would know her) and then asked if it was OK. Well, what could I say, she already had the recipe and shared it with the publisher. Needless to say, "NO MORE RECIPES FOR YOU!"

bobwonderbuns Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 1:11am
post #26 of 101

I like to tell them "Well I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you... icon_twisted.gif " icon_lol.gif

kellertur Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 1:41am
post #27 of 101

I also have no problem sharing recipes that were not mine to begin with, but I now only use my own developed recipes (three recipes that I make variations to change flavor). Anyway, I'm also an exclusively vegan baker so when people taste my cake, they often want the recipe.
I politely say "no, sorry, I'm writing a cookbook someday with my daughter." (which is true). If they get bent out of shape over my answer, it's their "stuff", not mine.

So many people have "entitlement" issues, or no manners. The rudeness some people exhibit is overwhelming at times. icon_sad.gif

I'm waiting for the cliche: "you'll never work in this town again"... wouldn't that be funny over a "recipe"? icon_lol.gif

CarrieBear Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:24am
post #28 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretta

Btw-- I recently gave out a recipe and just got a call from the individual wanting to varify the ingredients because she submitted it for a recipe book!?! icon_eek.gif She then informed me that she was using her own name (because people would know her) and then asked if it was OK. Well, what could I say, she already had the recipe and shared it with the publisher. Needless to say, "NO MORE RECIPES FOR YOU!"




wow! ohhhh man if anyone ever did that to me and it was a recipe I developed myself, Id be so mad icon_mad.gif
that is why I am not going to give out the recipes I have developed myself.

stephaniescakenj Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:38am
post #29 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretta


Btw-- I recently gave out a recipe and just got a call from the individual wanting to varify the ingredients because she submitted it for a recipe book!?! icon_eek.gif She then informed me that she was using her own name (because people would know her) and then asked if it was OK. Well, what could I say, she already had the recipe and shared it with the publisher. Needless to say, "NO MORE RECIPES FOR YOU!"




I would have told her HELL NO! That would infuriate me beyond belief, to the point where I would want to find out who the publisher is icon_mad.gif

CristyInMiami Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:42am
post #30 of 101

This drives me nuts!

I have people ask me if they can come over to my house and watch me so they can take notes. I'm in AWE every single time.


I also have had people tell me that they can't afford my cookie bouquets so they want me to tell them where I get all my materials, the cookie recipe, and how I decorate them. Do they want me to lend them my cutters too or just go over and bake it at their house. Sheesh, its pretty ridiculous.

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