They Weren't Happy With The Cake, So Now What?

Decorating By steph95 Updated 23 Jun 2010 , 1:59am by heavenlys

KHalstead Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 2:20pm
post #31 of 56

I just wanted to suggest that if you HAVE to take your children, see if you can find a friend to come along with you and sit with them in the car. People look down on others leaving their kids in the car (especially with all the press about kids crashing cars into buildings when left in a running vehicle, people stealing cars w/ kids in them, and of course, children dying from being left in a car when it's hot out).

I have an 11 yr. old son who always BEGS to go with me (he finds the cake business to be interesting) and I've always told him "no....you can't, because it won't look professional if I have a kid in tow". Then I thought about it and realized he could be an "asset" to me. So for Christmas this past year I bought him a black chef's coat w/ my business logo on it (matches mine) and he now goes with me to deliver wedding cakes. He looks professional, he grabs the doors for me, as I unbox cakes he takes the boxes and stacks them inside eachother, runs them back to the van and comes back w/ my clip board.

He also manages to field a lot of questions for my business cards, where we're located, etc. and is always ready to hand them out when people ask. When people comment about him being young for a cake decorator, he laughs and points to me working on the cake and says... "you have to start young to get this good!" Gotta love that kid! lol (I've only been doing this 2 yrs.....but they don't know that lol)

He tells people he's my sous chef! Hopefully he won't expect to start getting a salary! : )

Spuddysmom Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:08pm
post #32 of 56

KHalstead, I LOVE how you have worked this out with your son... your biz will soon be "... & Son". That wouldn't work with certain events, but what a great experience for both of you. He sounds like a very intelligent, clever, responsible 11 yr. old who will probably have his own bakery at 13.

snocilla Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:32pm
post #33 of 56

Tina, you are brilliant! I love it!

kilikina_24 Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:43pm
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I just wanted to suggest that if you HAVE to take your children, see if you can find a friend to come along with you and sit with them in the car. People look down on others leaving their kids in the car (especially with all the press about kids crashing cars into buildings when left in a running vehicle, people stealing cars w/ kids in them, and of course, children dying from being left in a car when it's hot out).

I have an 11 yr. old son who always BEGS to go with me (he finds the cake business to be interesting) and I've always told him "no....you can't, because it won't look professional if I have a kid in tow". Then I thought about it and realized he could be an "asset" to me. So for Christmas this past year I bought him a black chef's coat w/ my business logo on it (matches mine) and he now goes with me to deliver wedding cakes. He looks professional, he grabs the doors for me, as I unbox cakes he takes the boxes and stacks them inside eachother, runs them back to the van and comes back w/ my clip board.

He also manages to field a lot of questions for my business cards, where we're located, etc. and is always ready to hand them out when people ask. When people comment about him being young for a cake decorator, he laughs and points to me working on the cake and says... "you have to start young to get this good!" Gotta love that kid! lol (I've only been doing this 2 yrs.....but they don't know that lol)

He tells people he's my sous chef! Hopefully he won't expect to start getting a salary! : )




That's ADORABLE!! Love it!!

KathysCC Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:45pm
post #35 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

So for Christmas this past year I bought him a black chef's coat w/ my business logo on it (matches mine) and he now goes with me to deliver wedding cakes.




Great story, would love to see a picture of the two of you in your matching jackets.

mamawrobin Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:47pm
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

So for Christmas this past year I bought him a black chef's coat w/ my business logo on it (matches mine) and he now goes with me to deliver wedding cakes.



Great story, would love to see a picture of the two of you in your matching jackets.




Ditto thumbs_up.gif

KHalstead Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:07pm
post #37 of 56

I'll have to have someone take one next time he goes with me (he's at his Dad's for the summer right now), usually it's just the 2 of us so I guess I never thought of anyone snapping a photo. Lots of photographers have taken photos of us getting stuff set up together though.

He loves being a part of it, and honestly this summer delivering without him has made me realize how much he REALLY does help me. I'm usually there before too many people are around, so I'm having to make multiple trips to the van, open and prop doors for myself, mess with boxes and just when I think I'm done I've got to run back and get my clip board for someone to sign off on the cake.

He never touches the cakes, and I let people know that...but he does a lot of the little stuff, mostly running back and forth bringing in my tools, taking out boxes, bringing in clip board, carrying out tools.

I get to carry the cakes, unbox, stack, put on borders and he does the rest.....HUGE time saver and a BIG help!

Not sure the OP's kids ages.....but if you've got any over the age of 10 or so, stick em' in a chef's coat lol

I got my son's for about $20 and then paid $7 at a local shop to have the business name put on.

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:38pm
post #38 of 56

Did I miss something? icon_confused.gif I didn't see anywhere in the OP that she brought her children with her? Where did that come from?

The reference to TV was NOT about children watching TV, but a reference to people-in-general who watch the Cake Shows on TV and see them all delivered pre-assembled so they think all cakes are done that way.

