So, I'm looking at my jam-packed calendar of tastings, and it finally happened, the thing I've been kind of worried about:
Bride A emails, wants a tasting for her wedding October 22nd. OK, well, I'm booked for a good while for tastings, how about February 3rd? Fine.
Bride B calls today and wants October 22nd, she's sending the deposit and contract, she'll do the tasting later. Ok, fine. I look back at my calendar of tastings tonite and realize now I have a problem.
So, Bride B took my last spot, while Bride A hasn't had her tasting yet and I really shouldn't over-book my date, because that's not fair to Bride B OR Bride AA, who booked 6 months ago.
(Bride AA is my first spot, I'm committed this year to take 2 Saturday weddings).
So, I have now put up on my website the disclaimer that a booked tasting does NOT guarantee a saved spot. But it wasn't up when Bride A booked her tasting.
Are you following this? I know its convoluted!
Opinions? Do I overbook the spot, or just email and say "Sorry, Bride A, you're SOL!"?
Does this happen to you?
Also, I posted a topic about "to-go" tastings- this could possibly avoid more of these situations because they could pick up samples even if my tasting appts are booked. Is this a good idea?
Bride A is a window shopper. She may have found you before Bride B but she is still just looking right now.
Bride B and Bride AA have committed to purchasing from you.
Option 1: I would let Bride A know that her date is booked or Option 2: depending on how detailed the other cakes are, and if she signs a contract the day of the tasting I would make the exception. If you know that you wouldn't be able to handle more that two cakes that weekend, option 1 all the way.
I think the to-go tasting option is a good idea if it is marketed right. It wouldn't necessarily eliminate future situations like the one because a tasting doesn't guarantee a booking. It's just an option to see if they like the cake.
First come, first serve, and even though she hasn't had her tasting, it still supplies. Like myslady says, you can't wait on a window shopper when you have a guranteed sale.
I think that I would have to tell her she is SOL, unless you are comfortable making another cake for that day. Can you make it the day before? If it is fondant, it would be fine. I know it isn't ideal, but you could try it now, let a cake sit for two days, covered in fondant, then try it and see if it is any good.
If you gotta tell her she is SOL, do it ASAP, so she has time to find another baker.
I truly don't see a problem. "You snooze, you lose."
True story - I had two tastings back to back for the same wedding date. First tasting took the spot, which was the last available. When bride 2 came in for her tasting, I politely informed her that the previous appointment took the last spot for her date, and boxed up her samples and let her take them, as I had no use for them. I offered to recommend other vendors and wished her happy wedding planning.
At this point, you don't owe Bride A anything. If you don't think you can accept the extra cake on your calendar, then call her now and tell her that your calendar is now fully booked and cancel the tasting.
I am like you, I only take 2 weddings/weekend. i tell all my customers in advance of this fact and that the first 2 couples to plunk down their deposit gets the slot.
Here's what I would do, and have done, using your aa, a, and b scenario. Bride aa is booked and paid, written in pen in the date book, bride a books a consult, she gets penciled on my date book, bride b calls and says she wants to put down a deposit and guarantee the date, I tell her I have to check on the date and will get back to her. Call bride a, tell her I know we haven't had a consultation yet, but I need to be honest with you about this situation, I'm not trying to pressure you, but I'm committed to just taking 2 cakes to provide the highest quality service... If she says she's still not sure, then say well I understand, but I am going to take this other deposit and your date will then be booked. And then it's over.
Now, not knocking you, but I'm guessing you didn't think about the consult coming up or whatever. Do you know how many servings? How she came about calling you? If she was recommended to you by someone worth keeping happy, you may want to do it.
I did something weird coming up over the next 4 weeks, I have 4 consults booked per weekend, so I have one bride I'm meeting for May 21 for a HUGE wedding, and if I book her, I'm not taking anymore that weekend. But then someone in 3 weeks is scheduled for a consult for a May 21 wedding, because what if I don't book the big one? I don't want to say no to any meetings if there isn't a signed contract and cash in hand. I realize I may have to call someone and explain, but I have to book my schedule too...
