What Does A Tasting Look Like For You And Your Shop/business

Business By yelle66 Updated 10 Jul 2009 , 3:52pm by havnfun

yelle66 Posted 23 Jun 2009 , 4:08pm
post #1 of 43

I would love to get some run-downs from all of you more seasoned cake pros on what a tasting looks like for you. I've done about a dozen of them now and they are fine, but sometime I feel like they are lacking something. I had a really quiet couple who I don't think was very serious about booking in the first place last week and I just wondered what I should be doing during the whole thing. They didn't even want to talk much about design. I work out of my home, so I am just trying to find ways to make people feel more comfortable. Should I have a price breakdown or something else like that that we should discuss? Usually, what I do is invite them to sit down I have a book for them to look through and I get their cakes and serve them and just talk a little about what their day will be like, where it is, etc. What else should I be discussing with them?

TIA for any help!

Danielle

42 replies
ccr03 Posted 23 Jun 2009 , 4:21pm
post #2 of 43

You need to be selling yourself! The tasting consultation is where you design the cake, pick flavors, and an estimated quote. I go into every consult with the mindframe that this is already another cake order - not that they are still 'looking around'. I get all the info needed for the contract - phones, emails, addresses, location of the reception, ceremony time and location - EVERYTHING. I'm not gonna keep going back and forth into what I need. I ask for color/napkin samples.

indydebi Posted 24 Jun 2009 , 1:53pm
post #3 of 43

What ccr said! The Rules of Selling: (1) Sell YOURSELF (2) sell your company/business, then and ONLY then can you (3) sell your product.

You are asking them to trust you with their wedding cake. why should they? Convince them why. Show them why. Get their comfort level high with why. (woooo! a rhyme!)

What are you asking them and how are you asking it?

If you're asking "What kind of cake design do you want?", then stop that. It's too broad of a question, it's too overwhelming for them. Unless they are one of those rare brides who walk in with a photo and says, "This is the cake I want. Discussion closed.", then you need to go thru the process.

- Do you like cakes that are stacked, which means cakes touching, or do you like pillars between the tiers?
- Do you prefer round or square cakes? (then tell them how many tiers they can have with the round or square cakes).
- Have you seen cakes that you like or are we starting from scratch? (If starting from scratch .... "ok, let's look at some photos.")

Etc. They don't know how to order a wedding cake. They are depending on you to guide them ghru the process. Show them how they can trust you to go thru the process with them. Confirm their comfort level.

CakeForte Posted 24 Jun 2009 , 3:27pm
post #4 of 43

I thank them for coming in to see me, explain my background and how I became a designer. This is where I say that I have worked on HUNDREDS of weddings, so if they have any knd of questions, please ask me, Then I explain that I will ask them some questions so I can get a feel for the theme/style/ size of their event. Then I show the photos according to what they said. Then I offer them samples as they look through the photos. As they are tasting, I prepare a price quote.

Very rarely do they come in knowing what they want for their cake, which is fine because I don't design it with them until after I receive a deposit.

mkm25 Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:07pm
post #5 of 43

I am new to wedding cake consultations (I've had 2 so far - 1 that knew exactly what she wanted and 1 that had no clue). Does anyone know of a really good book/magazine to have on hand for wedding cake ideas? I have a few, but I don't like handing the bride a bunch of books to look through on the spot.

Also, I know this is somewhat off-topic, but...I am a home baker, and I freeze my batter and then just make mini cupcakes for cake tastings. That way, the cake is fresh & moist and I don't have to worry about taking up all the extra space in my freezer (I just freeze the leftover batter). I understand that baking powder may not be active if I do this, but I haven't seen much of a problem in the mini cupcakes - they're so tiny anyway! For those of you who freeze your cakes, do you have problems with moisture? How long do you keep frozen samples? Does anyone do it my way by freezing the batter?

mkm25 Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:08pm
post #6 of 43

I am new to wedding cake consultations (I've had 2 so far - 1 that knew exactly what she wanted and 1 that had no clue). Does anyone know of a really good book/magazine to have on hand for wedding cake ideas? I have a few, but I don't like handing the bride a bunch of books to look through on the spot.

