I started my business (working from home) in January this year. I've had quite a few orders for birthday cakes and only one order for a wedding cake (no tasting on this one). I've only ever had 2 tastings for wedding cakes and didn't get the orders. During these tastings both couples have said they've liked my cakes but then don't get their orders. I've got my 3rd tasting this weekend and feel like what's the point!!!!! Do you all get your orders after tastings? I think I'm friendly enough. Can you offer me any advice.
It might just be down to price, or if they are worried you haven't made many wedding cakes. I would make some dummy wedding cakes to add to your gallery, so that they can see your skills.
Don't feel down, we all go through this.
Don't feel down. Your cakes are decidedly very pretty (and clean!).
As Cocobongo said, maybe it all comes down to pricing and to the fact that you don't have a lot of wedding cakes in your portfolio.
I would add some wedding cakes to your portfolio.
Inspiration? Simple, elegant cakes (that I know you can totally make!). You don't even have to make them huge.
I love those two sites! Especially the photography with the backrounds in the second one! Reminds me of Martha Stewart Weddings. Every cake pops from the backround! Thats another thing that will bring you the orders. Try signing up on websites that are for weddings, get with local wedding vendors to refer business your way. Prove to your clients that you can handle a wedding cake and the orders will come!
And from the same Maisie Fantaisie blog, her thoughts about starting a cake company. Very uplifting and inspiring, at the same time that it shows how many more hours you could be working!
The thing is, they get the price before the tasting. So I assume they are happy with the price and just want a taster to make sure. I get so excited thinking I've got a wedding cake to do, then I dont get the job and it's a major set back!!!! I so want to do well for myself and willing to work really hard to achieve what I want to. I have done a few more dummy cakes and suppose will carry on making them if it's going to help me. Thanks for your kind comments and help.
What sets your cakes apart from the competition? You say they are good with the price then turn away after the tasting - are you making the very best cake you possibly can or is there room for improvement? What Jason was saying in another thread is spot on for here too.... you need to have a price advantage or a value advantage. They need to be able to get SOMEthing from you that they can't anywhere else. And you need to KNOW and OWN this and ACT like it. Good luck
Just an idea...I think it is a great idea to add wedding cakes to your portfolio, and also, it might create great impact to have dummy cakes displayed so when a bride arrives for a tasting she will experience the fill effect. I think it also lends confidence and a real life, up close look at what their cake could look (and taste) like. It is all perception, and sometimes seeing something in real life gives a far greater lasting impression than seeing a photo. Though photos are also very important, high quality photos.
I think my cakes taste ok. I'm saying this because I've had compliments from a few customers who have had birthday cakes from me and I use the same recipe. One thing I've just realised is that both tastings have asked me how long I have been doing "cakes" for and I normally say it's been a hobby for a few years but as a business, just under a year (the truth). Should I say something else (bend the truth somehow)?
You should just answer "for a few years already." You don't have to put in the "hobby" word, especially if they're not saying: How long have you been in business? or anything like that.
I would never lie to them and say you have been doing it longer than you have. But maybe your body language is telling them that you dont feel confident in yourself and your work? People can read into that. Taking on someones wedding day isnt like a birthday cake. People spends thousands of dollars on this important day and they want to make sure that the vendors they hire can do the job. So be confident, dress confident and take pride in your work and show them, that YOU are their best choice!
The number of years you've been doing this shouldn't scare them if they know your price, like the taste of the cake and like the pictures you've showed them. So I'm confused, too, as to why you didn't get the orders.
It's possible they kept shopping and found a better price.
How do you conduct your tastings? What kind of environment? How is the cake presented? Do you feel like you are representing a business if they are stopping by your home? Or do you have a commerical kitchen? Do you feel like you were over eager? Or hovering? What was the general sense of the bride/guests while they were there and as they were leaving?
Just trying to think of things you could possible change!
