Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:08pm
post #1 of

Ok....just have to vent and I am open to some words of wisdom here!

So here's what's happening.......got a call 2 days ago from a very dear friend of mine (actually my best friend and next door neighbor) to ask me if I would be interested in catering a desert bridal shower for her sister in law. The bridesmaids are hosting it and her SIL (the bride) had asked for my specialty "goumet cupcakes" (which are basically little mini torted cakes filled with filling of choice and wrapped in chocolate and topped with a dolop of buttercream). My friend then proceeded to ask her SIL and all of the other bridesmaids if it would be alright with them if I just provided all of the desserts that way it was a "one stop shop" kind of thing. So, they were all for it and she asked me to give her a price estimate for all of the deserts they desired as well as renting my cupcake tower to display everything.

So I called her with the price estimate, which around $375. She said that was fine but she would get back in touch as soon as she talked to everyone else. She calls me today wanting a breakdown of the cost and amount of all of the different desserts that she requested.......RED FLAG!! I know!......Now she's saying things like, "Well, I think we will still get the gourmet cupcakes, and rent the cupcake tower, but I think we will just go to the grocery and get some frozen stuff for the other things (ya'll know, like the frozen creme puffs and eclairs and things like that)"

My heart sunk....and my first reaction (in my head, I didn't say this out loud) to this was....if you think ya'll are putting those crappy frozen things on MY cupcake stand with next to MY specialty cupcakes, ya'll are nuts. And I kinda don't feel comfortable doing this anymore.

Is my reaction kinda harsh? I mean if she would have called and just ordered the cupcakes and tower rental, I would have thought nothing of it. I guess now I'm disapointed that I didn't get to do all the desserts. What are your thoughts?

42 replies
alsiemen Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:16pm
post #2 of

I see how you are upset...but they were probably on a budget and didn't think it would cost so much. I think that they realized they were spending too much and still wanted something "gourmet" from you. I wouldn't be offended.

Auryn Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:21pm
post #3 of

I get your feelings, Id probably feel the same way but like you said, if they had just asked you for the cupcakes and to rent your stand youd have had no problem with it.

Just remember not everyone can afford you and be happy she is not the kind of friend that tried to get you to give her some crazy special friend discount

leah_s Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:24pm
post #4 of

On the other hand . . . I won't take a cake to an event if there's cake from another baker there. It's in my contract and on my website that you have to agree to me being the sole provider.

"Wow those cupcake were aMAZing, but she sure isn't very good at making cream puffs, huh?"

Now if my biz was strictly cupcakes, I'd be OK with just providing cupcake and a stand RENTAL. If I was a dessert caterer, nun-uh.

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:25pm
post #5 of

Yeah, maybe not, but my best friend used to be in the cake business with me so she should know what it cost. I get the feeling she's the one that is being the cheapie.....She always tells me things like, "you know, for the time it takes you, you should charge more or "you gotta make these things worth your time" when I'm dealing with other customers. When we were in business together she was the one that handled the bookeeping and pricing and she was so good at helping me realize that my talent was worth something. She's really talented too, but she's more of an artist (the oil paint and canvas) and she couldn't stand the baking.

Maybe she was expecting a discount?? But, I am NOT giving a discount because I am seriously so BURNT out with discounts!!! I am finally turning a profit now that all of my equipment is paid off!!!

step0nmi Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:27pm
post #6 of

I think your feelings are valid....and I can tell your friend really loves you, your product, and supports your business BUT she has others that are doing the shower that got a little sticker shock. don't be offended by her request. tell her you can work with her and give her some things that may be cheaper. if you are worried about other desserts being at the bridal shower...I wouldn't. maybe you can suggest to her to scale things down? that would help with costs and then they wouldn't have to go get "frozen" desserts *shudder* icon_lol.gif

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:31pm
post #7 of

Leah, I creme puffs, eclairs, etc. are not on my menu. They were planning on getting a cake (to use as topper on the cupcake stand), the gourmet cupcakes, decorated cookies, petit fours, brownie bites, and possibly another dessert style cake. I am not really a desert caterer, but I do offer some types of dessert style cakes. I don't know what to do!! I think I'm more hurt than anything. I hate dealing with friends. I need to suck it up!!

