Bridal Consult- Cake Servings Dispute- What Do You Do?

Business By gsbcakes Updated 6 Dec 2010 , 4:07am by Denise

gsbcakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:25am
post #1 of 51

If a bride comes in and tells you she is having 100 guests (for sake of ease, lets just say she doesnt want an anniversray tier) do you base your servings and sizing off 100 guests or do you explain that not everyone will eat cake and go with a slightly smaller cake?

50 replies
MnSnow Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:31am
post #2 of 51

I always give them what they want. They say 100 guests, then that's what they get. Most are scared there won't be enough and are ok with it.

Had a bride order 200 servings of cake and only 80 guests showed up. I was also a guest at this wedding but left shrtly after serving the cake. I recieved an email the following day from the brides parents---they never got a piece!!! It was all gone before they had a chance to get any! They were very happy that it was that good and I have offered to make them a 6" that they can have to themselves.

I have never had someone complain they had way too much cake

TexasSugar Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:32am
post #3 of 51

If there are 100 guests, then I would make a cake for 100.

cakesbycathy Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:35am
post #4 of 51

You make her cake for 100.

Certainly not everyone eats cake but some people eat 2 (or more) slices.

JulieMN Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:40am
post #5 of 51

If it were me, I would provide the number of servings that they request. Some may request less servings than the number of guests expected for the reasons that you have listed. Some will want more servings than the number of guests they are expecting either so they don't run out or so that they have extra to send home.

There was plenty of extra cake after our reception (we planned it that way). We sent some home with extra special relatives/friends, served some the next day at the gift opening, and I took some in to my coworkers when I returned to work after the weekend was over.

kelleym Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 12:46am
post #6 of 51

If she says she has 100 guests and wants 100 servings of cake, then by all means, sell it to her.

If she has 100 invited guests, that is a different beast. Indydebi's formula is worth taking a look at:
http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/2009/07/debis-60-rule-or-why-rsvps-dont-work.html

When I was doing weddings, I would recommend enough servings for 70% of the invited guests.

cakesdelight Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 1:09am
post #7 of 51

I always ask if the total they give me is including the bridal party.... and sometimes they say yes and sometimes they say oh no we forgot to include them.... so thats when you have them recalculate their approx. guest amount. then of course as courtisy you can tell them about counting on approx. 70% of the guest attending their reception/eating the cake; BUT quote them on the amount that they ask for...

(as a personal experiance) don't recalculate their approx. # of guest and don't quote them for a cake that'll serve less than their approx. # of guest... they could come back at you saying that you told them to buy a cake that'll serve 80 instead of their 100 guest and you could run into the "you owe me a refund cause not everyone got a piece of cake" the ecconomy is not doing so great and people try every little thing to get back money....

I say quote them on their 100 guest; BUT make sure that your wedding cake contract includes that there is NO REFUNDS if there is cake shortage or extra servings of cake. HTH! icon_biggrin.gif

gsbcakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 1:33am
post #8 of 51

Thanks. My cake partner and I differ in opinion on this issue and it recently cake to a head where were angry because we gave then enough cake per guest but half the guests didnt eat cake and the entire bottom tier was left over. The bride felt that we as cake decorators who have more knowledge of the industry should have informed them that all guests wont eat the cake and offered her a smaller size. She stated that her caterer, as an example, with coffee said you have 100 guests but only 60 or so will drink coffee and therefore only supplied and charged for the 60 guests for coffee.

I have mixed feelings about this. I think we should courtesously advise the bride that all guests wll not eat cake and offer a smaller size but make it the brides decision and if she chooses smaller make sure she understands that.

My cake partner feels that by doing this we are short selling ourselves on what would be a larger profit.

I just didnt know what others in the industry do. Thanks for your input.

tootie0809 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 1:51am
post #9 of 51

Trying to estimate how much cake to order is tough. Every group of guests is different. I don't think it's fair for a bride to expect a cake decorator to accurately know exactly how many guests will eat cake and exactly how much cake to order. Some people eat 2 slices, some none. What I tell most people is to decide if they'd rather have too much or too little cake and go with that. Some couples don't care if the cake runs out and not everyone gets a slice, and some want to have lots of extra slices for those who want to indulge or to take home or send home with family. I leave how much cake they feel comfortable ordering up to them, but I do offer the general guideline of expecting about 70% of their invited guests to show up.

