loriemoms Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 5:09pm
post #1 of 52

I guess with the economy these days, brides are showing up thinking that the prices I have posted and the prices we quote them at their initial inquiry is not for them, but for everyone else??? I have had some brides that come for a tasting, and I quote them the SAME amount they were told at the initial inquiry (usually its email) and then they come back and said they aren't booking because I was out of their budget. That is fine, but WHY DID THEY COME TO THE TASTING! I have limited tastings, and have brides who ARE serious about their cake and have to have them come at later dates because these who cannot afford me decide to come anyway. Do they think Oh whats the big deal, I want some cake? That I would say Oh, just kidding, I will charge you less?

I am very upfront with my prices. Should I remind the brides when I give them their confirmation for their tasting that the cakes run such and such? Ask them their budget? (I ask my party cakes their budget all the time, helps me from designing a cake that is too much, but I don't have any "set prices" for my party cakes, as they are all so different) Very frustrating!

51 replies
heavenlys Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 5:23pm
post #2 of 52

I don't do tastings until they put down a deposit. If they want a tasting before the deposit than they pay for it. If they book with me after that paid tasting the cost of the tasting is applied toward the deposit. It saves me the looky lues that just want an "Experience"

costumeczar Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 6:07pm
post #3 of 52

I think heavenlys is right, a lot of them just want the "fun" of making all the wedding plans, so tastings are like a little outing. There's likely something to the idea that they're also trying to get you to come down on your price, since someone who booked with another baker probably wouldn't call and tell you that unless they were trying to bargain.

You might want to ask people what their budget is when they first call to make an appointment, then if someone's so far out of line you can just tell them that you can't do it within their budget. You're always going to get people who aren't realistic about it, though, so I don't know that there's a lot you can do to prevent it. (Other than taking the deposit before the tasting like heavenlys does, but that wouldn't fly around here, there's too much competition.)

I had one girl email me and tell me that she had deicded to go with a different bakery because they were cheaper, and it was obvious that she was trying to get me to come down on the price. I didn't bother to email back, I don't discount, but I also know that the bakery she was talking about has the filthiest kitchen I've ever seen, and they store their baking supplies in a bathroom that looks like it hadn't seen a scrub brush in about ten years. Good luck with that. They're cheaper because they don't have to buy cleaning supplies, apparently.

Jeep_girl816 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 6:10pm
post #4 of 52

I think that's exactly it. They want cake. It's "their day" They are "the bride" and cakes tasting at all these different places are part of the "experience" bridal mags and pushy friends and wedding planners shove down their throat, just like with trying on gowns, some brides already know what dress they're going with they just want to play dress up and be the princess because they're "THE BRIDE" it doesn't matter whose time and resources get wasted.

terrig007 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 6:54pm
post #5 of 52

Ever see that show "Say Yes to the Dress"? They get a lot of looky loos too and those poor folks are on commission and could lose their jobs if they don't make their quota. I just don't get these people though. I was an old first-time bride at 36 & I knew who I wanted to do my cake because I had their cakes at multiple weddings. There were no tastings of any kind there. The "samples" if you can call them that were the tear drop cutter size of the cake that they had sliced off the top when leveling it, put on a cake board with the flavor written around it. I don't think Duff gives samples either until you book with him and even then I think he charges w/o taking it off the price of the cake (although I may be wrong about that but that is what I was told by a friend of mine who was just up there).

Mensch Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 6:56pm
post #6 of 52

I don't think it has anything to do with the economy, I believe it has more to with people's sense of entitlement, and wanting the whole 'wedding experience'. I'M getting married. I'M so important.

tootie0809 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 6:59pm
post #7 of 52

I was just talking the other day to the wedding coordinator at a venue I do a lot of cakes for, and we started talking about tastings and she said it is such a strange phenomenon right now that all the sudden all the brides are asking for tastings. She said last year she had maybe 2 brides ask for tastings and so far this year almost all of them have asked for tastings. I told her I think it's a lot of these wedding shows on TV that show brides and grooms going to cake tastings and that it's started this idea that you are missing out on some part of your wedding experience if you don't do a tasting.

