How Do You Handle Questions Like These?

Business By PaulineG Updated 18 Nov 2009 , 3:01am by cambo

PaulineG Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 10:41am
post #1 of 29

Hi Everyone,

Myself and my business partner are opening a shop in the UK mid January, and recently we have been getting a couple of queries which we didn't quite know how other cake businesses would handle.

Basically, on our website we have a gallery of celebration cakes, and a small gallery of wedding cakes. A two tier wedding cake ranges from £250. We also have a few two tier celebration cakes, ranging from about £70. We have had a couple of brides-to-be calling us and saying that they really like one of the cakes on our celebration gallery, and would like it for a wedding cake. Obviously wedding cakes are generally a higher price than celebration cakes, but how do you put this point across to customers without sounding like you are ripping them off?

I'm not sure if I have explained this well enough, and also sorry it's a bit long. Just looking for some advice really.

Thanks
Pauline

28 replies
icingimages Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 11:40am
post #2 of 29

What I would tell them is that you have a similar wedding cake style and refer them to that sample. I would make a sample of the wedding cake since it seems to be so poplular. Explain that wedding cakes require much more intricate detailed hand work. But definately get a sample of a similar wedding cake up their quickly since it is so popular!

The best way I have found to handle questions like that in general is to sit down and make a list as to what are the differences. Usually when you explain it to the customer they understand. It could be as simple as the person who makes the wedding cakes is different than they person who makes the celebration cakes and they cost more per hour. I recently learned this when I took my car in for an oil change and for convenience, I took it to a collision place behind my office. I paid twice as much as I would have had I taken it to a quick oil place. Why...because the people who work at the collission place get paid by the mimimum hour charge, not per the quick oil change. Lesson Learned.

roweeena Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 11:50am
post #3 of 29

Tell me why are your 2 tier birthday cakes cheaper than your wedding cakes? Do you use cheaper ingredients? Because you can bet if you cost it all out you are doing the same amount of work.

I charge the same price for my wedding cakes as I do my celebration cakes. Why should i charge someone more for a wedding and less for a birthday? I'm still doing the same amount of work and my costs are still the same.

We complain about these brides who try to scam us by trying to get a birthday cake and make it look like a wedding cake and these articles who tell them how to do it but yet this is the reason why they do it.

We need to stop selling ourselves short.

Classycakes Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 12:04pm
post #4 of 29

I think you will have to charge the same per serving whether it is a celebration cake or a wedding cake. This will price your celebration cakes higher but will eliminate a lot of your headaches. Customers will always want to go the cheaper route and if a celebration cake is the same size as a wedding cake but only a third of the cost, then you will get many customers who will want the cheaper cake, even if it is decorated more simply than your typical wedding cake. And, ethically, how can you refuse to sell them the celebration cake knowing they want it for a wedding? The word "wedding" should not make it more expensive just because of its name. Even if it's a smaller size or less detailed, some customers will want the cheaper version just because of its price.

This is exactly why I don't do celebration cakes. People expect to pay a lot less for them than they would a wedding cake and my local market will not pay for "wedding priced" birthday or celebration cakes! So, I came to the conclusion that I would rather turn my oven on for a $350 wedding cake than a $100 birthday cake. It just eliminated a whole lot of headache for me and now I don't have to deal with this dilemma.

Good luck! I really hope that someone here has some advice for you that can resolve your problem.

cakesbycathy Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 12:18pm
post #5 of 29

Indydebi has the best response to this. Hopefully she will chime in here...

My prices are the same whether they are for a celebration cake or wedding cake. My ingredients cost the same no matter what kind of cake I'm doing. The only difference usually is the time I spend with the bride for a consultation (although I've had some pretty long conversations with moms about their kids birthday cakes).

There is no reason a wedding cake needs to cost more.

peg818 Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 12:26pm
post #6 of 29

I agree with the others your wedding and celebration cakes should be pretty much the same price, the only thing i can see causing a wedding cake to cost more would be if you deliver. Even then i don't see where you could justify 2/3 more in price.

eilidh Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 12:28pm
post #7 of 29

Hi Pauline,

I agree with one of the other reponses that ethically you have to tread carefully here. You should have a straight forward price list be it per serving (as is often how the US do it) or by size of the cake then add extra for the level of decoration. Looking at your website from a customers point of view I would have difficulty understanding why I pay only £100 for your fab leopard and shoes tiered celebration cake yet pay £200/£250 for your butterfly cake which is a relative simple design. It's hard to tell from the pictures if the cakes are massively different in size but assuming there is not a huge difference in size then I agree that you can't charge such a big difference just beacuse it is a wedding. So yes either up the price of your tiered celbration cakes or take them out of the equation altogether.

On a side I am originally from Glasgow and wish you all the best with your new venture!!!

thumbs_up.gif

cylstrial Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 12:38pm
post #8 of 29

Your cakes are beautiful and your website looks great! I'm very excited for you!

For what it's worth, I also think that you should charge the same amount for a wedding and non-wedding cake. Maybe you could some type of simple pricing = x, and then other levels.

