How Do You Handle Tastings And Consultations?

Business By JCE62108 Updated 12 Oct 2009 , 4:19pm by JCE62108

JCE62108 Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 9:00pm
post #1 of 14

Recently I had a consultation with a customer (I always travel to their home) and they requested a tasting. For some reason I was under the impression that it is customary to offer a free tasting....well I offered her two. Her order total was only $110 and I spent all day baking red velvet and lemon cake for her. She got a 5 inch single layer cake of each. My husband delivered it for them. I havent heard back from them yet and that was day before yesterday.

Im feeling like kicking myself. Not only that, I feel like I didnt really handle that like I should have. Ive never had someone ask for a tasting before, I kind of was taken off guard when she asked because I had never really had time to think about how I was going to handle that.

So tell me, what is your procedure for tastings? Do you charge? What size cake do you offer? Do you deliver it? Do you do tastings and consultations on the same day? I really have no clue how this works because no one has really asked me before. My experience working in a grocery store bakery didnt really prepare me for being on my own. lol.

13 replies
cylstrial Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 9:31pm
post #2 of 14

Well most people on here do free tastings. But the people come to your place and they eat the cake in front of you. And it's all cute on a plate with different frostings. And they just kind of get whatever cake you have on hand. And you tell them (IndyDebi's way) that your lemon cake will taste just as good as your white cake, only it will have lemon in it.

Some people charge $25 and then if the customer books, they will put the $25 towards the cake.

And these people get a couple pieces of cake, similar to a mini cupcake to taste. In fact, some people make mini cupcakes for them.

It sounds like you went above and beyond.

And finally, a lot of people don't do tastings unless it's for 100 or more servings.

Hope this helps. I'm sure more people will chime in on this one!

cylstrial Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 9:47pm
post #3 of 14

Here's a link to another thread going on right now as well.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-654400.html

indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 10:19pm
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Quote:

Do you do tastings and consultations on the same day?



YOu mean these are two different things? icon_confused.gif How can you have a consultation with someone when your husband drops off the cakes to them?

I guess I need to clarify .... Do I understand that you just dropped off some cakes and pretty much said, "here .... eat this and get back wtih me."? icon_confused.gif

That's not a tasting .... that's handing out free cake.

A tasting is when you take the opportunity to talk face to face with the person and sell yourself, then your company, then your product. You can't sell yourself thru a drive-thru window ("Here's your cakes ..... come again!")

Ironically, I had a bride in for sampling this afternoon. And she told me that she went to another sampling 2 days ago and was very insulted, mad and felt dismissed when the bakery pretty much handed her 2 cupcakes "to go". She was not a walk-in, asking for a sample. She had a set appointment and she did spend time with the bakery owner to talk about her wedding cake, but instead of actually letting her sample the cakes, and discuss the cake flavors, what she liked, what she didn't, etc., the bakery said, "here .... eat these and get back with me." Bride said, "I felt like she was saying that she didn't have any time for me."

weirkd Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 10:21pm
post #5 of 14

Usually brides or people asking for tastings are going to several other places also. You want to give them the best impression of your product. Sometimes it might take them a few days to get back to you or longer. What I would do is if you havent heard from them in over a week, send them an email or give them a ring and just ask them how they liked the samples, if they had any questions or anything and see where it goes.
I give them a selection of three different cakes and a few filling flavors and frostings. I put mine in separate cups that are labeled and that way they can taste different things with each other and make up their own minds. I make them the size of a cupcake and then I also give them about three mini cupcakes to bring home and let their families try. They know that I go above and beyond what most bakeries do and they appreciate it. I do not charge for my tastings but I get most of them to book. The way I feel is that too many people try to take advantage of brides simply because its labeled a wedding (all aspects of the wedding, not just cakes). I try to let people know that Im all about customer service and giving them a great product and price.
You will find that there are people out there looking for free cake and literally go around to bakeries and try to get free samples, etc. So if you feel that people are trying to take advantage, then charge them and take it off the cake order if they book.

JCE62108 Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 2:04pm
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Quote:

Do you do tastings and consultations on the same day?


YOu mean these are two different things? icon_confused.gif How can you have a consultation with someone when your husband drops off the cakes to them?

I guess I need to clarify .... Do I understand that you just dropped off some cakes and pretty much said, "here .... eat this and get back wtih me."? icon_confused.gif

That's not a tasting .... that's handing out free cake.

A tasting is when you take the opportunity to talk face to face with the person and sell yourself, then your company, then your product. You can't sell yourself thru a drive-thru window ("Here's your cakes ..... come again!")"




Ok, not exactly.