I just started implementing a $25.00 fee for tastings because of this. Tired of going through all the work for some brides who are just "playing" and getting the "experience" but aren't serious. I remember doing a tasting for my wedding cake years ago, but it was to choose the flavor of the cake. We'd already chosen them as our baker.

Not only that but some of these brides expectations are ridiculous. I've had a couple brides want to try 8+ flavors! Seriously! They got to choose 4. Some people's children.

AngelaM Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 7:07pm
post #8 of 52

I think a lot of people simply think that most prices are negotiable. My sister and I got married 6 weeks apart, and when we booked all our vendors many of them gave us a discount for booking two weddings with them (even our cake decorator). You never know unless you ask, and most people think it's silly to pay asking price for anything without at least attempting to get a discount. Sometimes it's just as simple as asking, you know?

Maybe when you give your initial quote you could state that the price is firm, so they know upfront that they are not going to pay any less. They probably think when they see you in person for a tasting, that's their chance to try and cut you down on your price. You could probably weed out a lot of people that aren't willing to pay without them wasting your time on a tasting.

this-mama-rocks Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 7:47pm
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

I don't think it has anything to do with the economy, I believe it has more to with people's sense of entitlement, and wanting the whole 'wedding experience'. I'M getting married. I'M so important.





Amen, sista!

Plus, La-Bella-Flor mentioned something to me that I wholeheartedly agree with. People confuse "service" with "servant". Yes, I am providing a service for you, but I am NOT your SERVANT and I am NOT going to bow to your every wish and command. (dismissive snapping of the fingers)

Jeep_girl816 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 8:08pm
post #10 of 52

When I got married (5 years ago) we didn't do "tastings" we picked our cake person on pics in her book at the bridal show and price, she gave us her "per serving" prices up front and said any extra doo-hickies would be X-amount extra. we met with her once to discuss design and flavors. We had a choice of chocolate or white and three different fillings. We never tasted the cake and she had the fillings on a couple plastic spoons. It was just me and my husband at the meeting. My cake was so beautiful I cried at my reception, she exceeded my expectations. I only got one slice but it was so yummy I had cake for 150 and only 80 guests and there was NONE left over. My point is it wasn't that long ago things were different and the wedding industry has exploded and really knows how to market itself

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 9:28pm
post #11 of 52

I think it's also regional. I was researching a new market area a couple of years ago and had my niece helping me with the local stuff. We are one hour apart. An easy drive. No biggie.

Here, in Indy, I found it was almost a given that you give tastings/samplings. In the other market area, just a lousy 1 hour drive away, when my niece was asking "do you charge for samplings?", she got a 100% response of "charge for WHAT?" icon_eek.gif None of the food/cake providers in that town had heard of (or did a) sampling for brides.

Bfisher2 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 10:08pm
post #12 of 52

I dont do tasteings unless you are a booked customer with money down. Maybe that seems harsh, but business is business.

ShopGrl1128 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 10:40pm
post #13 of 52

I had this lady emailed me the other day, she tasted FOUR of my flavors on the last bridal show and wanted to come for a consultation and tasting, she told me she loved my cakes and she even took some samples home for her fiance and her mom.When I asked how many servings she needed....30!!!...30!!! I (very nicely) told her that I only did tasting for 75 servings or more but since she enjoyed my samples so much she alredy knew how I baked, she replied that she wanted 'the experience', oh! by the way, she wanted the cake to be delivered 1-1/2hr away!, I replied only did delivery and tasting for 75 serv. or more and she needed to pick up the cake and if she wanted a tasting she would have to pay $25.00...Never heard back from her thumbs_up.gif

This other lady wasted an hour of my time, she wanted to taste SEVERAL flavors to order....wait for it...TWELVE cupcakes...I told her sure you can taste them! they're $3.00 each.

