Give Me Your Opinion...

Business By dholdenrn Updated 31 Jul 2010 , 2:03pm by costumeczar

dholdenrn Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 10:46pm
post #1 of 27

My daughter and I have a cake business. We stay very busy almost every week. Today, I booked the fifth cake for the same day. I texted my daughter to tell her we had five cake orders for the same day and she is not happy.

What do I do?? Am I supposed to tell the customers, "No, I'm sorry, we are booked" and risk having them take their business elsewhere? Or should I accept the order and work hard to get them all done? My daughter believes that we should tell them we are booked.

I think that you should never turn away a customer unless it is a true emergency. I have had to say no in the past when we were going out of town, but that would be about the only time I would say no. I think we should just suck it up and get the five cakes done and have five happy customers!

What do you think??
Thanks!

26 replies
Loucinda Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 10:53pm
post #2 of 27

That is a call only the two of you can make. I am a single person business here, and I know my limitations. I do not ever want quality to suffer because of quantity. I state right on my website that I will not book more than 2 wedding cakes per weekend. I KNOW that is what I am comfortable with, and that works form me. There are a lot of others on here that book a LOT more than I do, and that is fine, they are comfortable doing so. You have to find what works for you both and be on the same page.

Can you agree on so many celebration cakes and so many wedding cakes? Maybe that kind of situation will work?

cakeprof Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 10:58pm
post #3 of 27

So you have 2 customers walk in tomorrow and ask for cakes what will you tell them? Yes because you are afraid they will take their business elsewhere? The point is if you live by you should never turn a customer away unless there is an emergency then you are just asking for trouble. Being at capacity is not an emergency, well I do not think that way, it means you are at your limit and you cannot handle anymore without compromising your work. And if you take orders beyond your capacity you are risking not being able to fill the orders you have taken.

Are you certain that you can get them done? If not you are risking having some unhappy customers when their order is not completed. This is more likely to result in customers taking their business elsewhere than telling a last minute customer that you are booked for the day.

kakeladi Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 10:59pm
post #4 of 27

To cope with the current situation: Plan ahead! Bake & freeze the cake layers; make icing to firg or fz; make decorations now - like any fondant decos, royal icing or gp flowers etc, etc; cover all the size boards needed for all the cakes; do everything you possibly can ahead of time and be ready.

It is NOT a problem to tell people you are booked. It will make them order sooner in the futureicon_smile.gif
Any and all cake shops can only handle so much. Let your customers know you are getting busy by not being afraid to say 'we are all booked up. Next time yuou need a cake do call us sooner so we can fit you in.'

dholdenrn Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 11:00pm
post #5 of 27

Thanks Loucinda...that is kind of what we were doing...we said in the beginning that we would never do more than one wedding cake, but we never decided how many celebration cakes we would do in addition to that. We have one wedding cake to do and three birthday cakes and one baby shower cake. We will get them do and they will be great...we, on the other hand, may not live to tell about it, haha!

dholdenrn Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 11:04pm
post #6 of 27

cakeprof---I am certain we can get these five done, just not sure what will happen if someone else needs one for the same day, haha!

kakeladi---That is what I am going to do....try to have everything I possibly can get done ahead of time done before Friday!

leah_s Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 11:05pm
post #7 of 27

Being too booked to take another order simply teaches your customers that you are in high demand and they must book early. I strive to always be booked to capacity and to have to turn away orders.

kakeladi Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 11:09pm
post #8 of 27

........will not book more than 2 wedding cakes per weekend......

I know many do this BUT.......how many orders one can handle in a single day depends on the size, complexity, and (for weddings) time & location of delivery. I remember someone, I think on this site, saying they could handle up to 25 *layers* - no matter how many *cakes* that ended up in. Find your limit and stick to it.

