I am really trying to figure out ways to better handle cake tasting issues.
You know setting up a cake tasting and the client not showing up....
OR showing up with small children or goofy friends that are there to taste and play and not be serious so then the bride ends up wanting second appointments or I end up answering bunch of calls/emails for the questions she did not ask the first time. ugh
I was thinking about something indydeb mentioned once that she gave brides xx amount off if they booked at the bridal show or something??? Am wondering if I should start saying you get x amount off if you book at the end of the tasting (in order to save my labor in numerous emails over things they should have and could have had answered in the hour I already gave them for free along with the free samples). Any thoughts on this?
I main thing we do is charge for the tasting/consult. $25 for 2 people or $50 for 4. If the bride shows up with more than 2 people (herself and someone else) we only give 1 plate and 2 forks. If they request more we will do another plate but we charge another $25. We will put the 1st $25 toward the wedding cake if they book that day but not the 2nd $25 for the other "guests".
Hope this doesn't sound too confusing!
We also will confirm the appointment they day before so we don't waste our time.
I make a little "To-Go" bag of my cake samples(so they can take them home and try) and limit my consultations to 20-30 minutes. I explain this to all the brides prior to us meeting. Also, I let them know I need a minimum 24 hour notice of cancellation. If they cancel with-out notice or stand me up then try to reschedule...$25 for the samples. It works pretty well, I have only had one no-show in approx 2 yrs.
good luck! I can't wait to hear others responses!
Here what I do. I don't do any consultations without a sitting fee. You can make them prepay with Paypal. Its easy for you to sit that up. I give them a fee for one sampling or 3 types of samplings. These are not big cakes, just a portion of cake flavors of their choice. If they book me, its applied toward their booking fee. If they don't then they know they have to pay me before hand. I am not going to give my time away for free. I quite doing that along time ago. This will also help with the price shoppers. I have paid my dues. If they don't want to pay for my time, I don't want to waste my valuable time. It might sound harsh, but I learned the more they can take, the more they will. So I try to stop it right off the bat. They read it right on my website, so they see it in black and white., don't give up, just tighten up on your rules., Happy Decorating
Based on the type of response you are getting (no-shows; with kids; too many people), it leads me to believe you're not setting the stage properly at the git-go to emphasize how important this is; that it's a BUSINESS appt; and that it's serious.
Below is the text I used in every email that confirmed a sampling appt. I had almost zero problems with no-shows, kids, excessive people, etc.
Offering them an incentive to book then and there won't eliminate the no-shows and the excessive kids and friends. Those are 2 separate issues. What I did do, when I emailed the quote to them in the next day or two, was to offer them "an early booking incentive". I'd offer them a specific dollar amount off if booked by such-n-such a date.
HEre's the text:
Sampling Appt Email:
This is to confirm your sampling appointment at --------------------. Directions are attached. If you run late due to traffic or other circumstances, we ask that you just give us a call to let us know that youre on your way. (At 15 minutes past the appt, with no phone-call, I consider it a no-show and I pack up and go home.)
You are welcome to bring up to a total of four people (seating limitations).
Since this appointment can be lengthy, we dont recommend bringing children as a catering facility is not a very entertaining place for them to try to sit quietly while mom/dad conduct a business meeting.
You should plan about an hour for this appointment.
We understand that you have a million and one decisions to make and we try to keep it simple for you by offering a no-pressure sampling. My assumption is that you are information gathering, so I do not expect a decision, a commitment or a check on that day.
I DO expect you to walk away with some good information that helps you make an informed decision as you compare Cater It Simple with other caterers in the area.
If you have some photos of cakes youve seen that you like, please bring those with you.
If you have a specific color you want used in your cake design, please bring a color swatch that you can leave with us (a scrap of material, ribbon, or one bride even brought us a paint card from the hardware stores paint dept!! )
Please help us keep our samplings free. We are not a restaurant where we can just go back into the kitchen and scoop out a sample of whatever dishes are cooking. The foods and cakes for your sampling are prepared just for you and there is a cost to that. When couples cancel at the last minute or are no-shows, this affects our expenses in running a business. We understand that sometimes things come up and appointments need rescheduled . We just ask that you let us know when that happens so we will not prepare the foods for you and/or we can go ahead and schedule another couple in your time slot. We will happily re-schedule your appointment for you. Your consideration is appreciated by us and by our future brides!
Oh Debi! I love it! Thanks for the info
This is all very helpful thank you! The only thing, and I think the KEY thing that differs with what I have been emailing to them and what you send Indy is that ver last paragraph.