Cake Tastings

Business By Megan1979 Updated 29 Oct 2013 , 7:55pm by BahaQueen

Megan1979 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:35am
post #1 of 27

I am settng up a home based cake business in Australia and I have been asked if I can do cake tastings for wedding cakes. I am wondering how everyone else does this. Do you make a cake of each flavour, ice it then freeze it until someone comes for a tasting?

26 replies
antonia74 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 11:05am
post #2 of 27

(We use cupcakes and we hold group consultation dates. Here's what we do....)


I've seen a lot of businesses that charge for tastings (usually $25-$50 or so). If the client does go ahead and book with them, they often deduct this charge from the grand total as a courtesy. If the client decides to go elsewhere, there's no financial loss.

If you really don't want to hold tasting appointments, you could simply offer her a discount on a 6" cake as a "sample" she could try out...that way you are still being paid fairly for the product AND she gets to try before she buys.

As for tastings, what we do is offer a "Tasting Consultation Date" on an Sunday every 3 months on which we do not have a wedding booked and we are available to hold appointments. We gather up 20 or so clients who have recently inquired about our services for weddings/large celebrations and we invite them to a private 30-minute appointment that day.

Here's some things we do:


-I make a timetable from 10am to 7pm and fill it in with appointments each hour. I invite the clients to select the time that is most convenient for them that day, then fill in my schedule to capacity.

-one week before the appointment dates, I email the client to re-confirm their scheduled time/give them driving directions and tell them what to bring to the appointment (i.e. fabric swatches, invites, photos from magazines, photos off my website they liked)

-the night before/morning of the consultations, I bake all my samples fresh and ice them only that day. I want the client to taste exactly how fresh their wedding cake will be, so I NEVER freeze samples...but if I only had a consultation every once in a while, it's totally understandable to have to do so.

-I greet each couple personally and sit across from them in my studio

-I introduce myself and tell them a bit about my experience, my style and how long I've been doing this

-I then ask them to tell me about their wedding/theme/feel of the day/colours/flowers/guest count and I write EVERTHING down

-I ask if they want their cake to feed everyone a main dessert slice, or is it to be on a buffet table later in the evening after the meal? (great for guessing sizes/numbers they'll need)

-they show me the materials they have brought and for each item I ask what it is that they like/dislike about it (this is the BEST question, you learn so much quickly!)

-I then show examples from my portfolio of cakes that seem similar to what they are asking for and see what sketch we can come up with on the spot. I personalize their cake to exactly what colours/design/feel they are going for.

-when that is roughly decided, I bring out the freshly-baked cupcake samples with big swirls of matching buttercream on top (which are the 5 main cake flavours that I offer) though I tell them everything is personalized, so if they can think it up...I can probably make it! I do leave the room at this point so they can honestly and privately say which ones they like/don't like to each other.

(I go to my kitchen where I pack a little box of samples and wait for 5 minutes for them to eat privately.)

-after about 5 minutes, I return and they have usually chosen a flavour or flavours.

-I give them a little box of extra cupcake samples to take home to let other friends/family try it out. THEY OOOOH AND AHHHH at this every time! It costs about $2 to give them 5 extra samples packaged in a gorgeous little box, tied with a ribbon with my business card on top...and it really makes the sale!

-I always walk them to my door and shake their hands again, letting them know it was nice to have finally met them face to face and that I will email them their information package within the next 2 weeks (IF YOU SAY 2 WEEKS...THEN MAKE SURE YOU ONLY TAKE 2 WEEKS!!! THIS IS YOUR FIRST PROMISE AND YOU ARE JUDGED ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU MEET YOUR DEADLINE!!!!)

-within 10 days/2 weeks, I type up their cake quote with a great colour sketch and email it to them. They either send their deposit cheque to confirm their booking, or pass. I'd say my ratio of booking to not booking is about 12:1 and I credit it to the little things like private consultations, fresh big samples, beautiful boxes of yummy cupcakes to take home and a fun sketch of their potential wedding cake.


Here are some EXCELLENT threads where members here discuss tastings & consultations. Read these! They will really help you out.