When I had my shop I sometimes could do up to maybe up to 5 *cakes* - a couple of sheet or small single layer b'day/shower; 3 weddings (maybe more) IF they are small OR 1 if large (say 4-5 tier). I did have to turn away a couple of orders when I had one already booked for the same time of delivery in oposisit ends of the county.
And one time I ended up delivering at something like 9 a.m. for a 6 p.m. wed because of previously booked other deliveries. Not something I recommend but if they are insistant on your cake they just might have to accept such arrangements.

Loucinda Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 11:26pm
post #9 of 27

kakeladi - good point! icon_biggrin.gif My limit is still 2 weddings per weekend, no matter the size! thumbs_up.gif There was a time when I had 27 layers of cake I had to bake and decorate for one weekend.

dholdenrn Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:58am
post #10 of 27

just counted and I have 24 layers for this week....ugh!

IsaSW Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:20pm
post #11 of 27

dholdenrn,

24 layers icon_surprised.gif
And here I am crying for only 5.
I don't feel so bad anymore icon_biggrin.gif

KHalstead Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:25pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

kakeladi - good point! icon_biggrin.gif My limit is still 2 weddings per weekend, no matter the size! thumbs_up.gif There was a time when I had 27 layers of cake I had to bake and decorate for one weekend.





I'm am usually baking around 30 separate layers of cake EVERY week. I will take on no more than 500 servings a cake per day and will only do 3 consecutive days at that rate and then I'm booked.

If I get a wedding cake order, I refuse all other business (unless the wedding is under 100 servings) so I can just focus on THAT order.

You definitely have to know your limit and not be afraid to stick to it! The only person you'll wind up angry with is yourself, because that's who you'll have to blame!!

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:28pm
post #13 of 27

I turn people away all the time. 90% will be back, and many apologize for not thinking ahead. If they don't come back, oh well, sounds like you've got enough on your hands anyway.
next weekend I have 6 weddings. Don't ask me how I got that many though. ugh.
BUT, I'm turning orders away until the 12th. Have been for a week now, and although some people are a little peeved, they'll be back.

multilayered Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:52pm
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaSW

dholdenrn,

24 layers icon_surprised.gif
And here I am crying for only 5.
I don't feel so bad anymore icon_biggrin.gif





I believe IsaSW was saying 24 layers of cake..not 24 cakes. You have five cakes so even if all of them are just one tier that would be 10 layers, but I'm sure at least some of them are stacked cakes.

As for over booking cakes,in my opinion I would not want to sacrifice the quality of my cakes taste or design so I have a max of 3 cakes per weekend. I am very meticulous and I personally want the time to devote to each and every cake I put out. I would never want to feel "rushed" on a cake.However if you and your daughter feel you have ample time to bake and decorate 5 cakes to your standards then go for iticon_smile.gif As for having to turn clients away..I hate that too but sometimes it has to be done.They will understand that you are a sought after decorator and next time they will have to order sooner if they want one of your Fabulous cakes icon_biggrin.gif

IsaSW Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 2:39pm
post #15 of 27

multilayered,
Now I am more confused, please somebody explain to me. icon_redface.gif

My cake for this weekend is 5 tiers, 3 real 2 fake. Also I have two sheet cakes. Total servings they are paying for is 250.

Every tier requires baking in two pans, So I can torte. So I get 4 layers for every tier.
So how many layers is this?
10 layers, because its how many pans I fill and place in the oven or...?
I am confused of what you guys call layers.

Doug Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 2:53pm
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Being too booked to take another order simply teaches your customers that you are in high demand and they must book early. I strive to always be booked to capacity and to have to turn away orders.




DEFINITELY --

to put it another way:

women love to play the "hard to get game" with guys knowing it will cause them to flock to them and then she gets her pick.

so...

play hard to get with your cakes -- exclusivity!!! so enticing, so seductive, so lets you pick and choose only those cakes you really want to do...

and...

jack up your prices even more (just like ladies keep upping the stakes -- you want a date? sure take me to... or buy me...)

they'll come and the clientele will get better and better.

carrywilsonhome Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 2:54pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dholdenrn


I think that you should never turn away a customer unless it is a true emergency.