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:43pm
post #8 of

sorry guys!!! I'm probably ranting and rambling on.....I'm exhausted, PMSing, and, to tell you the truth, my "people skills" this week, have MUCH to be desired!!! I need to find a rock, crawl under it, and not come out until I am in a better mood!

ninjacaker Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:50pm
post #9 of

Wow. She wanted a breakdown of the costs? How dare she!

cookiemama2 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 5:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yum2010

Yeah, maybe not, but my best friend used to be in the cake business with me so she should know what it cost. I get the feeling she's the one that is being the cheapie.....She always tells me things like, "you know, for the time it takes you, you should charge more or "you gotta make these things worth your time" when I'm dealing with other customers. When we were in business together she was the one that handled the bookeeping and pricing and she was so good at helping me realize that my talent was worth something. She's really talented too, but she's more of an artist (the oil paint and canvas) and she couldn't stand the baking.

Maybe she was expecting a discount?? But, I am NOT giving a discount because I am seriously so BURNT out with discounts!!! I am finally turning a profit now that all of my equipment is paid off!!!





I totally get this.

" of course you need to make money, But not off of 'me' I'm your friend"

Why doesn't she offer to come and help out then.

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:00pm

I just want honest opinions here. Everyone on here usually has really sound advice. I don't know if ninjacaker's post meant to be rude or not, but no snarkiness please! I'm frankly not in the mood for sarcasim. I recognize I probably should have given her the cost breakdown before hand, but it was really just a total estimate, which is all she requested at first.

Sorry, if it really wasn't meant to be sarcastic, I'm just crabby!

panipuri Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:06pm

I think, if I were buying different items from a store, I would definetely want know the cost of things per item. ( eg, eclairs $---/per dozen, cookies $ ---/dozen). So mayber she is just trying to get tha from you? AS opposed to one price for the whole thing? If you had to quote a customer, I would let them know the different costs for different desserts.

Lenette Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:07pm

We all have days when we are just not in the mood to deal with people. Friend or not!

I think your feelings are valid and if you would rather bow out then be honest with yourself and tell her you can't do it. If she was in the biz she should understand. Also, you don't want to be grumbling and mad at yourself while you are working on the order, Been there, done that and no amount of money is worth the feeling.

I recently had a previous customer inquire about cupcakes for a baby shower with almost 200 people attending. I don't think there were that many at my wedding but whatever. I gave her a price, $2 each. Well she was fine but the other people who were planning with her felt that cupcakes should not be more than $1 each. I thought about lowering my price a bit but then decided not to. After all, she found cupcakes at the grocery store for 60 cents each. She wanted to order but other folks had sticker shock.

My point is, you never know what the motives are behind the reaction and you have to live with the decision so do whatever you are comfortable with.

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sullymel13 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:08pm

This just sounds like a budget problem. Bridesmaids already have so much to pay for, so almost $400 in dessert can be a lot. She probably just wanted the breakdown to see how many desserts (and which ones) they could afford. I seriously doubt anybody would confuse frozen cream puffs with your gourmet cupcakes. Your friend is trying to get as much of the good stuff as she can within budget constraints, so don't be offended. I would be disappointed too in your situation, but try not to let it affect your friendship!

Vkandis Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:16pm

Couple of things. First why assume the worst about your friend? Sure she may have known the ins and outs of your business and when she asked the bridesmaids who were throwing the event to have you do it, she could have easily assumed that they would not have a problem with whatever you charged.

She might have had an idea but the bridesmaids did not and if she just said Hey lets let X do it all so we do not have to go more than one place it is not unlikely that they responded Sure, sounds like a good ideas. This would simply be a practical decision but one that did not necessarily factor in the question of cost.

Now if neither your friend or the bridesmaids bothered to follow up with about how much will it cost you can see how a practical planning decision can become problematic. This seems to be likely given your accounting of events as you state you quoted the price and she responded she would have to get back to you.