Deb_ Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:19pm
post #9 of 29

DEFINITELY definitely change your pricing structure right now.

ALL of my cakes are the same price per serving, whether they use it for a Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday or any other event.

It won't take your customers long to figure out that they can get the same cake cheaper if they don't order it as a "Wedding" cake.

As others have said the ingredients, utilities and labor are not cheaper just because it's a Birthday cake.

Go ahead and make that change.

Kiddiekakes Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:35pm
post #10 of 29

I also agree with everyone..You wedding and celebration cakes should be priced the same so there is no reason to have to explain to any customer.

springlakecake Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:40pm
post #11 of 29

I agree with everyone else. I would use the same pricing structure for all cakes. Now if you want to charge extra costs for extra things such as consultations, delivery etc. I think that is fine. There was some video clip going around here awhile back where the couple went to pick out a cake and it cost 2x as much when she called it a "wedding cake" I am going to have to see if I can find it somewhere. Funny.

Lenette Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:46pm
post #12 of 29

Well, I don't know about the UK but my prices are different for wedding vs party because there is a difference.

I don't torte party cakes (those have 1 layer of filling, wedding cakes have 3), I generally don't deliver party cakes, I don't have to meet with the client once sometimes twice for party cakes, I don't sample for party cakes, in my area party cakes are not as detailed and time consuming as wedding cakes, etc etc.

Do what works for you and I certainly see the rationale behind having the same price but if there is a difference between the two types of cakes the price should reflect that IMO. icon_smile.gif

springlakecake Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:46pm
post #13 of 29

okay! I found it! Funny. Just be warned the sh*t is used frequently in the skit.


KHalstead Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:48pm
post #14 of 29

I agree as well, single cakes are one price, tiered cakes another, carved cakes another price. That's how I operate.


as our everwise indydebi once put it- "They can call it a birthday cake, a wedding cake, a celebration cake, or a kiss my butt at 8th and Main cake .... I dont' care.
It's all the same price."

PaulineG Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:48pm
post #15 of 29

Thanks so much for all the feedback. I think you're all right, we need to re-think our pricing.

Pauline

CakeMommyTX Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:51pm
post #16 of 29

"It's a wedding ribbon.."lol


PaulineG Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 1:53pm
post #17 of 29

Merissa,

That is so funny! It kind of puts things into perspective. Thanks so much for the advice.

Pauline

CakeMommyTX Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 2:07pm
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by merissa

okay! I found it! Funny. Just be warned the sh*t is used frequently in the skit.






ah u beat me to it, it's still funny though!

springlakecake Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 2:08pm
post #19 of 29

Definitely

PaulineG Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 2:13pm
post #20 of 29

Can I ask those of you who are based in the UK how you price your cakes? Do you price per portion, or do you use another method? Certainly the price per portion method would be easiest, but I am struggling to understand (sorry, am hopeless with figures icon_redface.gif )

There is a well established cake company in the city that charge around £395 for a pretty standard three tier wedding cake. The told me that their standard cake sizes for 3 tier is 12", 9" and 6". So the serving guide I use says that a 12" round sponge cake provides 40-45 portions, 9" about 25 portions, and 6" around 10 portions. Total 80 portions. Therefore they would be charging approx. £4.93 per portion. So that would then mean that if they were doing a standard 8" celebration cake, with about 18 portions they would be charging £88???

Sorry for the long-winded post, I am just trying to understand this. Maybe I am not working it out right?

Pauline

cambo Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 2:17pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenette

Well, I don't know about the UK but my prices are different for wedding vs party because there is a difference.

I don't torte party cakes (those have 1 layer of filling, wedding cakes have 3), I generally don't deliver party cakes, I don't have to meet with the client once sometimes twice for party cakes, I don't sample for party cakes, in my area party cakes are not as detailed and time consuming as wedding cakes, etc etc.

Do what works for you and I certainly see the rationale behind having the same price but if there is a difference between the two types of cakes the price should reflect that IMO. icon_smile.gif




Lenette,
I know we're the odd dogs out, but I operate my business the same as you. My costs are definitely not the same for wedding cakes vs. party cakes and I price them accordingly. The biggest cost in my cakes is time and party cakes don't hold a candle to the time I spend on wedding cakes by the time you factor in my time spent on phone calls, communications, consultation and samples, etc. So, I've never had a problem justifying the price difference to my customers. Now, that doesn't mean that a party cake cannot be as expensive as a wedding cake, it all depends on the design and the time I have budgeted for that cake! I think the best advice is to do what works best for you and your business to ensure a nice profit!

Good luck!

cylstrial Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 2:29pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulineG

Can I ask those of you who are based in the UK how you price your cakes? Do you price per portion, or do you use another method? Certainly the price per portion method would be easiest, but I am struggling to understand (sorry, am hopeless with figures icon_redface.gif )

There is a well established cake company in the city that charge around �395 for a pretty standard three tier wedding cake. The told me that their standard cake sizes for 3 tier is 12", 9" and 6". So the serving guide I use says that a 12" round sponge cake provides 40-45 portions, 9" about 25 portions, and 6" around 10 portions. Total 80 portions. Therefore they would be charging approx. �4.93 per portion. So that would then mean that if they were doing a standard 8" celebration cake, with about 18 portions they would be charging �88???