I had previuoly talked to her mom over the phone (the mom works for a friend), when the mom mentioned her dd wanted a tasting I told her free tastings were for 75 serv. or more but I had cupcakes at the shop for sale, I also gave her pricing but apparently she didn't tell her dd because when I gave her the final price at the consultation she looked shocked! and I was giving her a deal! of course they didn't book but, fine with me.

ayerim979 Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 10:55pm
post #14 of 52

I also believe that the TV shows have alot to do with it.

It reminds me of the time my sister begged and begged for me to make her friend a cake. I for one did not like that friend besides the fact that I make cakes for friends and family so of course I said no. My sister then proceeds to tell me that her friends daughter is turning 1 and shes going all out to make this birthday special and that the babys daddy had money and bla bla bla..............

My sister says I told my friend that you are going to make it, that you are just being a witch about it. So my sister gives me a picture that her friend had downloaded off the net. It was a cake from pink cake box 3 tiers princess themed. And in the back of the paper her friend writes a lil letter stating that she was willing to pay what ever it was up to 80 dollars LMAO !!!!!

I was like are you kidding me. I told my sister that I was still not going to make her friend a cake. But people are funny sometimes. My sister didnt talk to me for like a month. But yes they want all for nothing.

artscallion Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 11:16pm
post #15 of 52

It's funny. I'd never think to weedle a plumber or doctor down from their stated price.

catlharper Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 11:28pm
post #16 of 52

Lesson learned...charge for tastings. I'm still very small, just starting out and chances are the bride has had my cake at another event but for those few I have booked for bridal showers they didn't have a tasting. I've only done two weddings in the past two years, another coming up this year, but if they ask for a tasting I will be charging and stating that the fee will be applied to the cake order...you guys are wonderful!

costumeczar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 12:20am
post #17 of 52

I was watching Rich Bride Poor Bride today, and it was about all I could do to not smack this girl through the tv. This was the bride who wanted everything at cost, because she said that she didn't think she should pay more than what things actually cost the vendors. What got me was that almost everyone she went to interview let her get huge discounts after she whined and cried and wheedled them! It might have been that they felt they had to because there was a tv camera in their face, but come on! That gives people the idea that they can bargain for anything and if you're pushy enough people will give in to you! Drives me nuts.

I think that those shows make people think that all vendors are so desperate for business, they're willing to discount everything to get a little money. Not true, my friends...Send some of those brides to me and you'll see the first vendor to say no to a bridezilla and point her in the direction of Walmart when she leaves! icon_twisted.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 12:29am
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I was watching Rich Bride Poor Bride today, and it was about all I could do to not smack this girl through the tv. This was the bride who wanted everything at cost, because she said that she didn't think she should pay more than what things actually cost the vendors.




Well, isn't SHE special! I think they called that slave labor. icon_rolleyes.gif

Let's define "cost". icon_twisted.gif

Cost to buy the food.
Cost to TRANSPORT the food to my kitchen.
Cost to TRANSPORT the food to your reception.
Cost for the staff to prep/cook the food (unless you want the frozen bag of meatballs just laid on your reception table).
Cost of the equipment to serve the food from.
Cost of the table linens. Cost of delivery and return of the table linens.
Cost of cleaning supplies.
Costo of the accountant's bill to invoice the bride and take care of my taxes.
Cost of payroll taxes.
Cost of amortized insurance.
Cost of overhead ... rent for the building to prepare your food; utilities to cook your food; water to make sure you're eating off of clean dishes.

Cost of the food? Hell, babe, I'll DONATE the freakin' cost of the food. That's not the EXPENSE of your event.