So she went back to those footing the bill and said here is the price. And I can easily see it going like this--Oh! we did not realize it would be that much, how much for just the cupcakes and the stand? Upon which your friend returns to you and says we would still like the cupcakes. Not an unlikely chain of events. Seems like she is more the go between than someone looking to take advantage of a friendship--without knowing more assume the best of yur friend.

Second remember that you are not dealing with her as a friend but as a clientit is not personal it is business. This means it goes both ways, you are using the client relationship as the basis for determining what you charge (i.e. you are not giving her a friend discount). If that is the case then do not let them get to you if she decides to change her plans (as I understand it they did not place the order only inquired about it).

I am not trying to diminish your feelings, but it seems you are hurt because this interaction involves one of your friendsbut from her standpoint she could easily be making a business decision. As your client the group she represents made a budget decision and decided they (best case) cannot afford or (worst case) simply do not want to pay that much for the service you planned on providing. So you simply need to make another business decision. Do you want your desserts to sit alongside cheap store bought products?

Again it is not personal it is based on principlewhat is your position about providing desserts to an event where you are not the only baker (even if that baker is Mrs. Smith ;p)? If you decide you will not serve an event that has more than you as the baker then you tell your friend this is my policy. Remember it is not a knock on you, it is poor planning on their part (not taking the time to consider what the price might be) .

adamsmom Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:19pm

I completely understand how you feel. When I decided to start doing my cupcake buisness on the side I did a shower for my Cousin-in-law and didn't want everyone who attended think that I had something to do with the other things that were brought in by others helping throw the shower. On the other hand EVERYONE asked who did the cupcakes and cupcake bites? So, if it were me I wouldn't think much of it. I'd give her the general breakdown of what each thing would approx. cost and they may just pick and choose what items they would like the most. They may not even get the other things from a chain grochery store and just use what you provide them. I'd say this is more of a budget thing and nothing to do with you being too expensive for their taste. Take the compliment that they still want you to provide some of the dessert items, it's a compliment!! Good Luck!

Lenette Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:37pm

I just wanted to add that perhaps (if you are comfortable) you could tell her that you would be happy to provide the cupcakes ONLY. That way it would be less of a chance of your name being attached to the other desserts. Just a thought...

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:41pm

Thanks everyone!! I think I will just not take this order. For some reason, I just have bad feelings about it. Especially since, she just told me to cancel the small cake on top too because she said she would just bake that one herself. AHHHH!! Did I mention, she was my business partner, so she does know how to make a cake. I am not in the mood for this and I know I will just be grumbling about it the whole time. So, better just to scrap it completely and make the bride some gourmet cupcakes another time. Don't quite know how to say that I'm not willing to do this tactfully though. Especially since it is my best friend and old business partner. It's not like her quality of work is not good, I mean, we used to work together for goodness sake. I feel terrible, but like i said, I'm not in the mood to deal with this. I know, I'm probably being a horrible person and friend! Maybe I'll tell her over some really, really strong choc. martinis tonight.

Lenette Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 8:15pm

You are not terrible! You have to do what is best for you, period. I have learned that the hard way. It is difficult sometimes but you will be happier with yourself in the long run if you follow your first mind and turn it down. If you are truly friends she will understand.

TexasSugar Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 8:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yum2010


So I called her with the price estimate, which around $375. She said that was fine but she would get back in touch as soon as she talked to everyone else. She calls me today wanting a breakdown of the cost and amount of all of the different desserts that she requested.......RED FLAG!!




I think there is a big difference in wanting a break down in the cost of the different desserts and someone asking for a break down of price for ingredients and such.

To me there was nothing wrong with her question.

If I asked someone to do serveral desserts and I felt the cost was too much or the people planning the party didn't want to spend that much, then yes I too would have asked for a break down in cost of the different items asked for so I could know what we could afford to order and what we could downsize on.