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 1:52am
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsbcakes

Thanks. My cake partner and I differ in opinion on this issue and it recently cake to a head




Just have to say this is the cutest "Freudian" slip I've seen in a long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsbcakes

I think we should courtesously advise the bride that all guests wll not eat cake and offer a smaller size but make it the brides decision and if she chooses smaller make sure she understands that.




Absolutely the professional way to go.

The customer can buy whatever THEY want and it's up to the vendor to provide it.
If the customer's decision turns out to be flawed, then so be it--in they end, they have no one to blame but themselves.

If you get in the middle of that by attempting to change the customer's mind--by underselling OR overselling--you leave yourself open to having the customer trying to force ALL of the blame on you.

Sell them what they ask for and your hands are clean.

JMHO
Rae

Ruth0209 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:03am
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsbcakes

... The bride felt that we as cake decorators who have more knowledge of the industry should have informed them that all guests wont eat the cake ...




Good grief, what kind of an idiot needs to actually be told that out of 100 guests, SOMEONE might not like cake, or might be on a diet, or might be allergic, etc., etc. Dumb people make me insane.

When a bride tells me how many servings she wants, I ask how many people have been invited and offer the 70% estimate. Often, they'll tell me it's a lot of local people and they're sure they'll attend, or that their family is wild about cake, etc. We talk about it and they decide on how many servings seems right for them.

I think it's a good idea to have a dialogue about it, then let them decide. I tell them they can adjust servings up to two weeks before the wedding if they get more or less RSVPs than they initially expect.

Loucinda Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:22am
post #12 of 51

I discuss this with the bride, I also ask if there will be alcohol served, and how much (just a bottle at each table, open bar etc.) More alcohol = less cake. In my contract I have how many invitaitons are sent, and how many cake servings for the order, no misunderstandings that way. I too, use the 70% rule, and it has been spot on. I have never had a bride complain about how it turned out.

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:28am
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

I discuss this with the bride, I also ask if there will be alcohol served, and how much (just a bottle at each table, open bar etc.) More alcohol = less cake. In my contract I have how many invitaitons are sent, and how many cake servings for the order, no misunderstandings that way. I too, use the 70% rule, and it has been spot on. I have never had a bride complain about how it turned out.




Oh, Cindy, I love adressing the booze issue icon_lol.gif

Yep, gotta write it down before selective memory sets in during the rapture of the honeymoon............ icon_wink.gif

Rae

sherry_lyn Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:30am
post #14 of 51

There are also variables like... will it be open bar, are their friends big drinkers (might not eat cake)... will the cake be plated & served as the dessert or cut & set out for people to take a piece... will they cut it right after dinner, or wait until later... will they have different flavors in each tier (some guests eat more than 1 piece to try other flavors)... and on & on. I agree that you should have some kind of discussion about how certain variables might change how much cake is eaten & let them make an informed decision about it. I've had couples insist on extra cake & I've had them with just the bare minimum, I've had people who ordered extra end up with barely any left over because guests had more than one piece & I've had people order just barely enough but end up with a bunch of leftover cake because they waited until late to cut the cake & 1/2 the guests had already left. 100 guests does not always =70 servings.

leah_s Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:43am
post #15 of 51

I use 75% of invited will likely show up. And at that point the bride needs to purchase/rent a chair, plate of food, beverage and dessert for each one of them. For those who don't eat cake, others will eat two servings. It all equals out. And besides if the worst thing that happens is leftover cake for breakfast, well, I call that a positive outcome! "Breakfast of Champions"

Loucinda Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 3:03am
post #16 of 51

I like that "Breakfast of Champions!" (and I voted for you too Leah)

Jeep_girl816 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 3:30am
post #17 of 51

With my own wedding I invited 150 people, had cake for almost 200, plus one dozen cupcakes for the kids to eat before we cut the cake (figured we might end up with less poke holes in the cake, lol) we thought we'd have left over to eat that night and maybe send some home with out of town family. Turns out the only bit of my cake I got was the ceremonial one my new husband fed me. My mother and a couple bridesmaid's didn't get any either. Scavangers(my beloved friends and family) swooped on that cake like they hadn't eaten in a month!

jenmat Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 3:35am
post #18 of 51

Here in WI we invite the whole town, so I have the rule of thumb that if the wedding guest count is over 200, then less people will show, if under, then expect 80-90% show.

