I am a home-baker in Ohio (cottage law), and my business is picking up pace quickly. I, this week, have 2 brides interested in me doing their wedding cakes. I've seen on the cake shows that they do a wedding consultation and/or cake tasting. Can you all give my pointers on this?
My first thought was to set up an appointment and have the bride bring me some inspirational pieces...colors, a pic of her dress, invitation, etc.
The next step is where I get lost. Is it typical to have the bride cake taste? If so, do I pick the flavors or does she prior to her appt? How many diff cake/frostings do you let them try? To me, this could be very labor intensive and expensive...for a couple bites!
Do you show them some ideas for cakes or do you mock up a cake on paper and email it to her?
Personally, I never used the "inspirational pieces" method because I thought it leaves too much of the design concept on me and I might get it wrong. I'd have the brides bring me several pics of cakes they liked. In the consultation, they would tell me what they liked about this one, didn't like about that one. Then, together, we'd decide on a design which I would sketch out - a copy for her and one for my file.
During the consultation, I'd talk to bride/groom about favorite flavors and give my ideas about what fillings and icings work well together and which ones don't. Then, bride could tell me 2 cakes/fillings she'd like to taste, and we'd arrange for another day for her to come back. (Occasionally, I gave a third option)
I always gave 2-6" tasting cakes so that the bride would go home with her family or friends and taste/discuss. I told them their order would not be put on the calendar until I heard back from them after the tasting (only twice in 25+ yrs. did a bride not call back) The price of providing tastings is minimal ~ especially when you are talking about convincing them that your cake is the best and you might make a $300-700 (maybe more!) cake order out of it.
Be sure to keep every note, picture, telephone call, email -EVERY contact you have with the bride in a file. If she changes the design, note all changes, mark the date and always have her initial it. I always got a 50% deposit when the cake was actually booked (after tasting) and required the balance 1 week PRIOR to wedding.
Hope this helps!
I charge for cake tastings b/c it costs money to make samples and time is also valuable. I did in home consultations b/c customers are not allowed at the home here, so I had to pay for travel costs as well and I limited the visits to scheduled blocks. I did not start out that way, but I lost so much time and money doing so. If the bride booked with me (30% NON refundable deposit) I would apply the cost of the tasting to the final payment. I also asked for the bride to provide pictures or if she wanted me to bring pictures based on a color, or theme like butterflies, double hearts or lace.
I think you should figure out what it will cost you to provide samples and also research what is customary in your area to determine exactly what you should do.
careylynn - if you do a forum seach there are a TON of threads about cake tastings and how they are conducted. Lots and lots of good advice already posted.
Go to the forum tab, select search (from the purple line). Type tastings, or tasting (this will get you results that could include "the best tasting"). If you want to reduce the number of results at first, you can "search topic title only". This does limit to what the the original poster set as the title (meaning if they used "help" as the topic title, it will not show up).
If you want to search consultations, do the same thing.
I offer free tastings for the b/g and 2 other people they wish to bring no kids though. I offer 3 flavors of cake, 4 of fillings, and 3 icings. I did what indydebi does I bake a square cake then cut it into 9 pieces freeze then just take the samples out 30 min before time and plate everything up.
I have several different books if needed for pictures, I ask them to also bring pictures and we go from there.