So how fast exactly do you want to burn yourself out? Cause that's what will happen with that logic.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 3:54pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by carrywilsonhome

Quote:
Originally Posted by dholdenrn


I think that you should never turn away a customer unless it is a true emergency.



So how fast exactly do you want to burn yourself out? Cause that's what will happen with that logic.





I had to take a cake "vacation" the first 2 weeks of July. I was getting so burned out and started to make simple mistakes. Sometimes you just need to know when to say "no". I had to learn that the hard way. icon_smile.gif

Kaylani Posted 30 Jul 2010 , 4:22pm
post #19 of 27

My sister and I work together. She takes most of the orders on the phone. We have to communicate all the time to keep things happy & even.

I think maybe you and your daughter might want to have a talk about your individual expectations of how many hours you each want to work during the week & weekend.

Sometimes we check in with each other & just have that conversation to make sure we are on the same page. thumbs_up.gif It helps a bunch icon_lol.gif

Summer, back to school, etc......needs change & checking with your partner on current scheduling expectations to make sure they match helps.

Best of luck! Working with family is a special blessing! icon_biggrin.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 30 Jul 2010 , 5:24pm
post #20 of 27

It is perfectly fine to tell customers you are booked. They will learn they need to order early in order to get their order in.

I can see why your daughter was upset. IMO if the two of you haven't already established limits on how many orders you can take on per day then you really should have consulted with your daughter before accepting another order.

AuntieV2010 Posted 30 Jul 2010 , 9:36pm
post #21 of 27

You might loose a customer when you turn someone away but how many customers will you loose if you jeopardize you quality and standards for quantity?

nana_marta Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 12:40am
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntieV2010

You might loose a customer when you turn someone away but how many customers will you loose if you jeopardize you quality and standards for quantity?





What she said!

tesso Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 1:00am
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntieV2010

You might loose a customer when you turn someone away but how many customers will you loose if you jeopardize you quality and standards for quantity?




exactly what I was thinking.. and I agree with leah and doug.

neelycharmed Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 1:10am
post #24 of 27

I used to feel bad about turning cakes down because of short notice- now I don't because sometimes they were trying to get me because the other cake person cancelled, and other times they play the friend card (friend only when they need a cake card. icon_confused.gif
Props to you for working with your daughter! icon_smile.gif
I know I would never be able to work with my Mom in the kitchen. icon_lol.gif
Jodi icon_smile.gif

jason_kraft Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 1:48am
post #25 of 27

We regularly turn down orders since we are still a small business...we know how much we can handle in a given week without impacting quality, and I make sure to post our "booked until" date on our web site. It's not a big deal for most customers, as long as they know up-front that you can't accept a new order until a certain date.

Thanks,
Jason Kraft
Let Them Eat Cake, The Allergy-Friendly Patisserie LLC
http://www.allergyfriendlypastries.com

cheatize Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 4:13am
post #26 of 27

What does your business plan say? Is the plan to market yourself in a way that means you will pretty much mass produce cakes or is it to be a provider of specialty, one of a kind, designer cakes?

Exclusivity is far different from "Let's call the cake lady for tomorrow's cake because I don't want to mess with it."

costumeczar Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 2:03pm
post #27 of 27

I turn down at least three cakes a day because I'm booked for their dates. It doesn't hurt my business, it tells people that I'm in-demand and that they'd better book early. I have people come to tastings saying "I know that you book up early, so I wanted to get in to talk to you as soon as I could." That's the reputation that you want...You shouldn't let everybody order at the last minute, you're not a grocery store that has stuff sitting on the shelf waiting for whoever wants it.

I also meet people all the time who get introduced to me, then say "Oh, I wanted you to do my wedding cake two years ago, but you were booked up!" I feel kind of bad, but oh well, if they still remember that they wanted me to do their cake and they didn't even hire me then I must be doing something right.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%