Charging More For Wedding Cake?

Business By cakiemommie Updated 5 Apr 2010 , 4:55am by ladyonzlake

cakiemommie Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 8:32pm
post #1 of 27

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forums here.. but I love all the information that can be found here.. WOW.

ok.. so here's my problem.

I have done several wedding cakes in the past. It's certainly not the bulk of my business though. Recently I had a bride come to me who didn't have much money, god love her! I completely understand where people like this are coming from because when I got married we could barely afford anything! (my dress was a hand me down!) She is having a small wedding and reception and only expecting 30-40 people. My rates for cake are $2.25 a serving for buttercream, $3 for fondant and $4 for carved. These are more or less comparable with my location. (the midwest)

So, because she's only serving 40 people and the cake she wants is a simple one. I am charging her $90.. not including delivery and anything else that may come up.

Apparantly she's told other cakers in the area that this is the price I quoted her because ever since I have been receiving what can only be described as hate mail! lol.. seriously. They are so angry at me for only charging her $90! Most of these other people in my area charge more for wedding cakes..(even though their slices are smaller) and to me that's just not fair!

I'm not here to tell anyone how to run their business.. ultimately, you need to do what's best for you based on supply and demand. But for me, it's just a form of price gouging... What do I care what event the cake is for?? You could cut it in half and serve it to two people, or take it to a prison for the inmates... really what you do with it is none of my business.. I charge per serving and charge extras for "fancier" things, fondant and carving. That's it.

But there is this pressure from my fellow cake communtity here to charge more simply because it's a wedding.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Support? Criticism?

Thanks Everyone!

26 replies
leah_s Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 8:46pm
post #2 of 27

Actually I believe that most of us charge the same per serving price. As you said, I don't care what the occasions is, my prices start at $3 for bc and go up from there. I always use the Wilton wedding cake chart to determine size and pricing. I always have an equipment fee and a delivery fee, but for a cake that small, I'm assuming they'd pick it up to avoid the delivery fee.

What concerns me, it that you say your slices are larger than others. That's what's not right. The Wilton charts are almost universally accepted and used by caterers all over the country. Even if you provide more cake out of your own pocket, the caterer is going to cut by the Wilton chart. They all do.

But, bottom line, no there's no reason the word "wedding" makes a cake cost more. However, because its a wedding cake, it may demand higher level decorating skills and techniques. That's what the customer pays for.

LaBellaFlor Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 8:49pm
post #3 of 27

I have a flat rate for ALL special occasion cakes. It doesn't matter what type of special occassion it is, be it a baby shower or wedding. Unless you are seriously under pricing for your area, I wouldn't worry about other bakers. In fact, I can't believe your getting e-mails from them. When people under price around here, as much as I don't like it, I figure it won't be long before they are out of business.

On another note, sounds like the bride sold you a sad story. She went around price comparing you and obviously was trying to get the other bakers to price match you or beat your price. Don't ever lower your price, because of a sad story. You just don't know if it's real. And look what it got you in this case.

cakiemommie Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #4 of 27

leah- Hi! thanks for the reply. It's good to hear that most other people don't charge more for wedding cake. But I live very near a "bridal district" and they certainly do charge more.

What I meant by them serving smaller slices is this. I serve more or less by the Wilton serving chart. that is 1x2x4 inch slices... sometimes 2x2x4. but the bakeries around here that do wedding cakes serve "formal" slices of cake which are a bit smaller. not sure what that's about, but they have the serving charts posted on their websites.

to Belleflour- yes i agree.. i did think it rather unscrupulous to go around telling everyone what I was charging. I assume in the hopes of having them lower their prices. But I assure you I did not give in to a "sad story".. she simply said that she didn't have a lot of money to spend. and I could relate to that. So we picked a simple small cake that could accomodate her budget. I did not lower my prices for her. $90 is what i would charge anyone for the same cake. Thanks for your comment!

catlharper Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 9:10pm
post #5 of 27

Hi there,

I'm with the group. I charge per serving no matter what type of cake it is. My starting prices are higher...$3 for buttercream and $4 for fondant and they up from there depending on decoration/difficulty. For instance, my carved cakes start at $6. But it doesn't matter if the cake is a buttercream with simple trim that's for a baby shower or for a wedding..still would be that starting price of $3 per serving. Makes it SOOO much easier.

indydebi Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 10:39pm
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakiemommie

What I meant by them serving smaller slices is this. I serve more or less by the Wilton serving chart. that is 1x2x4 inch slices... sometimes 2x2x4. but the bakeries around here that do wedding cakes serve "formal" slices of cake which are a bit smaller.