I had a scheduled consultation with her, I went to her home and spent about 45 mintutes discussing flavors, designs, colors, etc. She had inquired about tastings at the consultation. I told her I could offer her some to try if she liked. She picked two flavors so I baked it for her the next day. My husband was going to be in town the next day so I had him drop it off for me. It would have been an hour drive for me when he was going to be there anyway. And besides, we had already had the consultation, she just wanted to decide on a flavor. I guess I should have been there myself, but I wasnt really expecting them to eat it in front of me. I guess that is why I didnt think to go. I was just thinking I could give them the chance to try it and get back to me with no pressure of me sitting there while they eat it.

Ok, so next time I have a consultation, should I just make a point of bringing cake for them to try so I dont have to make two trips, even if they dont request a tasting? I dont have an office and dont want people at my home so I always travel for consultations, and I dont mind doing it that way because honestly Im just starting out and Im not exactly busy enough to mind.

Im trying to learn, here.

indydebi Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 4:14pm
post #7 of 14

Oh, I understand better now. I would recommend you do it all in one shot, though. Keep it simple ..... make it easy for them to do business with you. I don't have time nor do I want to do something in 2 days what can be accomplished in one. Brides are the same way. Thanks for the extra info! thumbs_up.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 4:23pm
post #8 of 14

As leah_s would put it:

(( thud)) and hits the floor

Consultations are done at the same time as the tasting. You DO NOT deliver a cake. Deliveries cost money on your part. If she lives an hour away, I guess she is driving an hour to come see you. And last but not least, she doesn't get to pick the flavors. Do you know how expensive that would get if, let's say you have 4 or 5 tastings that day and EVERY bride picks a different flavor? I know a 5" cake does not require a full recipe of batter. BUT you can use one recipe batch to make a few little cakes. You pick a couple of standard flavors and thats what they get. I actually do 4, chocolate, white (cause fro some people swear there is a huge taste difference between white and yellow), almond (cause it's a flavored "yellow" cake) and red vlevet (cause I live in the south). I may even start to drop the red velvet soon.

JCE62108 Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 5:50pm
post #9 of 14

OOOoooooo.......Ok. I was under the impression that you gave them a taste of whatever they wanted. Oh thank goodness I dont have too. lol. Oh geez at least I can say Ill know what Im doing next time. I feel kind of dumb but honestly I guess I have a lot to learn about this business. Thank you, guys. Thank you thank you. I really value all of your expert advice and greatly appreciate you taking the time to help me. icon_smile.gif <3

indydebi Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 6:04pm
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCE62108

OOOoooooo.......Ok. I was under the impression that you gave them a taste of whatever they wanted.




"Hello, Pizza Hut? I may want to order 3 or 4 large pizzas for my daughter's birthday. What time can I come by to get a free slice of every single kind of pizza you make so I can decide what I want to order?"

yeah .... THAT'LL work! dunce.gif

As I tell my brides, "Today we are sampling 3 flavors. These are not the only flavors I make but it's what we are sampling to see if you like my baking talent or not. My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake except it will taste like lemon."

As a caterer, I'm putting out more money for samplings than anyone on this site. My brides sample 2 kinds of chicken, 2 kinds of meatballs, a hot vegetable, a rice dish PLUS the 3 kinds of cakes, icings and fillings. I believe in the golden rule ... those laying out the gold get to set the rules. My money ... my choice in what you get to sample.

Some view a sampling as a "Let me taste this and that to see if I like it." I view it as a "Let me taste your cake so I can see if you actually CAN bake." I'm not a restaurant where I can just walk into the kitchen and scoop out a spoonful of whatever is cooking that day. Nor will I buy a case of 48 boneless pork chops so you can sample ONE.

JCE62108 Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 10:21pm
post #11 of 14

Debi, you're awesome. lol. Thanks for knocking some sense into me. icon_smile.gif

weirkd Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 2:25pm
post #12 of 14

She has a way with words, doesnt she? She needs to be that little person sitting on your shoulder when you are continplating a decision!!! And if you choose wrong she can poke you in the but with her pitch-fork!!! Just kidding Deb, I love you to pieces, you always have great advice for everyone and are brutally honest and that is what I love about you!

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 2:33pm
post #13 of 14

I host events, if you will. I'm an appointment only, working in a licensed commercial add on. I have no time for appointments every single weekend for a bride who may or may not show up. I have family to attend to when I'm not doing cakes. In fact I book a weekend a month for absolutely no orders so I can sit around and pick my nose at the very least. icon_biggrin.gif Just kidding

I hold them every couple of months or so, for at least 10 couples. I bake the night before, make fillings, frostings, whatever. No leftovers, no freezing, no wasted cake, and the best part....if one or two people don't show, eh, who cares, enough did to make it worth my while. Works out pretty well. Most of the time, it's for people I've already been consulting with, and the tasting is just the final thing to do before finalizing a contract. I usually even have deposits before then. icon_smile.gif

JCE62108 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 4:19pm
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by weirkd

She has a way with words, doesnt she? She needs to be that little person sitting on your shoulder when you are continplating a decision!!! And if you choose wrong she can poke you in the but with her pitch-fork!!!




LOL!

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