I was always taught that a standard wedding cake serving size is 1" wide x 2" deep x 4" tall.
Interesting how different bakeries have different ideas about what a serving size is for wedding cake. Especially since we all base our fees off how many servings of wedding cake the client is purchasing! Let me further describe what I mean.
1. by my servings a 6,8,10, 12, and 14 cake feeds 165.
(I use Earlene Moore's chart http://www.earlenescakes.com/ckserchart.htm ) and also did some measuring.
2. Wilton charts claim it feeds 180
3. one of my competitors (lets just call them competitor X) in Charlotte claims that SAME 5 tier cake consisting of 6, 8, 10 12 and 14 layers serves 275.
So while I charge 3.75 per serving (starting price) x 165 servings = $618.75
my competitor who looks as if they charge less at 3.00 per serving
claims the same cake is 275 servings
so 3.00 x 275 = $893.75 for the same cake!
Or to put it differently:
a bride calls and says she wants 100 servings of wedding cake (I'm using a round number to make this easy to follow) and asks how much the cake will be.
I answer 100 servings x 3.75 (not including delivery) it will equal $375.00, she never asks what size tiers.
the same bride calls competitor X and asks again how much will it be for a cake to feed 100. Competitor Xs 100 servings x 3.00 = $300.00
In her mind she believes she has just found out what two different bakers charge for the SAME cake which serves 100 people. What she doesnt realize is that it is not the SAME size cake at all! I am selling her a 4 tier cake consisting of 6, 8, 10, and 12 tiers
and competitor X is selling her a 3 tier cake of 6, 8 and 12 tiers
Now this competitor is very large and successful here and is making more money off less cake and leaving the client thinking they got a lower price! But they are really not providing enough cake for the amount of guests.
marketing. That's all it is. But, really, the Wilton charts are the industry standard. A 6/8/10/12/14, serving the top tier serves 211. If you're using any other chart you're giving away free cake.
Time for some customer education on your website.
I've seen that same type of serving-info on grocery store cakes. My family is pushing me away from the bakery section as I'm loudly proclaiming, "You are they kidding!! No freakin' way!!"
I tended to offer my brides advice when they called for pricing (which was posted on the website anyway) or during their consult. I encouraged them to comparision shop ("YOu're spending a lot of money on this event, so be sure you find the right vendor at the right price who can offer what you are looking for.") I'd also offer suggested questions for them.
"As you do your comparision shopping, be sure to ask what size they determine a serving to be. For example, the industry standard is 1x2x4. Here's a chart to show you how many servings that is per cake size. If someone is offering you more cake than this chart shows, then their slices of cake are pretty tiny and you're are pretty much being short-changed."
It showed them that I was not just interested in booking this biz, but I cared about their wedding, I cared about them, and I was offering all kinds of help to them. Brides tend to book with the vendor they feel is the most helpful to them.
I totally hear you, and agree! Apparently, the "industry standard" is subjective from time to time as Wilton's serving chart has changed. The serving portions have always been 1x2x4, but their old serving charts (& cutting guide) show more servings than the newer charts, so even if you're using a Wilton chart (the newer ones), you're still giving away free cake.
Since your competitor is using a standard which is closest to the old serving guide, perhaps you could do the same for your area (use the old guide) and also charge $3.00 per serving. It would eliminate some of the confusion for your customers while allowing them to easily compare apples to apples.
I'm glad to see that you noticed this difference, and brought it up. Maybe someone out there knows the reason why Wilton changed their own serving chart while the serving portions remained the same!