Dumba$$es.

aobodessa Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 12:47am
post #19 of 52

Well, ladies and gents, I guess I'm in the minority here -- again -- because I try to always provide a 6" sample at my wedding cake meetings. I will generally ask on the phone the date of the wedding, location of the party, how many people expected to serve, and your favorite type of cake. I then try to have a 6" layer baked and iced, including borders and maybe -- maybe -- some simple sidework. This sample is to give the idea of what I can do (in the event they've not seen or had my cakes), how fresh their cake will be, and serving size (I cut a slice the same size as I would at the wedding, but show them that their cake will have 2 layers, so they are only sampling 1/2 of what a serving will be).

They get one flavor. That's it. I also ask what their favorite icing is, if it's sweeter, or less sweet; soft, or does it have a "crust" on the outside? This helps me to customize the sample, which shows the Bride that I am willing to provide fresh cake, decent sized servings, and try to customize to their specifications as best I can.

How often do Brides not give me the deposit? Less than 1% of the time. I think only 4 or 5 in the last 34 years is a pretty good record, don't you?

Also, I think you need to realize that how you treat your clients/customers tells them a lot about not only what they can expect from you, but how far you will go to be on their side. I've got a lot of repeat customers, partly because I treat them quite well, and I'm always nice about explaining why my prices are what they are.

I just finished another meeting about an hour ago, and for over $900, the cake I just sold is someone who was recommended by a prior client. They LOVED the sample strawberry cake I made for them, and we worked together to make the design work for both the Bride and the Groom.

I have given discounts in the past (most notably for a Bride who was getting married in 3 weeks because fiancee was due to be shipped overseas, and also for a Bride whose family had suffered a house fire that caused them to lose almost evrything), but only for good causes that I felt were worthy. I make my decisions about how much to charge, and I determine who is worthy of a discount, if any.

I guess it may also just be a difference in style based on location, too.

As for Brides who want to taste more than 1 flavor, I explain that I only offer one flavor at a tasting. If they require more, I am always willing to bake them a cake for an event (or just for the opportunity to have it) at a price that is reasonable. I've not had anyone complain about "only" getting to taste one thing. They just understand that I have a policy, and that's what it is.

'Nuff said.

loriemoms Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:02am
post #20 of 52

hahaha you guys are so great! (I agree, if they want the FOOD part free, that is no problem! That is why I laugh that "fake tiers should be cheaper. I tell them Styrofoam is more expensive then cake! If anything, the fake tier should cost MORE!)

I had this one bride who was BRAGGING how she was going to every bakery in town because she wanted to make sure she tried Everyone's cake! (I guess I won that one, because I booked that wedding)

I agree with y'all, I really do blame TV. I dont remember going to a tasting when I got married either, we just picked a cake out of a book and told them what flavors we wanted. But in our area, everyone does tastings. For free. Some charge for "extra" cake, like if you want to order a 6 inch cake, but a couple of bakeries give out like 10 cake flavors and filings!

Does anyone do open houses? (like once a month, quarter, whatever) Do you charge for them?

costumeczar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:04am
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

[Let's define "cost". icon_twisted.gif

.




ha ha, the girl's planner gave her this exact list when she said that she wouldn't pay the $1500 a belly dancing troupe wanted for their performance, but that she was going to pay them $250. That included a snake that was going to be wrapped around one of the dancers and five people performing.

Then when she was at the catering meeting at the venue, she told the catering manager that she didn't see why she had to pay anything extra just because she wanted a specialized menu that they didn't regularly do. The catering manager didn't budge on the price, bless her! The brat said to the planner "Why should I have to pay for the extra expenses they're going to incur?" and the planner replied "Because that's how the real world works." icon_twisted.gif

costumeczar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:07am
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms


Does anyone do open houses? (like once a month, quarter, whatever) Do you charge for them?




I want to move to that system, like Jamie does. I'm going to be renting consultation space with some other wedding vendors and when I do I'm going to try out the open house system. I still won't charge for them, though, it just isn't something that people do around here.

artscallion Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:11am
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


"Why should I have to pay for the extra expenses they're going to incur?"




umm, because if it weren't for you, Ms Zilla, they wouldn't be incurring the expense.