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-68523-samples.html

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-14134-tastings.html

Megan1979 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 12:40pm
post #3 of 27

Wow, thank you so much for your detailed reply - it was awesome. I love the cupcake idea. Once I have increased my client base etc I will definately use your method as it seems nice a personal etc. As i am just starting out maybe I might ask them what flavours they have in mind (most people usually know what flavour cake they like) and do a few different variations.

Echooo3 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 10:41am
post #4 of 27

Silvia Weinstock has this video and I love how she presents her cakes and fillings at the end. I've never have had to do this but I do have this bookmarked for when the occassion arises.


IsaSW Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 5:52pm
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Quote:

-I give them a little box of extra cupcake samples to take home to let other friends/family try it out. THEY OOOOH AND AHHHH at this every time! It costs about $2 to give them 5 extra samples packaged in a gorgeous little box, tied with a ribbon with my business card on top...and it really makes the sale!




Thank you so much for sharing all this. I am just starting, and will steal this idea from you. I love it. My ratio from tastings is 3:1. I think its pretty bad. I will do this, and hopefully this next year will be better.

Thanks again.

Mensch Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 5:57pm
post #6 of 27

I make a timetable from 10am to 7pm and fill it in with appointments each hour. I invite the clients to select the time that is most convenient for them that day, then fill in my schedule to capacity.

-one week before the appointment dates, I email the client to re-confirm their scheduled time/give them driving directions and tell them what to bring to the appointment (i.e. fabric swatches, invites, photos from magazines, photos off my website they liked)

-the night before/morning of the consultations, I bake all my samples fresh and ice them only that day. I want the client to taste exactly how fresh their wedding cake will be, so I NEVER freeze samples...but if I only had a consultation every once in a while, it's totally understandable to have to do so.

-I greet each couple personally and sit across from them in my studio

-I introduce myself and tell them a bit about my experience, my style and how long I've been doing this

-I then ask them to tell me about their wedding/theme/feel of the day/colours/flowers/guest count and I write EVERTHING down
-I ask if they want their cake to feed everyone a main dessert slice, or is it to be on a buffet table later in the evening after the meal? (great for guessing sizes/numbers they'll need)

-they show me the materials they have brought and for each item I ask what it is that they like/dislike about it (this is the BEST question, you learn so much quickly!)

-I then show examples from my portfolio of cakes that seem similar to what they are asking for and see what sketch we can come up with on the spot. I personalize their cake to exactly what colours/design/feel they are going for.

-when that is roughly decided, I bring out the freshly-baked cupcake samples with big swirls of matching buttercream on top (which are the 5 main cake flavours that I offer) though I tell them everything is personalized, so if they can think it up...I can probably make it! I do leave the room at this point so they can honestly and privately say which ones they like/don't like to each other.

(I go to my kitchen where I pack a little box of samples and wait for 5 minutes for them to eat privately.)

-after about 5 minutes, I return and they have usually chosen a flavour or flavours.

-I give them a little box of extra cupcake samples to take home to let other friends/family try it out. THEY OOOOH AND AHHHH at this every time! It costs about $2 to give them 5 extra samples packaged in a gorgeous little box, tied with a ribbon with my business card on top...and it really makes the sale!

-I always walk them to my door and shake their hands again, letting them know it was nice to have finally met them face to face and that I will email them their information package within the next 2 weeks (IF YOU SAY 2 WEEKS...THEN MAKE SURE YOU ONLY TAKE 2 WEEKS!!! THIS IS YOUR FIRST PROMISE AND YOU ARE JUDGED ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU MEET YOUR DEADLINE!!!!)



You do all this in just a half hour?

hollyberry91 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 7:49pm
post #7 of 27

Wow that was a very helpful post! I've been wondering how to go about this myself. When you use cupcakes for the tasting how do you do the fillings? icon_biggrin.gif

KHalstead Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 8:09pm
post #8 of 27

I do my tastings on a one on one schedule when it's convenient for me and the bride. Generally it's in the evenings and almost always it's scheduled within a week of them inquiring about a tasting.