I also believe all decorating should be done before delivery. I agree there are some things that need done at the venue (adding flowers, some borders, etc), but I rarely took more than 10 minutes (15 max) to set up a cake. I spent years delivering all cakes unassembled but as volume increased, I had to start delivering them assembled or partially assembled. I just didn't have time to do the work on-site.

SPCC Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:42pm
post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by steph95

I haven't done very many wedding cakes. I didn't charge her alot because of that. I am not a big city decorator. The cakes I have done have been for back yard weddings and receptions at fire halls. As for my children, they were in the car with the A/C on watching a movie. They were never out of the car and I was able to see them from where I was working. Ok, I should have maybe done the scrollwork before leaving, but I am always so worried of something happening to the cake on my way there. (I don't do fondant, just BC.)




indydebi here you go! she didn't say it in the original but later on down in the posts.

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:43pm
post #40 of 56

SPCC, thanks for posting that! Now I'm on the same page! thumbs_up.gif

snocilla Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:45pm
post #41 of 56

Yes, Debi, you missed this part of the clients letter:

Quote:
Originally Posted by steph95

I was busy, and upset that the cake was not finished, but should have offered for you and the children to go inside . They could have watched TV while you worked.




and then someone asked later and she said her children were in the car...

snocilla Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:47pm
post #42 of 56

oh.. I guess I'm a little slow icon_smile.gif

Pinkest Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 4:15am
post #43 of 56

Having your customer tell you that something is wrong IS a mortifying feeling, but, unfortunately, in this instance, the customer is justifed.

First, you "weren't happy" with it, but you also "thought it was OK" - which is it? If you are not happy with it, why on earth would you think that the customer would be? You are the professtional, and if it is not up to scratch, then you have to suck it up and do it until it is right and you are happy with it.

Second, why would you attempt a cake (you have said that you have not "done many") that you are basically completely unfamiliar with, for a wedding? There is no other day on earth for stressful situations to turn into disasters like there is on someone's wedding day. If you accept the order, then you have to deliver, even if that means doing a real-time practise run first to make sure you can do the job. You now know what happens when you are unprepared.

Then there is assembling at the venue, made so much worse by the fact that a) you have your kids on your mind, even though you left them in the car, and b) you are running late because of poor time management skills.

All round, this is an unmitigated horror job, and to only offer the customer a justified apology (it becomes justified when you add an explanation, no matter what that explanation is) as your first response is unacceptable. Frankly, if I was the customer, I would be expecting a minimum of 50% back, and I would be telling you in no uncertain terms of what I think of an offer for 10% off a subsequent order - what subsequent order?

Any apology must be sincere, brief and to the point. No "I'm sorry, BUT" should ever be uttered.

You have decided to accept payment for your work - that makes you a professional. You MUST act like it 100% of the time, or you business will fail before it has begun.

bakescupcakes Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 6:13am
post #44 of 56

Steph95- I wish I could give you a big hug! Yes it was a wedding day, it is important, but if that's the only thing that went wrong for the bride,(which is what the MOB said) well then, she had a great day! if you consider what could've gone wrong!
I'm sure you know what you can do differently next time. You need to do what you need to do, to move past this. Weather it's giving the bride a full refund, or as someone else suggested, refund the labour cost because they obviously loved eating the cake (which IS VERY important) and the guests will remember that more than the tiers leaning. Or even make them an anniversary cake next year.Whatever it is you need to do. That way you're validating the bride's feelings on the matter and yours as well.

And tomorrow is a new day!

Pinkest Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 6:32am
post #45 of 56

Bakescupcakes, why is a back yard wedding less important than a wedding held in a church or a reception centre? Does that mean you should be happy with whatever you receive and just take it? I don't think so!

The perspective, as you put it, is that this poster is a professional cake decorator; therefore there is an expectation on the part of the customer that they will receive what they have paid for, no matter what the price, and no matter what the location. To provide anything less is the very definition of "unprofessional".

If this situation had happened to you, would you tell the customer that they needed to put their wedding "into perspecitve, after all, it was just in a backyard"?

Spuddysmom Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 1:11pm
post #46 of 56

Hey now, Pinkest , we are all friends here okay? The OP has received a lot of helpful, constructive criticism and responded thoughtfully. Why use terms like "unmitigated horror job"? That's rudeness thinly veiled as "being honest".

menas Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 1:39pm
post #47 of 56
Quote:
Quote:

Weather it's giving the bride a full refund, or as someone else suggested, refund the labour cost because they obviously loved eating the cake (which IS VERY important) and the guests will remember that more than the tiers leaning. Or even make them an anniversary cake next year.Whatever it is you need to do. That way you're validating the bride's feelings on the matter and yours as well.