Also, I know this is somewhat off-topic, but...I am a home baker, and I freeze my batter and then just make mini cupcakes for cake tastings. That way, the cake is fresh & moist and I don't have to worry about taking up all the extra space in my freezer (I just freeze the leftover batter). I understand that baking powder may not be active if I do this, but I haven't seen much of a problem in the mini cupcakes - they're so tiny anyway! For those of you who freeze your cakes, do you have problems with moisture? How long do you keep frozen samples? Does anyone do it my way by freezing the batter?

mkm25 Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:09pm
post #7 of 43

I am new to wedding cake consultations (I've had 2 so far - 1 that knew exactly what she wanted and 1 that had no clue). Does anyone know of a really good book/magazine to have on hand for wedding cake ideas? I have a few, but I don't like handing the bride a bunch of books to look through on the spot.

Also, I know this is somewhat off-topic, but...I am a home baker, and I freeze my batter and then just make mini cupcakes for cake tastings. That way, the cake is fresh & moist and I don't have to worry about taking up all the extra space in my freezer (I just freeze the leftover batter). I understand that baking powder may not be active if I do this, but I haven't seen much of a problem in the mini cupcakes - they're so tiny anyway! For those of you who freeze your cakes, do you have problems with moisture? How long do you keep frozen samples? Does anyone do it my way by freezing the batter?

IsaSW Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:21pm
post #8 of 43

Hi, I am new at this too. Like 7 tastings so far. 4 cakes ordered.
I don't freeze anything, I like to bake the cake 2 days before the tasting, since this will be the real thing. I cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 8inch square pan. Gives me enough to make a 3 layer sample for 3 or 4 people. I just leave it cover in the pan on my countertop, and then I fill the cake a couple hours before the tasting. The filling and the icing I keep in the refrigerator until I am ready to fill and frost. Hope this helps.

IsaSW Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:22pm
post #9 of 43

Hi, I am new at this too. Like 7 tastings so far. 4 cakes ordered.
I don't freeze anything, I like to bake the cake 2 days before the tasting, since this will be the real thing. I cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 8inch square pan. Gives me enough to make a 3 layer sample for 3 or 4 people. I just leave it cover in the pan on my countertop, and then I fill the cake a couple hours before the tasting. The filling and the icing I keep in the refrigerator until I am ready to fill and frost. Hope this helps.

IsaSW Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 7:23pm
post #10 of 43

Hi, I am new at this too. Like 7 tastings so far. 4 cakes ordered.
I don't freeze anything, I like to bake the cake 2 days before the tasting, since this will be the real thing. I cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 8inch square pan. Gives me enough to make a 3 layer sample for 3 or 4 people. I just leave it cover in the pan on my countertop, and then I fill the cake a couple hours before the tasting. The filling and the icing I keep in the refrigerator until I am ready to fill and frost. Hope this helps.

ButtercupMama Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 2:59am
post #11 of 43

I caked from home for many years before opening up a retail space, and I found that I was actually the uncomfortable one, having strangers in my home! I tried going to their home, but sometimes I felt ridiculous driving so far with free cake and albums when I didn't get chosen to make the cake. Things went much better when we were on common ground; usually I would suggest a local coffee shop, or meet halfway at a coffee shop.
I'd bring boxed samples for them to bring home. (They often busted it out on the spot; luckily my favorite Starbucks knew me and didn't mind!)

I have a contract, and would just begin rattling off questions to initiate the discussion; but yeah, you do have to run the show, and keep it moving along.
It's such a challenge because you never know who's going to walk thru that door! They could be easy-going or someone who busts your chops the whole time; they could be boisterous or super quiet; I've even had couples who actually fought over design elements, and not in a cute way! And I've also had to try to calm arguments between mothers and daughters. Woo!

Appointments can be a challenge, but as indydebi said, you really do have to sell yourself. Strangely enough, if they find you to be likeable, trustworthy and competant, you will probably get their business!

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 3:35am
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtercupMama

I've even had couples who actually fought over design elements, and not in a cute way! And I've also had to try to calm arguments between mothers and daughters. Woo!



I've found a good way to diffuse those is to lean back, start doodling something on my note pad (or type something on the laptop) and without looking at them, say, "Ahhhh...... your first fight, and *I* get to be here!" (smile sweetly, keep doodling!)