I too give cupcakes because then there are no plates/forks required, only napkins. I also give extra cupcakes in a box with a ribbon (I'll attach a photo) and I put a piece of styrofoam in the bottom of my box with scrapbooking paper on top and then use a skewer to stick through each cupcake to hold it in place so it doesn't slide around on them and then put a label folded back on itself to tell which flavor each one is.

I bake all of my samples per the customers request, I just recently started charging for tastings I charge $20.00 and they get 4 servings of 4 different flavors of cake and filling (4 total) and this is applied to their final payment if they order a cake, if they don't order then I haven't lost any money.

I pretty much operate the way antonia does except that I make appointments individually because I'm just a small home-based business.

I also give people the choice to get samples "to go" which means I give them just one box of samples in a gift bag with 4 plates/ 4 forks/4 napkins and 4 mini bottles of water with a nice note on the tag saying "Thank you so much for your interest in my cakes, I hope I have the pleasure of working with you" or something to that effect.
LL
LL

pattycakes55d Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 6:43am
post #9 of 27

I'm home based and wonder how the tasting is set up when it's in your home and you want to be as professional as a storefront?

MikeRowesHunny Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 8:06am
post #10 of 27

If it's a cupcake wedding they want, then I will do cupcakes in the flavours requested (up to 3 choices), otherwise I use the mini tasty-fill pans for tiered cakes and again up to 3 flavors. I can fit the 3 sample cakes on a 10in cardboard, it looks great and really represents just what their real cake would be like, better than cupcakes I think. I do charge for tastings, and this is reimbursed against the cake if they book - so far, touch wood, I have had a 100% booking rate.

IsaSW Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 2:56pm
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Quote:

I use the mini tasty-fill pans for tiered cakes




Everyday you learn something new. I have those little things taking space in my pantry. Now I know what to do with them.

MikeRowesHunny, 100% booking rate!!!!! You are my hero!

So... what do you do with those 3 little cakes the day of the tasting?

Do they eat them there? I served the cake already cut, but if I make this little guys then what?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 5:03pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaSW

Quote:
Quote:

I use the mini tasty-fill pans for tiered cakes



Everyday you learn something new. I have those little things taking space in my pantry. Now I know what to do with them.

MikeRowesHunny, 100% booking rate!!!!! You are my hero!

So... what do you do with those 3 little cakes the day of the tasting?

Do they eat them there? I served the cake already cut, but if I make this little guys then what?

Thanks in advance for your advice.




I don't have a store front (yet!), and having 2 kids, I'm not comfortable with having folks to my home (would have to get rid of the kids somehow etc, etc, etc!), so I either go to them if they are local, or we meet in town at a nice cafe. I take the cakes in a cake box on the 10in board for them to take away with them, or try there and then in the case of a home visit. If they take the cakes away, I ask that they get back to me within 2 weeks if they want to book. When I do a home visit, they usually know there and then if they want to book or not, then they just need me to get back to them with a definite price (usually within 24 hours), then they can make their decision.

I like going to people's homes. I think it really helps me to get a sense of who they really are and their tastes etc!

The mini tasty-fill pans are perfect for tastings - you can fill and ice them with whatever combination they like. You can definitely get 4 good tasting pieces from each one (I double layer them - so you end up with a 4x3in cake)! Just yesterday I did lemon cake filled with lemon curd & lemon buttercream covered with fondant. orange cake filled with whipped dark chocolate ganache covered with fondizan (50:50 marzipan & fondant), and chocolate fudge cake filled with caramel SMBC covered with marzipan. My B & G LOVED them!

Hope that helps!

IsaSW Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:19pm
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Quote:

and having 2 kids, I'm not comfortable with having folks to my home (would have to get rid of the kids somehow etc, etc, etc!)




I have a 3 year old, and I know what you are talking about. I use the excuse of having clients over so my husband helps me clean the house, and then he takes her to the park or shopping.
I am not too good with people, somehow being in my territory helps me feel more in control of the meeting.

