Limit For # People At Tasting?

Business By playingwithsugar Updated 9 Sep 2009 , 8:08pm by cylstrial

playingwithsugar Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:41pm
post #1 of 16

I just got a phone call from a cake buddy who posed this problem to me -

She's got a tasting scheduled next weekend for a wedding cake. The cake is for 125 people. The bride-to-be called last week and asked if she could bring her mother along. Well, my friend figured what's one more fork? Now the B2B just called her again a few minutes ago and asked if her father and future in-laws could come, too.

So, since I don't sell cakes, I thought I would come to the pros on this one.

May I ask -

If you charge a tasting fee, how much is it? (yeah, I know this ? has been asked before)

and

What is the maximum number of people you are willing to accommodate for a tasting, whether you charge for the tasting or not?

Thanks!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

15 replies
patticakesnc Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:01pm
post #2 of 16

I think 5-6 people are a bit much myself. But being it is the inlaws to be and the parents I would personally find it hard to say no. Although I would tell them that I have a # limit and each additional person for the tasting will be $$ each. I can't tell you what to charge but if you have to make enough for 6 people and only planned on 2 you should charge. Also, with her I think that I would confirm the flavors and make them stick to it. She sounds like one that might end up wanting to have 10 samples of different flavors.

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:21pm
post #3 of 16

I do free tastings, but I limit it to the bride, the groom, and one other person. I send out a confirmation before the appointment and emphasize that there's only room for that many people. One girl made her fiance stay home so that she could bring an extra friend, so I guess they're getting the message!

If someone asked if they could bring more people (like your friend's experiencing) I'd tell them that I could send samples home with them (I wouldn't charge for that, but they wouldn't be big pieces, either).

My problem with having so many people at the appointment isn't so much the extra cake it takes, but the confusion it causes when everyone's looking through pictures at the same time, all talking at once, and giving out way too many opinions. My contract is with the bride and groom, not ten extra people, so their opinions are the only ones I need to hear.

I once had a bride bring both sets of parents, the groom and her bridesmaids. She ended up bursting into tears after having everyone there with all different opinions telling her what kind of cake to get. You could tell that she'd been followed around by this group for every part of the planning process, and this was just the last straw. The next day I set the 3-person limit!

indydebi Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:29pm
post #4 of 16

From my blog on this very topic: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/search/label/sampling%20wedding

By the way, a sampling is not a free food party, so lose the idea of bringing your entire wedding party to the bakery to for a taste-testing dessert party. I know one bride who got the door slammed in her face when she showed up at the bakerâs with 10 people in tow. It doesnât take a baseball team to decide if you like white or carrot cake.

In my email that confirms the sampling appt, I tell them they are welcome to bring up to a total of 4 people because I only have 4 chairs. If they bring 6, then 2 are going to stand and they are either splitting the cake-for-4 into 6 portions or the 2 standing folks are just going to watch (and the point of them coming would be-e-e-e-e-e-e ..... WHAT? icon_confused.gif )

So I suggest that your friend tell this bride,"You're welcome to bring whoever you want but 2 will have to wait outside and they won't get any cake."

For those in this situation, perhaps the suggestion of "If you need that many people to help you make a cake decision, perhaps you should buy 2 or 3 cakes to take home for them to taste."

playingwithsugar Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:31pm
post #5 of 16

I really should subscribe to that blog.

Thanks, All, for your responses.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

AZCakeGirl Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:37pm
post #6 of 16

I offer complimentary tastings for all wedding cake orders. I know some people don't do this, but I figure it's worth my time when the odds are that they will prob My tastings usually have 4-5 different flavors & fillings to sample. I always tell the bride that the samples are made for 2 & that is what's recommended, but if they want to cut them into 4's & each bring a 2nd opinion, it will still give a nice sized sample for everyone.

If they want to bring more people with them, then that is up to them, but they do not get any additional samples unless they pay for my time to make additional samples. I also let them know that there are only 4 chairs at my tasting table & it will be standing room only for anyone else who would like to come along, although they are welcome.

So far, my explaining this has worked pretty well & I haven't had anyone ask to bring more than 4 people when they realize they have to pay for extras. I think when you get more than 4 people, it is just too much confusion & too many opinions going around about what flavor is best. It makes it hard for the bride & groom to make a decision.

leah_s Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:29pm
post #7 of 16

You'd know the ONE time I didn't give out a limit, or inquire about how many people the bride was bringing would be the one (last week) who showed up with 5 people in tow. It was totally a dessert party. They were at the other end of the table, while the bride an I were trying to go over her contract. It was just totally inappropriate. I'm normally soooo good about getting that info at the appointment call, and I just neglected it, and *bam*. grrrr

Three people is plenty. Once you get to four people, you'll get 6 opinions on evrything.