I've got the prospective bride, groom & in-laws (5 in total), all coming for the tasting on Saturday. Just what I need (NOT). Talk about being nervous. BUT this is what I'm going to do - I will have a couple of dummies ready for them, look smart and be confident.
Another thing, the bride has sent me a photo of the cake she wants so is there any point in getting any other photos ready for her.
Good luck! Maybe you could try a new filling to really wow them, and set your cakes apart from the rest! I would still give her a few other photos, maybe you can choose a few other elements that you could add/change, to really personalize it for them. Relax, and smile!
If their coming to your home you need to keep the "home" out of it. Tv needs to be off, kids out of the house. You need to conduct it like a business. Serve the cake the best way you can. And dont be nervous. Just be confident *not cocky. And show them that your all about THEM. And Good luck!!
She's already told me the flavour she is after, so that's what I will be getting ready for them. My house has a kitchen with a breakfast table and a sofa which can sit up to 4 or 5 people. That's where I have been doing my tastings. I usually set up the cakes in one plate and have side plates ready for them. I also offer them hot or cold drinks. Next to the kitchen is the dining room & living room - it's open plan. Will it help if I did the tasting in the living room/dining room. Chasey, you mentioned "hovering". Yes, I'm there all the time. Should I leave the room for a while then. They always seem (to me) satisfied and get the impression that I'm going to get this order, then dont!!
You've already received a lot of great sound advice; but here's my 2 cents worth that I feel really has help me 'win' and weirkd has already touched on it slightly: I make a lot of comments about my intention of do anything and everything that the bride has always dreamed of that her wedding cake would be. I make her feel special and like she is my only customer. Last summer I received a thank you email from a bride's father that I never even met thanking me for making his daughter's dream wedding come true talk about making ME feel good...
Best of luck to you on Saturday!!
I think serving them at the table is proper. I would have a SPOTLESS and clutter free kitchen though. Ugh, so hard for me!! They are going to be associating house/order cleanliness with the baking/prepping of the cake, naturally.
When I was cake shopping, my most memorable tasting was served to me on fine china in her formal dining room with a crystal glass of water and a linen napkin. However, her prices were too high!
It doesn't have to be fancy, just neat and orderly. Like you've done this 100 times.
Will you have the cake prepared exactly as she asked? Or will you have a few cake squares of flavors, dollops of filling, and piped swirls of buttercreams on a plate? It's always nice to have choices and be able to mix and match. You might sway her with another combo!
I would serve the samples, give a brief description (you know, flavor talk!) let them take a bite or two and then tell them you'll be right back so that they can have a minute to enjoy. Maybe they want to talk to each other, compare notes?
I wouldn't be gone long, but I would want a few minutes, if I was the bride, to myself. It's just awkward, IMO, to have someone watching you taste their baked goods while waiting to hear my response!
Edited to add: I completely agree with the post before me. Make her feel extra special and that you can/will make everything custom for her, just like she's dreamed up. I think she would love to feel in control and like you are working for her. If the price is right and the taste is good, it might be the personal touch of service a bride desires.
I only offer a few flavours anyway - sponge cakes (vanilla, chocolate, lemon) & fruit cakes. She would like chocolate cake with ganache, cream & raspberry jam, so that's all I'll be making for her. So may be this time round, I'll sit them around the dining table and disappear for a minute or so. Thank you all so much.
Is there any way you can move the tasting out of your home? Back in the day, before I had a shop, I did my tastings at a Barnes and Noble or Borders. Personally, I don't think I would like to sit in a stranger's home to figure this stuff out (and I WAS a home baker!). Too personal, not enough business.
I think it's too late for this Saturday, especially as I only emailed her today confirming our appointment. I could do for future tastings though. Is that considered more "professional" then? Also, what's the procedure - meet somewhere in the middle, have a chat and let them take the samples home.
When I did it, I ran through the same process I do now. Meet and get them their coffees or whatever (I paid for these), get the general info about the event, design the cake and determine the size needed, bust out the samples, figure out the cake price while they are eating, have them say which layers they want which flavor, hit them with the price, show the contract page and walk away for a few minutes so they can discuss and read, come back for the decision.