Sorry for the long-winded post, I am just trying to understand this. Maybe I am not working it out right?

Pauline




No - that's right. Let's just say a slice of cake is $5 (to keep it easy). And say the cake serves 12 people. So it would be $60 for the cake.

But what I'm saying is that if the cake is simple, maybe you only charge $3 a slice. If it's more detailed, $4/slice. Highly detailed $5 a slice. I think this type of pricing structure helps customers to understand why their cake costs what it does. I learned this from someone on cake central. I have the website info on my other computer.

KHalstead Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 3:13pm
post #23 of 29

I have a price per serving as well, however my single cakes like an 8" round is 20 servings and they're $1.00/serv. (i really need to raise this by the way), and a 6" round is 10 servings at $1.00/serv. so if you wanted an 8" cake and a 6" cake in separate boxes they would be a total of $30.00. However if you want a 8" and 6" cakes stacked/tiered then they are $2.25/serv. so that would cost $67.50...BIG difference!

I have actually sold wedding cakes where the bride wanted all the cakes on individual stands and she got 6 cakes torted w/ filling for a little over $100.00....I still made about a $75 profit and I didn't have to bother with cutting dowels or structure or making sure the cakes were all exactlly the same height , etc. so it saved me loads of time and her loads of money!

On a side note, as a customer I would be furious if I ordered a cake for my DD birthday and then ordered the same cake for a wedding and it was twice as much for the wedding. If it's the same cake, then don't you spend the same amount of time on it???
Although, I do offer consultations and tastings on ANY order over $100.00 regardless of the occasion. I think it's only fair if they plan to spend that much that they should be able to make sure they at least like my cake!

springlakecake Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 4:01pm
post #24 of 29

I think the main idea is not to charge more just because you call it a "wedding cake." If there is more work involved (ie delivery, consultations, torting etc) that you wouldnt do with a celebration cake, then I think it is fine to charge more. But if it is the SAME cake with a different name, then it should be the same price. But you need to explain the differences to your customers.

rainbow_kisses Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 4:16pm
post #25 of 29

I am in the Uk and i charge by the serving £3.00 and then add extra for figures, flowers,delivery, tasting, and any carving that needs doing. my tiered wedding and birthday/celebration cakes get the same prices. I also charge extra for fruit or carrot cake. My minimum cake price is £35. HTH

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 5:09pm
post #26 of 29

I'm amazed at all of the folks who have so many commnications with the bride. icon_eek.gif

I get a phone call or an email.
I schedule the consultation.....They come for the consultation.
I email the quote.....they email back that it's booked.
They mail me a check or call me with a credit card number.
I never see them, talk to them, and rarely get an email from them until their final payment is due.

So I pretty much talk to them (1) to schedule the appt (2) at the appt (3) when they give me money.

I really don't understand so many back and forth communications. I'm guessing these folks are doing a lot of work that could be / should be taken care of at the consultation. I dont' have design or idea or any other kind of email communications ... if we get to that point, it's time to schedule a time to come in. Period.

I just wanna Git-R-Dun and move on to the next one.

Birthday moms take up WAY more of my time than brides. I should charge more for birthdays because they DO take more of my time than weddings!

costumeczar Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 5:12pm
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I'm amazed at all of the folks who have so many commnications with the bride. icon_eek.gif

!




Me too...There will always be clients who need more hand-holding than others, but for the most I don't follow up fifty times and have twenty consultations with people...

Deb_ Posted 17 Nov 2009 , 8:35pm
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I'm amazed at all of the folks who have so many commnications with the bride. icon_eek.gif

!



Me too...There will always be clients who need more hand-holding than others, but for the most I don't follow up fifty times and have twenty consultations with people...




Me three icon_biggrin.gif One consultation with tasting if they want, most book on the spot with 50% deposit and never hear from 99% of them again until final payment is due.

I don't know where all these PIA'S live but I'm sure glad it isn't here.


All of my cakes are torted with 3 layers of filling and 4 layers of cake...even kitchen cakes for extra servings. This is how I justify wedding and all occasion all being the same price per serving.

The only thing that I up-charge for is fondant/gumpaste figures, carved cakes, or support systems for cakes over 3 tiers.....also of course delivery/setup for large cakes.

cambo Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 3:01am
post #29 of 29

I see what you all mean....but I too have the same scenario with my brides that indydebi does....however, with my party cakes I get 1 phone call and that's it! With my brides not only are there email communciations, but there's time spent preparing samples, a consultation of at least 45 mins to an hour, plus delivery most times a greater distance than party cakes (but I'm charging for that also), so bottom line I'm spending more time on my wedding cake orders! I've just never had a problem justifying the cost difference! It's not that my brides are "needy" ...I've been blessed with absolutely wonderful brides (knock on wood). Again, I think it's whatever works for each person's business!

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