So my policy for tastings has been offering 4 cake flavors- 4" cakes with different types of icing on each- they get to pick 2 flavors and fillings, then I pick 2 from whatever I'm baking for the week.
But, I am getting a little tired of coming up with the 2 flavors that I think they would like and then hearing- "that's good, but I don't think anyone would like flavor A...." sometimes they really like the flavors I pick, but sometimes they don't, and I usually agonize over what to serve them, so it really defeats the purpose in the first place.
How many flavors do you licensed home bakers offer to taste? Its not like I have a lot of cake sitting around, and some weeks I do 3 tastings, and other weeks I do none. I don't like to keep cakes in the freezer for more than a week or two, because this is the cake that will help them decide to book with me or not...
Should I let them choose 3 flavors and just be done? That way at least I know they're going to like what they get? Or, is 2 flavors and fillings enough?
Here's a thread asking the same question/s with lots of responses:
I'm not a licensed home baker ... I have a comm'l storefront and I dont' have any cakes "sitting around" either. Even if I did, I wouldn't cut a slice from a 10" cake that I had for sale just so someone can taste it. THat would pretty much make the 10" cake unsellable now.
I think it depends on what you view as the purpose of the tasting?
If you view it as a time when the bride comes in to sample most everything you offer so she can decide which one she likes, then you pretty much have commited to baking lots of flavors.
I view it as a time when a bride sees if she likes my style of baking. I tell them, "My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake except it tastes like lemon." They decide if they like my baking based on the "samples" they are given.
I'm also a caterer, so I pick the foods .... they don't come in with the expectations of sampling everything on my menu so they can pick from that. They come to see if they like my cooking based on the "samples" of food they are given.
I present them with 3 flavors, white/choc/red velvet (the 3rd flavor can vary) and an assortment of icings and fillings that they can mix-n-match to taste various flavor combinations. They don't get to choose the cake flavors for the sampling. I tell them "These are not the only flavors we make, but it's what we're using for a sampling for you today."
I have a licensed home business, and I only do tastings once a week, and not every week, either. I offer a basic menu, chocoalte, yellow and almond, and usually one other fruit flavor, depends what I'm making that week.
They don't get to choose anything, usually. If I happen to be making something that someone has asked to try I'll make it some extra, but I don't go out of my way to. The basic flavors will give them an idea of what my cakes are like. If they book their cakes with me, I'll try to make some extra of specific things for them to try between when they book and their wedding date, but only a couple.
I have had people send me a list of ten flavors and twenty fillings that they want to try, and I write back and tell them that I'll have what I have. If they don't like it that's fine, I have a feeling that I don't want to work with them anyway. If someone's that demanding before they even book with you, what's going to keep them from being that way through the whole process? I don't need the extra stress!
I determine the number of samples by the size of their reception, info I get during the initial phone call. If its a tiny cake, say 50 servings or less, they get 1 flavor to sample. 50-100 potential servings sold gets 2 samples. Over 100 potential sale, then they get 3. That's the max. I have 9 flavors on the "tasting menu" that they can choose from: white, almond white, strawberry, lemon, orange, chocolate, chocolate almond and chocolate raspberry. Now I pretty much always have white batter and chocolate batter on hand. And from those two batters I can make all the other flavors.
I have had people send me a list of ten flavors and twenty fillings that they want to try,
I had a bride email the 4 meats she wanted to try (times her party of four = 16 servings of meat) plus the 2 kinds of potatoes (= 8 servings of potatoes) plus the 3 vegetables "...that you can choose for us to sample") = 12 servings of vegetables) plus rolls plus fresh fruit (what? you've never tasted a freakin' strawberry before? )
Needless to say (and why do we say "needless to say" and then say it anyway? ) she didnt' get all of that food, which is almost more than I make for thanksgiving! She was an arrogant know-it-all (because wow! she worked in a school cafeteria so she knew ALL about food!) and I knew from the git-go that I had no desire to work with her.
And oh gosh darn gee, I THINK her quote got lost in cyberspace!
I had a bride email the 4 meats she wanted to try (times her party of four = 16 servings of meat) plus the 2 kinds of potatoes (= 8 servings of potatoes) plus the 3 vegetables "...that you can choose for us to sample") :
At least she was very considerate and was going to let you choose which to make!
Seriously? That is insane! That is the reason I am asking-I used to get emails back with five or six flavor combos- many for things I don't usually have around. (carrot cake, italian cream, etc) So I'd have to make a whole recipe for a 4" cake- times 5 or 6 flavors.
So maybe 3 chosen flavors is plenty.
The reason I was specific on the type of business is that when I worked at another bakery, we would have samples of all flavors every day. I also know of another bakery in the area that has samples available every day too, and I know very well that I can't compete with that immediate gratification!
Leah S- I really like the idea of a tasting menu- what a great thing- that way I can have those ingredients available on short notice!
So I'd have to make a whole recipe for a 4" cake- times 5 or 6 flavors.
i bake once for every 9 appts. I bake each flavor in an 8" square pan. cut each pan into 9 pieces (3 rows by 3 columns). This gives you pieces between 2-3" square ... plenty big enough for 4 people to "sample". Store the 9 pieces in a ziplok bag ... pull one of each out to thaw about 30 minutes before the sampling appt.
You can ice each one (I'd just use a star tip and do an up-n-down design on the sides and top), but what I do now is just present the naked cakes with dollops of icing and fillings on a tray. They can then mix-n-match different icings/fillings with each cake. They get much more variety this way than they would if you presented them with an already-iced-filled cake.
I used to do the fully iced-filled cake, but this way is way less work for me (yay!) and gives the bride more variety (yay for her!).
I am new at this, but I learned this here in CC.
The tasting is free, I let them pick two flavors, if they want more than that, there is a charge, I explain: I will have to make you a special 6" cake, and then you get to take it home in a box. I charged them $15 for each 6" cake. My last bride picked two additional flavors. So I made her 4 different combinations. At the end of the tasting she left me a $30 check for the two cakes, and she will be ordering the cake from us. $1,015 cake.
I love CC ideas. First time using CC advice about the tasting and it worked!!! The bride left so happy with her two boxes.
You people rock!
Here is a pic of the tasting. I am just starting in this biz, so I am so proud of my baby steps. I take pics of everything.
The tasting setup looks great!
I was also on your website and wondered if that was a template? Or if a company made that for you? Either way, I would love to know more about your website. I really like it!