Thanks for all your info, I was going to ask you if you covered them with fondant, and you answered my question.
I will try this new idea in my next tasting.
Thanks again

PS.I just visited your website, I think your cakes are beautiful.

cakesweetiecake Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:29pm
post #14 of 27

Wow! Very informative! KHalstead - I love your presentation!!

cylstrial Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 2:34am
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesweetiecake

Wow! Very informative! KHalstead - I love your presentation!!




And I love the tag that she put on the box. How sweet! It's just so thoughtful!

MichelleM77 Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 1:34pm
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

I make a timetable from 10am to 7pm and fill it in with appointments each hour.



You do all this in just a half hour?




Still a lot to do in an hour. Definitely an organized gal.

MrsAB Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 7:57pm
post #17 of 27

This topic just came up between a fellow baker and me. How timely!

Antonia74, Mensch and Khalstead thank you all for your detailed descriptions. I definitely can incorporate some of your practices into my next tasting.

Khalstead, when they opt to take samples with them, how many cupcakes do you put in the box? And just to be clear, you give them the samples, utensils, & water correct?

Two questions for everyone:

1) What do you do with all the leftover batter?
2) Do you offer tastings for cakes that are not for weddings? Why or Why not?

Thanks!

antonia74 Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 12:59am
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

You do all this in just a half hour?




Time is money. I usually don't even need a full hour if a client is prepared and I help them as much in advance as I can to be ready for our meeting. A little forethought makes the consultation short, to the point and relaxed for everyone involved.

Mensch Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:38am
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonia74

Time is money.




You are preaching to the choir there. As a shop owner with ENORMOUS foresight, I get your drift.

antonia74 Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 1:36am
post #20 of 27

I'm not sure of the tone of that reply, but I really hope you don't feel I'm preaching to anyone. You questioned me about doing all that within 30 minutes and I simply replied honestly for everyone's benefit reading this thread. I'm happy to pass on any knowledge/experiences I can share. icon_cool.gif

hollyberry91 Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 5:22pm
post #21 of 27

Antonia, how do you do fillings with the cupcakes? I really like the idea of using cupcakes because i think the presentation will look a lot nicer, but i can't figure out how i would do a filling and still use my buttercream on top. Also do you cover a cupcake in fondant or with some fondant accents so they can see what fondant tastes like? Thanks for all the info icon_biggrin.gif

jhuntl01 Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 5:49pm
post #22 of 27

I fill my cupcakes for the tastings. Wilton has a decorating set for cupcakes that includes a cupcake filling tip (really long and pointy) you can fill them with just about anything, chuncky fillings I make the hole for the filling, but use a bigger tip. Works perfect!

antonia74 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 8:59pm
post #23 of 27

I don't fill mine. I use flavoured buttercreams for the filling/exterior of cakes anyway, so they are tasting that cake/icing combo by just having the swirl on top.

hollyberry91 Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 2:52pm
post #24 of 27

Good idea! Thanks!

sweetartbakery Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 4:00pm
post #25 of 27

great ideas. I seriously give people too much time. One bride took hours with her conslut and then the GROOM re-designed the cake 6 times. yes, the groom! she apologized a hundred times for him, but I started to think about charging for my time after that!

BahaQueen Posted 29 Oct 2013 , 7:48pm
post #26 of 27

3 years later and this wonderful information you provided is still QUITE relevant.  I have had the mini cake pans for a looooong time...yippie!!! :party: Gratitude!!!

BahaQueen Posted 29 Oct 2013 , 7:55pm
post #27 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeRowesHunny 

If it's a cupcake wedding they want, then I will do cupcakes in the flavours requested (up to 3 choices), otherwise I use the mini tasty-fill pans for tiered cakes and again up to 3 flavors. I can fit the 3 sample cakes on a 10in cardboard, it looks great and really represents just what their real cake would be like, better than cupcakes I think. I do charge for tastings, and this is reimbursed against the cake if they book - so far, touch wood, I have had a 100% booking rate.

3 years later and this wonderful information you provided is still QUITE relevant.  I have had the mini cake pans for a looooong time...yippie!!! :party: Gratitude!!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%