I May Not Do Samples At The Wedding Show

Decorating By Ruth0209 Updated 27 Dec 2009 , 4:46am by Ruth0209

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 12:10am
post #1 of 13

I've done a couple of small wedding shows and served mini cupcakes as samples. I made far too many samples for both shows and have come to realize that a lot of people just won't eat food samples in public venues any more. The brides are either "dieting" or people are very paranoid about eating samples that people may have breathed on or something. In this flu season, I just have the impression people are reluctant to sample.

So for the big two day wedding show I have in January, I'm thinking of skipping the samples. I'm thinking of making a prominent sign or just telling people that in lieu of samples, I offer a private consultation and free tasting where they can pick the flavors they're interested in rather than just having random samples at the show.

What do you all think?

12 replies
BarbRaz Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 12:28am
post #2 of 13

I agree with you about people being reluctant to take samples during the flu season. Yesterday my husband's family told the youngest grandchild to blow out the candles on the Happy Birthday Jesus cake and at the time he had a 105 degree fever. Yikes!! Needles to say, I didn't have any of that cake!

costumeczar Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 12:36am
post #3 of 13

I never thought of that...The shows around here are full of cake pigs icon_smile.gif ! Everyone who comes to the shows snarfs up samples like there's no tomorrow, but it might be different this year because of the flu.

There's a shop here that doesn't do samples at shows, and they do just fine. I just posted about this on another thread, but I think that you might do better to actually talk to people than to spend the entire time handing out samples. They tend to remember the people they spoke to more than someone they filed past who was so busy handing stuff out they didn't have time to talk and answer questions.

indydebi Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 12:43am
post #4 of 13

I never encountered too many people who wouldn't want free cake. Perhaps the packaging might make a difference.

If people are hesitant about eating food that is sitting out in the open, perhaps think about putting cake samples in the small lidded cups. This is what I used and they worked out great.

How many samples are you making based on the expected population? If a show tells me they have 300 brides registered, logically, we might think there would be 600 or more people at the show. (Brides never travel alone!) icon_biggrin.gif I quickly learned to be conservative in my guessimates. If they told me 300 registered brides, I'd bring 250 to 300 samples and have plenty left over. Only at one show did I run out and that was about 10 minutes before the end of the show. (Use that as a positive thing ..... "Sorry, my cake was so popular today, I ran out! You'll need to schedule your free sampling and we'll set you up with plenty of free cake to sample!")

Also check the show rules. THere are some that have in their agreement if you are a food vendor ... cake, catering, choc fntn, etc..... then you are REQUIRED to provide food samples. This ticks me off beause I sure don't get a discount on my booth space in addition to the extra cost to bring food samples! icon_mad.gif

jillmakescakes Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 1:17am
post #5 of 13

Also, don't forget to give samples to the other vendors. I always take time before the show to walk around with samples (Who needs a quick sugar rush to get started? thumbs_up.gif ) I also have a LARGE stack of business cards to give to other vendors.

I also go around at the end of the show and offer any leftovers (usually only about 20-30). I did have one show that I had a lot of leftover because I completely ran out on the first day of the two day event and make way too much for the second day. I gave the leftovers to the cleanup staff at the show. Needless to say I had plenty of help getting my booth packed up and out early.

As for the dieting brides, I always say that whoever is carrying the heavy bag of literature and goodies gets more cake 'cause they are burning more calories!

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 1:17am
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Also check the show rules. THere are some that have in their agreement if you are a food vendor ... cake, catering, choc fntn, etc..... then you are REQUIRED to provide food samples. This ticks me off beause I sure don't get a discount on my booth space in addition to the extra cost to bring food samples! icon_mad.gif




That's an interesting rule. Maybe they figure it'll draw more people to the show if they think there'll be free food samples. Personally, I consider that a plus. icon_razz.gif Mine doesn't require that - samples are optional.

After I posted, I remember you saying you use lidded cups. Maybe that would make the difference. I've put my mini cupcakes out on my cupcake tree, each on its own napkin, spaced so you can pick up just one without touching the others, and I always glove up before I put more out (state law), but people may still feel like that's not sanitary enough.

They expect about 650 attendees at this event. I'll have two competitors at this event, and I'm sure they'll both have samples. One of them doesn't worry me because I've heard a bunch of people say that her samples taste like sawdust and her cakes are very old-fasioned looking. That's her niche. The other one always has nice samples, but I don't think her dummies look as nice as mine.