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DebBTX Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 1:37pm
post #8 of 16

Do y'all have a policy for children?

-Debbie B.

leah_s Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 2:39pm
post #9 of 16

Just say no to chidren.

indydebi Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:00pm
post #10 of 16

My email states: "We recommend leaving children at home or with gramma as a catering facility is not a fun place for children while mom and dad are trying to conduct a business meeting."

Note the phrase "BUsiness meeting" is used to illustrate this is not a fun-n-eating time. This is BUSINESS.

CakeForte Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 8:54pm
post #11 of 16

3 MAXIMUM. Like Debi said, not a free cake fiesta and you will lose control over the meeting, and probably not get the sale.

KHalstead Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:16pm
post #12 of 16

I do complimentary servings usually, but have just decided to charge $10.00 for the tasting and then apply it to the final order, this way if anyone wants a tasting for even a small birthday cake they can have one...but they're paying for it, if they don't order something.

I tell people the tastings are available on orders totalling over $100.00, and that the $10.00 is applied to their final balance if they choose to order.

my tastings are for 4 samples (not cakes...they are SAMPLES) and they can choose 4 flavors of cake OR filling......so if they want 2 flavors of cake, they can have 2 fillings/ 1 cake, 3 fillings..and so on. Each additional flavor is $5.00 PER SERVING......so it will be an extra $20.00 for one extra flavor for all 4 servings.

I usually make a 4" round single layered cake and cut it into 4ths....or I'll bake 4 cupcakes.....depends on my mood. Each gets iced and the fillings are separate, each in their own piping bag so they can pick and choose what fillings/cake flavors to put together (this way I'm not filling a chocolate, white, and yellow cake all with strawberry filling).........and then whatever fillings/cake is left they take with them. if i feel like it, sometimes I'll send a few mini cupcakes of each flavor with them in a box with a nice bow.
One bride told me she had to do the tasting in the car while her and groom were travelling through (she was out of town bride, but was passing through and wanted to test the cake, even though she already placed her order on the advice of a friend).....so i put plates, forks, napkins, and 2 bottles of water in a nice gift bag with tissue paper along with the box of cupcake samples.
i make cakes for our local party store, so she picked up the samples from there and they said when she saw the bag and the box with the bow she said "Oh I already know I'm going to love this cake and THIS cake decorator".....so I guess people's first impressions make a difference.

mommyle Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:16pm
post #13 of 16

I haven't had to set a limit yet, b/c I ask how many will be coming. Once I ask that, I think that better manners come into play. And my "portions" are mini cupcakes. I give a choc, van, and one other (lemon or carrot cake usually). Just to kind of show them that yes, I can bake, and their cake will be tasty no matter what they pick.

Unfortunately, I had a tasting one day when my 2 yr old was here and my DH wasn't. He ate the chocolate cupcakes and the fondant flowers. I had to get more out of the freezer. Little embarassing, but the mom and btb laughed. I'm doing the wedding next month.

CoutureCake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:20pm
post #14 of 16

I used to conduct tastings as follows.. I would meet with bride/groom/money party... I'd send them home with what's left of 2 torted single-layer 6" cakes (towards the end I was cutting the 6's in half and putting the white snug against the chocolate and doing the half-white/chocolate thing with them..)...

The thing is your friend needs to decide for him/herself what is the way to go for THEIR business. Honestly, it's hard to say "no" to the parents, OTOH, I would recommend her saying something to the effect of "Three are complimentary (her/FI/friend or family) with there being enough samples you'll get to take some home, any more than that at the tasting and it's $10/pp.. and repeat Debi's post that it's a business meeting and how many CEO's does she want to have input on their wedding cake."

I've done the meetings where everyone and their little brother come along and like PP have stated, it's not that it's too many people to deal with for samples at once, it's that the poor bride gets a case of "Mother/Father/MOG/FOG Smother" and this is the bride & groom's cake even if the parents are funding it. If the bride and groom are responsible enough to get married, they're responsible enough to pick out a wedding cake WITHIN their budget even if someone else is flipping the bill..

While it's great to involve the parents it'd be better for them to purchase a small 6" cake (let's be real here, nothing fancy, just to taste) and take it home to eat and discuss. This just has a recipe for tears...

KoryAK Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:43pm
post #15 of 16

When ppl ask me how many can come I tell them I don't limit it but more than a couple will hurt not help them. They usually make the right decision.

cylstrial Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 8:08pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyle



Unfortunately, I had a tasting one day when my 2 yr old was here and my DH wasn't. He ate the chocolate cupcakes and the fondant flowers. I had to get more out of the freezer. Little embarassing, but the mom and btb laughed. I'm doing the wedding next month.




Awww....that's a cute story! icon_biggrin.gif

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