CakeMommyTX Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:48am
post #24 of 52

I have a customer who orders from me several times a year, all her friends and family order from em as well , so she has tasted basically every flavor I make, yet still she asked for a tasting with every order?

I don't do it because I only do tastings for 100 servings or more and she's a serial minimum serving purchaser.

But it cracks me up when she wants to have a tasting for the same flavor cake she had ordered previously, as if she forgot what chocolate tasted like?

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:50am
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

But it cracks me up when she wants to have a tasting for the same flavor cake she had ordered previously, as if she forgot what chocolate tasted like?




Had a bride who requested to taste "fresh fruit" at the sampling.

What? icon_confused.gif She's never ate a freakin' strawberry before? dunce.gif

denetteb Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 1:54am
post #26 of 52

cc is good for my health.....I spend way too much time on the forums but comments like just posted by cakemommy and indy that make me laugh out loud make it worth it! Hasn't laughter been proven to be good medicine? Thanks

Tellis12 Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 2:30am
post #27 of 52

This is an interesting discussion. I'm new to the business and since I'm young and also had a very tiny wedding (cake was from Kroger!) I'm learning a lot of things with hard knocks and from this site.

I always do tastings, so far. Until recently, I thought it was just something everyone did and always had done. It would be far more convenient if I didn't have to but at this point I don't really mind. I am starting to think that charging for them is the way to go though. I think that's what I'll do next year, for sure. That way I don't have tastings that are no-shows. What a pita!

Kitagrl Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 2:43am
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

I was just talking the other day to the wedding coordinator at a venue I do a lot of cakes for, and we started talking about tastings and she said it is such a strange phenomenon right now that all the sudden all the brides are asking for tastings. She said last year she had maybe 2 brides ask for tastings and so far this year almost all of them have asked for tastings. I told her I think it's a lot of these wedding shows on TV that show brides and grooms going to cake tastings and that it's started this idea that you are missing out on some part of your wedding experience if you don't do a tasting.

I just started implementing a $25.00 fee for tastings because of this. Tired of going through all the work for some brides who are just "playing" and getting the "experience" but aren't serious. I remember doing a tasting for my wedding cake years ago, but it was to choose the flavor of the cake. We'd already chosen them as our baker.

Not only that but some of these brides expectations are ridiculous. I've had a couple brides want to try 8+ flavors! Seriously! They got to choose 4. Some people's children.




YES I have so noticed the "tasting" thing totally being expected...and the party moms are even starting it, its not just weddings anymore! I get so annoyed when someone wants a 35 serving cake but a "tasting" first just to what, make sure I'm not selling cardboard???

brea1026 Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 2:56am
post #29 of 52

This post is GREAT! So my sister's BFF is getting married in March and of course I am making her cake. I am NOT a pro- and her reception is being held at a community center, so it is not a problem for me to make it.

Here's the thing: because I am not a pro baker my friends and family get to be my guinea pigs for all my cakes. Pretty much every event our family has, I bring a cake. So the friend has had my cakes TONS of times. I can't even think of a flavor she hasn't tried. The kicker... she wants a tasting!!! Not just a simple tasting either- she wants 4 cakes, 6 different filling options and 4 different frostings!!!!!

SERIOUSLY???!!! Like others have said, I am convinced that she just wants to have the "experience" of it. The issue I am having is that while I appreciate that every bride wants the full experience, I am already making her cake at or below cost and all the time I put into is my gift to her!

I know she gets free cake from me all the time, but don't people understand all the time it takes to do these things??? UGH! I don't know how you all do it!

Kitagrl Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 2:59am
post #30 of 52

I know, I have a friend who I"m doing a wedding cake for, and I'm giving her a discount...but she wanted a tasting too. *sigh* Oh well, I gave it.

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