I really feel that I draw people in because of the personable business tone I have with them. I am only part-time, but I've actually never had a consultation where I didn't get the cake contract. Once I get them there, the tasty cake closes the deal. Seems to work for me.

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 1:25am
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillmakescakes

Also, don't forget to give samples to the other vendors. I always take time before the show to walk around with samples (Who needs a quick sugar rush to get started? thumbs_up.gif ) I also have a LARGE stack of business cards to give to other vendors.




And this is excellent advice. I've learned from the small shows I've done that it's essential to make yourself known to other vendors so they can also help promote your business with the brides they interact with. One caterer here has been extraordinarily helpful to me in promoting my cakes to brides. In turn, I have business cards for a variety of vendors I like and recommend them to brides when they ask me about other services they need.

indydebi Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 1:35am
post #8 of 13

yeah the vendor relationships are key .. meeting brides is just a side benefit! icon_lol.gif

I also asked brides, "What else are you shopping for today? Oh, flowers? You should go see Lucy at Belsy-Ball-Two-Eight-Niner FLowers around the corner. Tell her Debi sent you over." You'll be amazed at the bonding you get from teh other vendors at the end of the show as they let you know they appreciated your referral! It also makes you apppear very helpful ... and brides tend to book with the person they find the most helpful.

A wedding isn't about just buying "stuff". It's an emotional and spiritual event, so emotion plays a big role in the decision making process.

kakeladi Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 2:04am
post #9 of 13

.......perhaps think about putting cake samples in the small lidded cups...........

In my state it is required.

I would suggest you make some....say about 100 or so....not enough for all the expected brides but definitely for the other vendors.

indydebi Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 2:07am
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

.......perhaps think about putting cake samples in the small lidded cups...........

In my state it is required.



To add to that, in our state.......

If I do all of the food prep in a comm'l kitchen (i.e. cake baked and packaged in lidded containers) then I do NOT have to get the temp food license required for food shows ($60). If I have open food (unwrapped cupcakes, food in chafers), then not only do I have to pay my booth space AND the cost of the food samples BUT ALSO the $60 for the temp food license, even tho' I have a HD license hanging in the shop.

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 4:29am
post #11 of 13

I also have to get a $65 temporary permit regardless of whether I overwise have to be licensed and inspected (which I currently do not have to be, so that's odd). At least it's good for up to five events per calendar year. The inspectors are pretty involved in making sure all the booths comply with that, and they inspect all of them prior to the events.

indydebi Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 4:34am
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I also have to get a $65 temporary permit regardless of whether I overwise have to be licensed and inspected (which I currently do not have to be, so that's odd). At least it's good for up to five events per calendar year. The inspectors are pretty involved in making sure all the booths comply with that, and they inspect all of them prior to the events.


As an FYI in general, my HD person was telling me about how she busted 2 cake ladies at a big bridal show one year. She said, "when I got the list from the organizer, I go thru it to make sure everyone listed is licensed......"

When she got the list. From the organizer.

More and more of these shows are requiring the organizer to submit a list of vendors to the HD, who then checks them out. So anyone who isn't licensed, take heed .... just because the show doesn't ask for a copy of your license, don't assume that no one ELSE is interested or that it won't be discovered.

Ruth that is odd that you have to have a permit for a show but don't require one otherwise. Whatever works, though! thumbs_up.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 4:46am
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I also have to get a $65 temporary permit regardless of whether I overwise have to be licensed and inspected (which I currently do not have to be, so that's odd). At least it's good for up to five events per calendar year. The inspectors are pretty involved in making sure all the booths comply with that, and they inspect all of them prior to the events.

As an FYI in general, my HD person was telling me about how she busted 2 cake ladies at a big bridal show one year. She said, "when I got the list from the organizer, I go thru it to make sure everyone listed is licensed......"

When she got the list. From the organizer.

More and more of these shows are requiring the organizer to submit a list of vendors to the HD, who then checks them out. So anyone who isn't licensed, take heed .... just because the show doesn't ask for a copy of your license, don't assume that no one ELSE is interested or that it won't be discovered.

Ruth that is odd that you have to have a permit for a show but don't require one otherwise. Whatever works, though! thumbs_up.gif




Tell me about it. Some of these rules are so irrational. I've already been approved as a low-risk establishment so I don't have to be licensed or inspected, but they still make me do the temporary permit for the shows. This was a very long conversation I had with my HD last week to clarify this strange little rule.

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