Ok, now you've really confused me. icon_eek.gif

Do you figure a serving size of 8 cubic inches (1x2x4) or 16 cubic inches (2x2x4)? One is TWICE the size of the other. icon_confused.gif This is a big difference and not just a casual "oh sometimes it's one and sometimes it's the other!" type of response.

If you are selling 2x2x4 serving sizes for $2.25/serving, then I can see how you've got the locals riled up. Logically, if your "standard" price-per-serving is $2.25, then the 2x2x4 piece should sell for $4.50.

Pick one size and stick to it. I, too, would recommend the Wilton Weddign chart since that's what caterers cut by. My pricing was also the same, no matter what the event.

minicuppie Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:03pm
post #7 of 27

If you didn't "fall" for a sad story...then WHY DID YOU GIVE HER A DISCOUNT? Yes , I am yelling. Do you have a special...I can relate pricing category? If so advertise it so the other cakers will know and maybe even send those people to you.....

cakemaker30 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:11pm
post #8 of 27

I don't think she gave her a discount. She said her prices start at $2.25 for buttercream and the bride needed to serve 40 people.

$2.25 per serving x 40 people = $90

KarmaStew Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:16pm
post #9 of 27

I also would be irritated at a baker, any baker, who was grossly undercutting me because she felt sorry for a bride with a budget. I wouldn't send you hate mail, but I would definately let you know that you are behaving inappropriately and need to raise the bar for yourself.

minicuppie Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:18pm
post #10 of 27

Larger slices equal more cake equals discount in my book.

KHalstead Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:22pm
post #11 of 27

That's not a discount.....that's exactly what I charge for a cake to serve 40 as well. I round down wilton's chart so a 40 serving cake for me would be a 6" and a 9" and I charge $2.25/serv. for bc as well (I'm in OHIO) and I too would have quoted $90 for that same cake. I deliver free in my city, and charge a $25 set up fee...but a cake that small the bride could potentially ONLY pay $90 if they pick it up themselves or allow me to deliver it assembled (I don't charge the set up fee if I can do a drop and run)


I really think the other bakers in your area just have sour grapes!!

And for the record, people where I am (by people I mean the store front bakeries) charge $1.50/serv. for bc and only $2.00 for fondant!!!

cakesdivine Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:31pm
post #12 of 27

What should concern you more is why is she going around to other bakers after tasting your product and getting a great price from you? Maybe she doesn't like your decorating skills, or maybe she didn't like the taste of your cakes. My thought is always if your product tastes superior, your price is on point to their budget, and you have mad decorating skills, then they won't be price comparing elsewhere. Since you don't have any photos posted I have no idea what your skill level is. Just something to think about.

Also, I use the Wilton chart. The Wilton chart is 1x2x4 for weddings and 2x2x2 for party which is actually the same amount of cake: 8 cubic inches. 2x2x4 is a huge amount of cake, 16 cubic inches, about the same as 2 cupcakes! If that is what you are basing your amount of servings on you are giving away 50% of your cake! I have never heard of anyone using anything smaller than the 1x2x4 serving, but I suppose it is a possibility.

KHalstead Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:36pm
post #13 of 27

there are some bakers around here who use 1"x2"x3" (not sure why their cakes are so squatty), I get a lot of brides that say "OHHHHH your cakes or 4"-5" tall??? That's a LOT more cake for my money isn't it?" lol

cakesdivine Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 3:43pm
post #14 of 27

Doesn't matter how tall the serving size, it is still based on 1x2x4 (8 cubic inches). If you add an additional inch to the height then you adjust on the other dimensions to accommodate an 8 cubic inch serving. So if it is 5" tall there is more cake servings so you make more money. If it is a 6" tall cake that is 50% more cake so you charge for 50% more servings. If it is shorter then again there are fewer servings in the cake, so you make less money and have to accommodate the lost servings somewhere else, say in another tier.