They usually relax a bit and laugh about "oh it's not our FIRST one!", but it also subtley points out their behavior is getting on the "out of line" side of things.

Being subtle is not my forte, but I'm pretty good at it in this situation! icon_rolleyes.gif

Destinys_Delights Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 2:29pm
post #13 of 43

I had my first cake tasting this week and I don't think it went great. I had my portfolio for them to look at and I made cupcakes in different flavors. I thought everything was going until it was time to start choosing the flavors. The bride doesn't like cake and really didn't care and was going to pick the yellow and lemon cake but the grooms favorite cake is carrot cake (he wasn't there) and the wedding planner tried the carrot cake she didn't like it said it tasted to much like spice cake. So they said they would call me back and let me know. I left the extra cupcakes there so the groom can try them but haven't heard back. Any suggestions on how to handle if the customer doesn't like the cake, I just felt like leaving. icon_cry.gif

IsaSW Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 3:03pm
post #14 of 43

First ask them what flavors they want to try and then have the most complicated one in two versions a spongy and a dense. That way they don't say they don't like it, you asked them which version do they like best. Sorry to hear they didn't like the cake.

Andreas_Cakes1 Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 3:31pm
post #15 of 43

I am brand new to this also. I've had two tastings so far and 8 cakes ordered. I meet half way at, usually, a starbucks. They're easy to find for both of us and they usually don't mind. I use baby cakes(mini cupcakes) for my tastings with the filling on top instead of frosting. I sit down we introduce ourselves then I dive right into it. Usually explain how I started, how they found me and then we go into details. I ask how many people will be attending, what kind of event it is, what ideas they have, or had in mind. Then we draw something up. I come up with two ideas and I let them choose the idea. Then we right up the contract and I get a 50% deposit. It's worked best for me and I've gottent the cake every time. As long as they find you friendly and trustworthy, and like what you've done so far, they will choose you. Don't give them the option to choose someone else, SELL YOURSELF!

Andreas_Cakes1 Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 3:32pm
post #16 of 43

I am brand new to this also. I've had two tastings so far and 8 cakes ordered. I meet half way at, usually, a starbucks. They're easy to find for both of us and they usually don't mind. I use baby cakes(mini cupcakes) for my tastings with the filling on top instead of frosting. I sit down we introduce ourselves then I dive right into it. Usually explain how I started, how they found me and then we go into details. I ask how many people will be attending, what kind of event it is, what ideas they have, or had in mind. Then we draw something up. I come up with two ideas and I let them choose the idea. Then we right up the contract and I get a 50% deposit. It's worked best for me and I've gottent the cake every time. As long as they find you friendly and trustworthy, and like what you've done so far, they will choose you. Don't give them the option to choose someone else, SELL YOURSELF!

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:02pm
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destinys_Delights

The bride doesn't like cake and really didn't care and was going to pick the yellow and lemon cake but the grooms favorite cake is carrot cake (he wasn't there) and the wedding planner tried the carrot cake she didn't like it said it tasted to much like spice cake. So they said they would call me back and let me know. I left the extra cupcakes there so the groom can try them but haven't heard back. Any suggestions on how to handle if the customer doesn't like the cake, I just felt like leaving. icon_cry.gif



As they get into their personal preferences, I always remind them "there will be 148 OTHER people at the reception ... what flavor of cake do you think THEY will enjoy?"

When they can't decide, I guide them into what I want to make. "The most popular cake I sell is white cake with red raspberry fillling. How about we have that one for the largest tier, since that's what the majority of your guests will be eating? We can make the top tier carrot for the groom ... he can have his own special cake."

I also remind them that what they decide here, today, is not etched in stone, "..... so let's go ahead and put down carrot for the top tier (for the groom) and if you change your mind, just let me know."

With SOMETHING written down, it's closer to an actual order as opposed to "oh we'll get back to you." It's a subtle psychological thing, but if SOMETHING is written down, they "think" they've decided. It's more effort to change something than it is to call me back. Sounds weird, I know, but it's a psychological thing.