This has been happening to us too.
I feel obligated to tell brides if a spot is close to being booked. I say, I do not want to pressure you into a deposit. I want to tell you your date has 1 spot left and 2 brides interested. If you know you would like to book us for your date, this is your opportunity to give us the deposit. We cannot hold dates based on the idea that you may book us for the date if we have another bride with a deposit in hand. It isn't fair to anyone.
I have a bride who came in for a tasting/consultation in Sept for a May wedding. She is dragging her feet around, asking questions, making slow decisions, isn't available during business hours via phone, and takes 2 weeks to return e-mails. I told her on Monday that I have 1 spot open for her date. If she wants to book us, I need a deposit. She should already know this because she has received our terms and conditions and brochure, which has this information-but it bears repeating. I am holding her hand, saying that I don't want her to lose out on the spot to brides who haven't planned as far in advance as she has because she came in a long time ago. I can't hold her date because she came in first when I have brides with money in hand for their date.
I only offer to go tastings for a select few wedding planners who I trust. I do not offer them to brides. There are too many variables, they could leave the cake in the car and it could melt before they eat it, they could mix up the flavors or have questions about them and you aren't there to answer, or they could leave the samples to taste 2 days later and say they were dry when they tasted them (that actually happened-of course they were dry, you left cut pieces of cake on the counter in a cardboard box for 2 days before you ate them!).
HTH, if only to know you aren't alone in this dilemma!
A "potential" client, is not a "client".
In guilt free fairness, you can post a version of that story on your website under FAQ, "Why do I need to pay a deposit?".
Overbooked, is overbooked. "Favoritism" is earned by the early planners who come to you cash in hand. Those brides earned your time and focus on the weekend they booked.
Heck, I "passed" on an item on sale, to return later and find it gone. You snooze, you lose.
That's a tough one! For me, people who book tastings with me are usually already 80% sure they want to book. They just want the tasting and the consult to cement things for sure. I don't feel like most of my tasting customers are "window shopping" but maybe that's because I do not own a shop.
I guess its either between one of two choices...you can call and graciously cancel the tasting...or you can decide to go ahead and take the third order that ONE weekend since you did not warn the bride that her tasting did not guarantee an opening.
Thanks for the responses.
yep, the situation arose when I was communicating with the Bride B who booked via my Blackberry, and pretty much forgot that Bride A (the tasting bride) had that as her date as well.
I was on a very rare vacation this weekend, and haven't gotten to communicate with anyone, so I need to check with the bride who said she was booking to make sure the check is in the mail before I email the tasting bride to cancel her meeting. She's not until October, so I'm not super concerned, but I do want to let her down gently.
Bride AA (the one who booked forever ago) is a VIP client, one from a local country club who I am establishing a relationship with and want to give top-notch quality to, so unless Bride B is looking for a mini cake, I'll probably have to cancel the tasting.
I'm going to have to come up with a better system I think, so I know who is where and when!!! I don't want to pressure the brides who only want to take their time, but sometimes I am going to have to do it!
That is also very true about to go tastings, if I do them, I'm going to have to be very careful to give them serving instructions. I can definitely see them backfiring if they leave them sitting around for a few days!
I haven't had this happen with cakes, but from the customer side, I have experience with this looking for daycare around here.
Basically, spots are filled on a first come, first serve basis, and if you book a tour of the place, you're not guaranteed a spot. In fact, there was only one place that actually had a spot, out of four that I wanted to look at. You HAVE to put a deposit down to secure the spot.
But I'm not going to just willy-nilly pick a daycare for my baby, just because the spots are filling up fast (and no one told me that once the stick said, "+" or "pregnant" I needed to start calling).
I think this still applies for cake customers as well, and if they aren't able to understand that first come, first serve, doesn't apply to the tasting, but the signed contract and deposit, then you probably don't want them as a customer anyway.