If I ordered cookies and cupcakes from somewhere and they gave me a bulk total then I would want to know how much I am spending for cookies and how much I am spending for cupcakes.

catlharper Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 8:28pm

Ok, so two things. I think your gut reaction not to do this is SO sound...dodging a bullet here, really. Second thing is that she wanted to know a break down so she could pick and choose which elements she could afford (or the bridesmaids could afford) to get from you and make up the rest of the dessert bar with cheapie items. Totally rational and yet totally insulting to you. My gut reaction was to treat this like any other client..rent the stand, make the mini cakes and let the client know not to place any other bakers items on your stand. BUT then I read that your friend wants to place her cake on the top of your stand...uhm, no.
I, too, won't take on a contract where other cakes are being served. If there is something wrong with them, either hygenically or taste wise, I don't want my cake lumped in there with those items...and I don't want my rep linked to them either. Even if the other cakes/sweets are wonderful I'm sure no other baker wants anyone to assume the cake was done by me as well as her sweets! Lastly, (oh, that's three things, huh? LOL!) this trend of dessert after dessert after dessert is insane. I'm seeing them pop up at weddings...after the full meal that they are calling the cocktail hour and then the actual full meal and after the cake...there's SO much food that most of it goes to waste. After rich wedding cake an eclair would drive my blood sugar over the edge. Just my own opinion on that. I know this is a bridal shower but same idea...it's a waste of food and too many sweets for one party...my 2 cents again.

Follow your gut, you won't regret it!

Cat

Yum2010 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 9:42pm

I know it's not irrational for her to want the breakdown of the cost of each dessert. What I meant by "red flag" was, Oh lord, my price was out of budget so she's gonna be picking and choosing and I logically know nothing is wrong with that either. I'm just having a bad day and I'm tired of people having no clue of what things cost (I KNOW not everyone does, and it's not thier fault, it's just exhausting sometimes). I've heard too many "just flour and eggs" comments (okay, they didn't use those words, but I got the point) this week, and quite frankly, I've had enough! Been getting alot of :
Customer "Hi, I'm calling to order a cake. I saw the cake you did for so and so and i loved it."
Me: "oh, thank you so much. I'm so glad to hear that. So when is your event and what type of event is it?"
Customer: "oh, its for such and such on such and such date"
Me: "Ok, great. Do you have any idea of how many people you need to serve, and what you where looking to spend?"
Customer: "Oh, I need a cake to feed about 75 people and I don't want to spend more than $50-60 if possible"
Me: !!!##$$$!!!$$##!!!! "Oh, well, let's see. My cakes that size start at around $150."
Customer: Silence
Me: "Hello?! Are you there?"
Customer: "Yes, I'm still here. But, all I want is a simple cake you know. Nothing fancy or anything"
Me: "yes, ma'am, I do understand. However, like I said my prices start for a cake that size at $150. This allows me to make your cake extra special and good quality. Your other option would be to either downsize your servings or to call such and such bakery down the road."
Customer: "Well, I just don't understand what cost so much. I mean, is it the fondant.........BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!

You get the point. I've had at least 2 calls a day so far this week that all went something like that. I guess I am taking my frustration out on my friend which I shouldn't.
It has taken all of my power not to completely loose it on someone! I guess I need to look at the positive, that my business is growing, people are liking what they are seeing at parties and events and that's why i've been getting alot inquiries lately. I just don't want to be labeled as "outragously expensive" and I know I'm not. They only have one other caker around my area that does similar work. She's become a friend of mine and is located about 20 miles away. My prices are comparable to hers. I took classes at her shop and she's taught me alot. She has a great business and is very talented and I didn't want to undercut her.

Jeez, How do all of you professionals out there stay so professional, and poised. Or have any of you reached this point of frustration as well?? I would love to hear stories. You know misery loves company. Sorry so lengthy!

CoutureCake Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 9:51pm

I think your reaction to not take the order is a very good one for a multitude of reasons. The main one being that these bridesmaids aren't factoring in what it's going to cost them just to run to the store and get all that stuff individually. Remember the day all of us got an education in how much it actually costs for the product let alone our time. Let them discover those things the hard way. It's cheaper to call Pizza Hut to cater the meal than it is for you to put together 10 pizzas yourself for the ingredients and time involved not to mention the number of trips to the store for extras.