I always go with Leahs standard that you should have meal and dessert for each guest if they are serving plated cake.
Bride: But not everyone will eat cake.
Me: very true, but the reception staff will not know that beforehand and they sure aren't going to take cake orders before they slice. They are going to slice and plate while dinner is being served so that it is ready to be handed out once the dinner plates are cleared.

I don't want them to have too much cake, but there is really no way to predict exactly how many guests aren't going to want a piece and how many guests are going to want 3 pieces.

Now, if they're serving it later in the evening, then they need a LOT less.

In the end, the style, shape and tier numbers usually determines how much cake they get.

"I have square 3 tiers that serve XXX or XXX, which are you more comfortable with ordering?"

indydebi Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:20am
post #19 of 51

I have to go with "you are the professional" attitude on this one.

We deal with cakes and large quantities every single day. A bride plans her wedding once. She will be the first to admit that she knows nothing about how this works and she depends on her professional (please note that word and write it down) wedding vendors to help, guide and assist her along the way.

If you will flip to my article in the August issue of CC magz, I wrote the opinion of Sara, my wedding planner friend (you know ... wedding planners..... the ones we're always trying to get "in" with). To quote the article .....

There is an important distinction, as Sara describes, between a wedding cake baker versus just a cake baker. "It's like the difference between being a corporate planner and a wedding planner. I look for someone who understands weddings, not just someone who can bake a cake."

Her ideal cake person should be willing to educate brides about their product and support them in choosing a wedding cake. "Know your business and be able to share that knowledge," she advises.


My consultations spent quite a bit of time talking about the wedding, invoking many of the questions raised in previous posts here: bar? other desserts? how many INVITED guests? How many out of town? Number of children (under 10)? and more. The final decision is always hers but she can't make an INFORMED decision until she is INFORMED about the process.

I think someone mentioned "who doesn't know that everyone won't show!" Oh darlin, LOTS of brides either dont' know that or can't figure that. That's why it's up to us, the professional in the industry, to help guide her thru the process.

all4cake Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:36am
post #20 of 51

[quote="gsbcakes"]Thanks. My cake partner and I differ in opinion on this issue and it recently cake to a head where were angry because we gave then enough cake per guest but half the guests didnt eat cake and the entire bottom tier was left over. The bride felt that we as cake decorators who have more knowledge of the industry should have informed them that all guests wont eat the cake and offered her a smaller size. She stated that her caterer, as an example, with coffee said you have 100 guests but only 60 or so will drink coffee and therefore only supplied and charged for the 60 guests for coffee.

I have mixed feelings about this. I think we should courtesously advise the bride that all guests wll not eat cake and offer a smaller size but make it the brides decision and if she chooses smaller make sure she understands that.

quote]

Being professionals in the industry doesn't make us experts on everyone's guest lists. If I had invited 100 of my family members, I would need to order a cake to serve 300+...my family LOOOOOOVES CAKE!. I say, as a host/hostess, a customer should order according to their own knowledge of their guests.
I asked one this question..."you've invited 100. Do you wish to place an order for 100 servings? Sometimes, I get "Oh, no! I sent out 100 invites. There'll probably be 325 guests. icon_cool.gificon_confused.gif

leah_s Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 1:25pm
post #21 of 51

Good point all4. I always have to clarify between head count and invitatons mailed. BIG difference.

tracycakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 3:28pm
post #22 of 51

We discuss the number of guests, percentages, afternoon or evening, other desserts/food served, even keeping in mind that if they have multiple flavors of cake, people will likely get more than 1 piece.

I provide all of the information I can and then let the bride make the final decision, with my input, if needed. Sometimes, they go with all one flavor and minimum size to keep costs down and other times, they want a bigger cake for show or because they know that their family LIKES cake.

So far, I haven't had any complaints on too much or too little cake. That will change at some point I know but it's worked so far.

costumeczar Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:33pm
post #23 of 51

I always use 80% of the number of people who will actually be there (not invited) to estimate the size of the cake. Having spoken to a lot of reception sites around here, I've heard lots of stories of bakers who sell the same amount of cake servings as the number of guests that will be there, and they always end up with the bottom tier left over, or a good portion of it. That results in the bride either thinking that the cake wasn't good and nobody wanted to eat it, or that you sold them too much cake and ripped them off.