Swede-cakes Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:27pm
post #15 of 27

So if the standard is Wilton, what if some bakers use an altered servings chart like Earlene's? Those are slightly bigger than Wilton, I believe 1.5"x2"x4"h. That's 12 cu.in. And to use KHalstead's example, a 9/6 from Earlene's chart provides 30 servings and KHalstead sells it as 40. That's 10 servings in difference!

And how do you know if each venue you work with will cut according to Wilton? Do you ask them?

Loucinda Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 7:18pm
post #16 of 27

You give them a copy of the wilton cutting guide with the cake...if they don't follow it, they don't get that amount of servings.

KHalstead Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 7:39pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swede-cakes

So if the standard is Wilton, what if some bakers use an altered servings chart like Earlene's? Those are slightly bigger than Wilton, I believe 1.5"x2"x4"h. That's 12 cu.in. And to use KHalstead's example, a 9/6 from Earlene's chart provides 30 servings and KHalstead sells it as 40. That's 10 servings in difference!

And how do you know if each venue you work with will cut according to Wilton? Do you ask them?




I give my customers a copy of MY chart and tell them, this is what I charge by......I also show them a styrofoam piece of "cake" cut to 1"x2"x4" and let them know my cakes tend to run a little taller, so they'll have a little more cake but they're guaranteed what I say out of the cake. I round wilton's chart down to the nearest 5 servings. They say an 8" serves 24, I say it serves 20, they say a 6" serves 12, I say it serves 10 and so on. This is what I'm comfortable with! I tell them they will get 24 slices out of an 8" but I quote 20, so if I have to stay and cut the cake it gives me alittle buffer zone for any errors I might make in the actual cutting of the cake!

If they want bigger cuts than my chart says, they order more cake!

IMO Earlene's chart is way TOO much cake.........but if I did use her chart, I'd charge double what I charge now to make up for the extra amount of cake that's all.

cakiemommie Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:37pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

What should concern you more is why is she going around to other bakers after tasting your product and getting a great price from you? Maybe she doesn't like your decorating skills, or maybe she didn't like the taste of your cakes. My thought is always if your product tastes superior, your price is on point to their budget, and you have mad decorating skills, then they won't be price comparing elsewhere. Since you don't have any photos posted I have no idea what your skill level is. Just something to think about.

Also, I use the Wilton chart. The Wilton chart is 1x2x4 for weddings and 2x2x2 for party which is actually the same amount of cake: 8 cubic inches. 2x2x4 is a huge amount of cake, 16 cubic inches, about the same as 2 cupcakes! If that is what you are basing your amount of servings on you are giving away 50% of your cake! I have never heard of anyone using anything smaller than the 1x2x4 serving, but I suppose it is a possibility.





what was that? sounded kinda condescending didn't it? first of all, who said anything about her tasting my cake? we didn't have a tasting, just a brief consult. and listen, this gal has spent all her money on the dress and the reception. she has no money.. my cake could be the best thing she's ever put in her mouth, she simply can't afford it. so a small cake for what i quoted her was appropriate... If she went looking to others it's not because my cake tastes bad (which she wouldn't know) or that I lack decorating skills. I'm an experienced decorator and I'm great at what I do. She went looking for a better price because she's broke. flat out. and like i said, I don't begrudge her that.. I am still doing her cake though, because everyone one else has different wedding prices that are higher.

I don't think i would ever post pictures of my work. not because i'm not confident and proud of it. but that clearly there are people here who want to "rate me" here in the forums.. no thanks! If i had a negative opinion or a criticizm of someone else's work, i'd keep it to myself unless they asked me directly what i thought.

also, i made a typo. my serving sizes never changes but the size of my pieces do.. i meant to sat 2x2x2 for a sheet or party cake. not 2x2x4....

Sagebrush Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 11:37pm
post #19 of 27

WHOA! I don't think the previous poster was trying to put you down... she was saying that the BRIDE was being rude to you after all you'd done for her by going to the other bakers, and on top of THAT telling them not only what price she already had, but that it was you that had offered her that price (hence leading to them knowing who to send nasty emails to).

Also, regarding her situation... she TOLD you that she had spent on the money on the dress and the reception and has none left for cake. I have seen so many stories, though, from other cakers about brides that told them similar things just to get a good deal, or where they had spent all their money on rather pricey dresses, venues, and/or lots of guests and then gone to caker wanting them to work for a pittance to make up for their lack of budgeting elsewhere.