I mean sure, sell them the cuppies but I'd avoid the stand rental for this one.. Stay smart and trust your instinct ;o)

KHalstead Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 10:10pm

I kinda thought the reason she wanted a "breakdown of the prices" was so she could knock off a couple of the items to come in at her budget.


I would go ahead and give her a list, I always give my customers an invoice that breaks down everything cost of cake per serving, added charge for fondant per serving, added charge for filling per serving, etc. I think that's normal.


Now if she's wanting to know what it's going to cost YOU to make the items then that's none of her business!!

catlharper Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 10:17pm

The answer is...YES..HELL YES...and OH YEAH...there are days where I want to scream at the rooftops "PEOPLE GET A CLUE!" But I have to keep holding it in and not letting it eat at me. As a person I've been thru so much in my life...tragedy after tragedy...and have a very low "gag" reflex (Get A Grip) to people who go all melodramatic over the cost of things. I mean, really, it's a work of art...you are not shopping at Costco lady...you are working with an ARTIST...do you REALLY want the cheap route on such an important day? Really?...sadly sometimes the answer is yes, I want the cheapest route I can get away with and not make myself look like a cheap ass. SIGH.

Hope the day gets better!

cakesbycathy Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 1:02am

I think you are better telling her you will can make all of the things she wants or none of the things or just turning down the order flat. Like some other posters, I suspect she wants a list of the general itema and the price like:
cake $X
cake bites $X
cream puffs $X
danish $X
so that she and the rest of the bridesmaids can decide what to budget for (since I'm sure they are already shelling out an arm and a leg for the dress and the shoes and the shower and ...)

You do not want your items next to grocery store items. Nobody's going to be standing next to the dessert table saying "oh she made those and they're delicious, but those ones are from the grocery store."

julia77 Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 1:27am

I think it is unreasonable to get upset that your quote for all desserts is not in your friends budget. She isn't asking for a discount, she is asking for a breakup of desserts so she can see what she CAN affort to buy from you. That to me, is not offensive.

anasazi17 Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 1:30am

Jeez, How do all of you professionals out there stay so professional, and poised. Or have any of you reached this point of frustration as well?? I would love to hear stories.

I take boxing classes (like the real kind...gear, pads, gloves). It helps...seriously. thumbs_up.gif

Evoir Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 1:41am

I don't think its offensive, or that your friend wanted a discount. She is just trying to help the bridesmaids budget.

I have a policy with friends and family...no discounts. If I am attending the event and I OFFER to make the cake, then I do it for FREE.

I have been dealing with a wedding quote this morning along the lines of the whole dessert/cake discussion. Bride is having a dessert tasting plate for guests, is 'trying to keep costs down', and hence wants 'something simple' for the cake itself. 150 guests. She sends me an email with a cake picture - the cake would serve 400+ coffee-sized portions. She wants a cake like that. But in her email she wants LESS than 150 coffee serves, as its 'part of the desserts offered', and well, she's 'tring to keep the costs down'.

Yeah.....some clients have little to no idea.

CoutureCake Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 6:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by anasazi17

Jeez, How do all of you professionals out there stay so professional, and poised. Or have any of you reached this point of frustration as well?? I would love to hear stories.

I take boxing classes (like the real kind...gear, pads, gloves). It helps...seriously. thumbs_up.gif




LOL.. I became a powerlifter where I surround myself with muscle heads (you know, the scary look'n dudes - I'm the ceremonial scary look'n chick icon_cool.gificon_eek.gif )that are the most honest thing on the planet and it's GREAT!!! No sugar coating ANYTHING, just straight out the way things are. What a great change of pace... Plus they are good for the leftovers since I don't eat much of any cake anymore..

In all seriousness though that's why we've got our little forum here where we can "get it out" sometimes... And be reminded that trusting our instincts is almost always going to resolve the situation with the least amount of drama...

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