What happened with the tasting? Did you win the business?
Thanks for asking Cocobongo.
Well I followed up the tasting with an email and she said she would like to go ahead with me and send me a deposit but have not received it yet. So until I do, I'm not taking it as confirmed. Feel like chasing her again, but I wont.
It seems more like a confidence issue. People generally remember how they felt about a particular tasting. If the person is confident and very businesslike (especially if you are a home based biz) then you should get the gig.
I generally require a committment within 1 week of the tasting to hold their date and secure their price. I sometimes will offer an incentive to their "package" if they book at the consultation (usually an additional 5 to 10 miles worth of delivery equates to $10-$20). Here of late I keep getting last minute wedding cake orders! I have a lady calling me for one on the 30th of this month and she still hasn't called to book the consult, but swears she wants me to do the cake. Had another call for a 40th anniversary (big) cake yesterday for Nov. 2! And the last cake I did was for a bride wanting cake to feed 100 but only had 25 people at her wedding! And it was less than 2 weeks notice (can you say rush fee...LOL!) I made good money on that one and it was a basic cake with real flowers cascading down so super easy and only took an hour to actually ice build and decorate.
I tend to have an aire that I am the "it" thing in my location for cakes, and the thing is most of the locals (even ones I don't know but have had my cake at an event) refer people to me all the time. When a bride walks into our tourist town and asks where can I get my cake, my company name is given 9 times out of ten. Price is generally the reason I don't get a job, and that is usually when a couple has champagne tastes on a beer budget. When I offer my econoline and other ways to fit one of my cakes into their budget they generally only have their hearts set on the cake with all the bells and whistles, and won't accommodate that cake in their budget. So I have to pass or they have to pass.
I remember when I was first starting out too, I also was insecure about my skills eventhough I had plenty tell me my cakes were great. It took me awhile to build that selfconfidence. Don't sell yourself short! You make beautiful cakes. If they ask never use the word 'hobby'. That word alone especially to a bride looking for a custom design or a recreation of a design, might make her feel you aren't as serious as she is about her cake. If they ask how long you have been in business simply say how long don't lie then qualify your ability by saying "but I have been a cake artist for years", years could be 2 or 20...leave it open for their interpretation...you aren't lying at all when you say that statement.
Chin up...roll out the red carpet for them this weekend. Put that little "extra" touch in there and you should do just fine!
As we say the dance world...Break a Leg! (Good Luck!)
Oh crud, just realized this was an old post...LOL! Sounds like you did well. Just remember...Brides are fickle! Many will book consults just to get a bunch of free cake tastings. I had one bride come in once and after the sampling (this is before I started charging for samplings) request 4 different flavors and 3 different fillings and 3 different icings tell me after the tasting that she wished she could hire me, but her mom was paying for the cake and her mom's friend does cakes so her cake is a freebie. That sampling made me change my policies on free samplings.
I do one free sampling generally once a month and brides must RSVP for a time slot to attend and 4 people per party max allowed. If no one RSVP's by one week prior then the event is cancelled and rescheduled to the next month. If someone wants a specific time/date then I charge $40 which is credited as payment if they book. This has worked extremely well for me since I began this method of samplings. Sometimes there are community events or local venue bridal open houses that I will use as my free sampling event. Those are always fun and generally yield a good return.
Cakesdivine, you are right. A lot of it is to do with my lack of confidence. However, on this occasion, I read & re-read & re-read everyone's advise, took a deep breath and went to work!!!!! I think this was my best & confident tasting so far. I also didn't think about telling them that I would only hold their date & price for a certain amount of time. I will definitely do that from now on though.
The advice I have received here has been unbelievably helpful to me and I thank you all.
GUESS WHAT - I GOT THIS JOB!!!! I can't believe it. Received the deposit today and I am so excited. I took all the advice given to me and couldn't have done it without you. Thank you so, so much. YEEPEE