I see them looking out for you... NOT diss-ing you.

7yyrt Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 4:52am
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakiemommie

also, I made a typo. I meant to say 2x2x2 for a sheet or party cake. not 2x2x4....



I figured it was a typo, hoped it was... icon_biggrin.gif

Your prices are your prices. Charge what makes sense to you.
There's a customer base for each baker.
My customer is NOT Mike McCarey's customer. (My decorating isn't his either.)

cakesdivine Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 6:21am
post #21 of 27

Not putting you down at all, trying to get you to see that the bride was still shopping well after you gave her the best offer, and causing you grief from other decorators. Not sure why she was still shopping if your offer fit her budget. That is a business question you have to ask yourself and maybe even her.

What I don't understand is in your post that you quoted my post, you stated that your price was out of her budget range, if that was the case then I am not understanding why she was using your price per serving as a bargaining tool and upsetting other bakers to the point of harrassment towards you. So which is it...are you the low price person or out of her price range so she kept shopping?

And about the photos, lots of people don't post their photos, and it is your own business as to why you don't want to, I couldn't care less. I was just saying that without seeing your work I really could only speculate as to why the bride would keep shopping. There are only 3 reasons a bride would keep shopping and that is price (which yours from your own statement was the lowest), taste, and/or decorating ability. Since she didn't taste that was an element that was missing to help seal the deal. But with so few servings I can understand why there wasn't a sampling done. I too won't do a sampling for a potential order under 100 servings. There is a puzzle piece missing and as a business person you need to look at every angle as too why she continued to shop after being given a really good price. That is all I was trying to say.

Sagebrush Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 8:22am
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

There are only 3 reasons a bride would keep shopping and that is price (which yours from your own statement was the lowest), taste, and/or decorating ability.




I was trying to tell DH about this thread, and his reaction was that of course you go to a few different places and get quotes from all of them (and why not see if you can get someone to give you an even better deal than what you've already got). So, I think that's at least one more reason... some people are bargain hunters by nature and just always try to find the best deal they can, even if they've already been given a good deal, they want to see if they can better it.

indydebi Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 10:52am
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagebrush

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

There are only 3 reasons a bride would keep shopping and that is price (which yours from your own statement was the lowest), taste, and/or decorating ability.



I was trying to tell DH about this thread, and his reaction was that of course you go to a few different places and get quotes from all of them.


In corporate america, it's almost mandatory to get at least 3 quotes on ANYTHING you do. I had a boss who wouldnt' even talk to me about projects unless I had 3 quotes in my hand. Didnt' mean we didnt' like the first quote. Just meant we had to do some price, service and quality comparisons to make sure we were getting a bargain. (When I'm spending $100,000 on a project, spending that is authorized by my signature alone, you bet your patooty I'm getting quotes from everybody I can!)

catlharper Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 6:24pm
post #24 of 27

If you are giving a 90.00 quote on tiers that are 4 inches high and the competition is giving 90.00 quote on tiers that are 2 inches high then yes, you are giving more cake for the price...twice as much cake in fact...so according to your competition, you are selling your cake for half as much as theirs. That would upset them. BUT...I'm the type who is trying to cover my overhead and pay myself for my labor and NOT gouge the client so I really don't pay attention to the competition and have my own pricing. I found out recently when I had to purchase a cake for a destination wedding, that my prices were fairly competitive but I really was just figuring out what I personally felt I needed to get for a cake based on overhead and labor.

rainyone Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 6:49pm
post #25 of 27

possibility too that she didn't keep shopping but rather called and cancelled appts telling them the price she had from you. Could be that those appts were made before yours.

tavyheather Posted 9 Mar 2010 , 10:06pm
post #26 of 27

you all are going to give me an aneurysm with all these calculations... dunce.gif

ladyonzlake Posted 5 Apr 2010 , 4:55am
post #27 of 27

I have a minimum order of $100.00 (I'm considering raising it to $200) and ALL of my cakes start at $3.75 per serving and includes fondant. I do not discount for buttercream and I acutally have brides who prefer buttercream over fondant. I charge the same for wedding or celebration cakes. Celebration cakes tend to be more per seving due to the intricate desgins.

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