(Dang this is good stuff! I should write this down!) icon_biggrin.gif

miny Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:29pm
post #18 of 43

Indy do you serve cupcakes or the actual cake? If it's cake, how big is your slice? And last question, how many choices do you offer in a tasting?
And yes, I agree with you, this IS good stuff, I'm writing it down!!! thumbs_up.gif

zubia Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:29pm
post #19 of 43

(Dang this is good stuff! I should write this down!) icon_biggrin.gif[/quote]

don't worry there are tons of people (like me) who are saving your pearls of wisdom.

miny Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:30pm
post #20 of 43

Indy do you serve cupcakes or the actual cake? If it's cake, how big is your slice? And last question, how many choices do you offer in a tasting?
And yes, I agree with you, this IS good stuff, I'm writing it down!!! thumbs_up.gif

zubia Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:31pm
post #21 of 43

(Dang this is good stuff! I should write this down!) icon_biggrin.gif[/quote]

don't worry there are tons of people (like me) who are saving your pearls of wisdom.

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 5:56pm
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by miny

Indy do you serve cupcakes or the actual cake? If it's cake, how big is your slice? And last question, how many choices do you offer in a tasting?
And yes, I agree with you, this IS good stuff, I'm writing it down!!! thumbs_up.gif




I bake once for every 9 samplings.

I bake three 8" square cakes (vanilla, choc and usually red velvet). Cut it into 9 squares. So each square is just under 3x3". Throw 'em in the freezer in a ziplok bag, and just pull one of each out for a sampling. They then cut bites from the cake(s) and mix-n-match with the various icings and fillings.

To serve each person 3 full size cupcakes is a LOT of cake ..... I couldn't eat that much cake in one sitting.

miny Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 6:16pm
post #23 of 43

Yeah, you are right, it'll be a lot of cake wasted, after all those are classic flavors and maybe just put the fillings and icing on little spoons. Thanks again for the tip, you are always very helpful! thumbs_up.gif

lardbutt Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 6:18pm
post #24 of 43

I'm wondering for those of you who meet somewhere for the tasting....do you get permission? Do you at least buy drinks or bottled water from the establishment? I heard some say the meet at Panera Bread. I want to do this because I have five kids and it has not worked out to do this in my home!!! I not only have the stress of baking the samples, but making certain my house is spottless. I really want to find a good place for this!

Destinys_Delights Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 6:25pm
post #25 of 43

Thanks, I guess I have to take this first tasting as a learning experience, because indydebi is right If i would have been writing down the flavors that she did like she might have been more willing to just use th flavors she already picked and left the 3rd flavor out. Maybe my next one will be better. Also it kinda hurt my feelings I haven't had anyone say they didn't lke my cake before. But guess thats part of the business.

jammjenks Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 6:49pm
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I couldn't eat that much cake in one sitting.




wimp icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 6:53pm
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I couldn't eat that much cake in one sitting.



wimp icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif




ok .... I could, at night, curled up on the couch, watching TV, in the dark. icon_rolleyes.gif

mkm25 Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 4:44pm
post #28 of 43

Thanks, everyone, for your advice! Now, I'm just wondering, do you all use carbon-copy contracts or do you make a copy for the client before they leave the consultation? If you use carbon copies, where do you buy them?

miny Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 6:20pm
post #29 of 43

If I'm not mistaken there are some contracts somewhere in the galleries that people had posted, you can print out one and fix it a little to make it your own. I'll try to look for it and get back to you icon_wink.gif

jhutch04 Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 7:06pm
post #30 of 43

I am new to this as well. I have had one tasting, and got the order, and in the process of scheduling another one. I know I was more nervous than they were. I had them come to my house, so of course I was cleaning psychotically before they got here. The bride and I had exchanged many many emails, and had already decided on a design, so all that was left was the tasting and the deposit. The bride isn't big on cake so she kinda picked at her piece, but the groom polished his off in about 30 seconds and then finished the brides piece. I just made a 2 layer 8 inch cake because I didn't want to have left over batter, and then took the leftover cake to work the next day. The thing I was most nervous about was that I tried a new cake recipe and I didn't have a chance to try it before they came over, so I was so afraid it was gonna taste like crap. But they loved it, I hope I relax more the more cakes I do. icon_redface.gif

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