Having said that, I tell the bride my 80% rule, and if they say that their families are big cake pigs, they are free to order more than the 80%.

all4cake Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:40pm
post #24 of 51

How can one think they were sold too much cake and got ripped off if they order cake for a hundred, got charged for cake for a hundred but only served 75? I have heard cases where whoever is cutting the cake, cuts on the skimpy side of a slice for fear of running out. I could see where being ripped off would come into play if 100 were needed and sold one serving considerably more.

I do suggest they downstack and cut the larger tiers first, leaving the smaller tiers, should they be left, to be given to the couple's parents, or the bridal party.

costumeczar Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 6:34pm
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

How can one think they were sold too much cake and got ripped off if they order cake for a hundred, got charged for cake for a hundred but only served 75? I have heard cases where whoever is cutting the cake, cuts on the skimpy side of a slice for fear of running out. I could see where being ripped off would come into play if 100 were needed and sold one serving considerably more.

I do suggest they downstack and cut the larger tiers first, leaving the smaller tiers, should they be left, to be given to the couple's parents, or the bridal party.




Because a "cake for 100 guests" doesn't necessarily equal "100 servings of cake". Not everyone has it, so if you have 100 guests you don't need that much cake.

There are some bakers in my town who claim that people need 110-120% of the number of guests for the number of cake servings, just in case someone wants seconds. If someone is ordering a cake and has no idea, they just take them at their word, and I call that getting ripped off.

If you know that not everyone will eat the cake, and you tell someone that they definitely need 100% of the number of servings, then I can see why a client would be mad if they end up with a lot of cake left over. There are other factors involved, obviously, like the drinking, other desserts, how the cake is cut size-wise, but cake left over=too much cake.

Whether the client says "Oops I ordered too much" or "That baker told me I needed more than I did just to get my money" is out of our control, but I'd rather have people be happy that everyone loved the cake so much they ate all of it, or almost all of it, than to have a lot left over.

indydebi Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 6:43pm
post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

I do suggest they downstack and cut the larger tiers first, leaving the smaller tiers, should they be left, to be given to the couple's parents, or the bridal party.


Absolutely! I always tell them "any cake you have leftover will be the smaller, easier to store sized cakes."

BTW, when I stay and cut my cakes, I never have a ton of cake left over. I attribute that to working with the bride to figure out a good headcount and helping her order the right amount of cake ..... AND knowing how to glance at a room to know how many are actually there and then being able to cut the cake accordingly.

In my ever-so-NEVER-humble opinion icon_rolleyes.gif , anyone who can't do that doesn't have any business holding a cake-cutting knife! icon_biggrin.gif

all4cake Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 6:56pm
post #27 of 51

I reckon, when they're shown what their cake looks like with the number of servings requested, I've only had two b-t-bs NOT increase the number of their servings.

I do show them, with dummies, the approximate size of their cake regardless of how many servings they order. I don't want anyone lookin' all shocked when I show up...."egads! It looked bigger on paper!" lol....the ones I've done via email only are a little trickier to give a visual.

all4cake Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 7:11pm
post #28 of 51

I don't do their homework. I ask questions, if they don't know the answer...uhhh...let me know when you find out. They need to work out their guest list/count BEFORE ordering the cake...gee...anything for that matter. Not everyone will attend the reception that attends the wedding...not everyone will toast the couple...not everyone will wash their hands before they eat...

what happens if they're 'sold' on the percentages aspect and everyone did show up and there wasn't enough to go around? I ain't playin' that ...order the number of servings YOU (the customer) thinks is best. Wanna get help with the figures...get a planner.

Jayde Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 7:40pm
post #29 of 51

We had it stated in our information page that, "We can advise you on how many servings will be appropriate for your event, BUT ultimately the serving number is the customer's choice." That excluded us from any liability about providing too many or not enough servings for an event, because we gave the information, but ultimately the customer made the final number decision.

cheatize Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 5:10am
post #30 of 51

If you need to book your caker 6 months to a year ahead of time, you can't possibly know how many will attend, can you?

I ask the age of the guests. If there's a lot of teenage or college age males, they'll scarf down everything but the tablecloth. At my daughter's wedding, some of the guests didn't get shrimp because my nephews kept returning to the table and my sister either didn't notice or didn't care.

I think number of servings depends on a lot of factors and it's our job to help them guestimate. Besides, it helps build the relationship with the client.

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