Sorry bakescupcakes, I don't agree that because the cake was tasty makes it at all ok. You can't see taste in the photos that everyone will be showing! Even if it was the best tasting cake ever, people will always say "Remember that leaning cake at so-in-sos' wedding, that sure was good" And although I feel for the OP, you get your experience doing freebie cakes for family & friends, not for paying clients at major events. I'm a newbie myself & there are times I toy with the idea of jumping way ahead to tackling a wedding cake but I think I'll leave it to the pros! icon_smile.gif

mamawrobin Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 3:19pm
post #48 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakescupcakes

Steph95- Yes it was a wedding day, it is important, but if that's the only thing that went wrong for the bride,(which is what the MOB said) well then, she had a great day! if you consider what could've gone wrong!





Seriously icon_confused.gif The op wasn't responsible for any other part of the "wedding day". She was only responsible for the cake. I would hate to know that the "only thing that went wrong for the bride" is something that I was responsible for.

bakescupcakes Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 10:37pm
post #49 of 56

Boy I hope Steph has stopped reading these posts!!!! Menas I don't agree with you at all! Of course it's not OK to give someone a cake that tastes wonderful but looks not as you had hoped!! but give the girl a break!! people have already given steph two pages worth of advise and then pinkest decides to blast her rather harshly!
I thought this forum was to encourage and yes point out where one can improve, but one doesn't need to go on about it! By page two I sure knew what steph could do next time, and I'm a newbie! so I'm sure she got the idea.
And no I dont agree people will remember what the cake looked like, because I'm speaking from personal experience. I was married 23yrs ago and my cake looked wonderful, but even now if it comes up, people to my amazement have said " yeah I remember it was dry!!" lol I don't even remember that!!

Pinkest Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 11:26pm
post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spuddysmom

Hey now, Pinkest , we are all friends here okay? The OP has received a lot of helpful, constructive criticism and responded thoughtfully. Why use terms like "unmitigated horror job"? That's rudeness thinly veiled as "being honest".




If you say so.

I used that term, because I can well imagine how stressed the OP was... she's late, her kids are in the car, so she is going to be thinking on them, there are guests, the cake isn't right, what happens doesn't go to plan, her stress level is building, so things go even less right, the MOB is milling around, the guests are milling, stress is rising, cake is still not going right...

So, yes, all round, this entire job is, imo, a disaster. What would you call it?

Honest is honest. Having read some of the other threads on this forum, please don't patronise me by saying that "we are all friends" - because that is just not true.

Irish245 Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 12:07am
post #51 of 56

Pinkest, I think you might be best to just stop now. There is no reason to be rude. We're all here to help....not put people down. I'm sure when you started out, you didn't do everything perfectly. Please back off.

Doug Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 12:21am
post #52 of 56

Honesty can be tactful; it doesn't have to seem like kicking a dog when it's already injured and down.

Decency, courtesy, and respect are the hallmarks of a truly civil person.

All of which we should all be striving for in our lives at all times.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 12:24am
post #53 of 56

KH love the kid in a chef coat thing! Might have to think about that for a couple of my kids soon. A couple times I've taken my oldest (he just turned 10) to help me carry my royal icing and stuff inside. Sometimes my husband, when he delivers, takes my 5 year old but he is very quiet and responsible and just opens a door or tags along quietly.

I was at a cake competition and one of the pastry chefs had her little girl, and the little girl had the cutest pink chef coat with the business logo on it...I agree, if the child is actually obeying the parent and learning and helping, then I think people are totally cool with it.(And these days obedient helpful kids are impressive!!!) If they are there being a help, that's great. If a hindrance, then that's when it becomes unprofessional.

In the case of the OP, I think it was that the kids were in the car...kids being in cars is a huge NO NO in today's society, whether they are safe or not. (Article a couple Christmases ago about a mom who left her baby in a running, warm, locked car because it was sleeting outside and she just went to a salvation army bucket to donate something....happened to be a police behind her and got her arrested!!! 20 feet away from her warm sleeping baby!!!!)

sberryp Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 1:06am
post #54 of 56

Sorry that some people had to be rude, but I have to agree that I wouldn't bring my kids with me on sight. We live and we learn. I am pretty sure that all of the people on here have had a bad cake day. The sheet cake looked nice and I liked your other cakes.

pattycakes55d Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 1:29am
post #55 of 56

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know you only wanted to do your best and that's why you're so upset. There's been some good recommendations here. I think we all mean well. Feelings and emotions are difficult to translate effectively into words so the meaning can sometimes be construed differently. I believe everybody's heart is in the right place. So, dry your tears, go have a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Remember what things you are going to do differently and just let this go. A big hug from me!!!

heavenlys Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 1:59am
post #56 of 56

I own a family run business. My children are a big part of that. They are raught age appropriate jobs that help them learn our business.

My oldest is 10 and she has been catering with us since last summer. She has more poise than some of my part time employees, when it comes to customer service and being polite and friendly with guests. I am very proud and recieve many compliments.

My 5 year old helps in the summer during our lunch hour. She runs drinks to customers and delivers lunch tickets from the front counter to the kitchen.

My kids also have their own chef coats and uniforms for the job they are doing.

They are taught food safety and business lessons. My 10 year trains ALL my new employees in the proper procedure in cleaning the bakery bathroom. icon_lol.gif

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