For those of you who have licensed home kitchens for your cake shops...
Have you received requests from people who want to "come watch you work"?
I must get an e-mail every month or so from someone wanting to come over and just "watch" me. Sometimes it's a kid... sometimes a college student... and sometimes an adult who is wanting to "break into" the industry.
This is the latest e-mail I received.
"My daughter Emma is in love w every cake show on tv and has started baking at home. She is aching to see someone work w fondant. Is there any way that we come over some time and just watch you do some part of your cakes. She has watched your facebook and is just enamored w your cakes. So there it is let me know. Thanks!!"
How do you respond?
Technically... I don't want ANYONE watching me work. And quite frankly, it is illegal (according to my license) for kids to be in my kitchen during commercial processing. So....
Most of the time I tell them no... just curious how you guys handle it. I might have to post something on my website like Duff does... He states his reason as insurance.
It would probably be a good idea to post it on your site. Simply mention that state and insurance regulations prohibit you from allowing members of the public to visit the bakery.
I get people asking if I hire employees all the time, and I just tell them that I don't since I work from home and have really weird hours (true).
If it's illegal to have people in your kitchen while you work just tell them that, and suggest that she sign up for a fondant class, or watch some youtube videos. It sounds like she's trying to get free lessons out of you.
Or you could teach some classes and charge her for it
True story that I'm sure I've told at least once, but it's been awhile, so here goes.
Me: company name
Caller: Hi! I'm (name). I just graduated from pastry school and my friend and I want to set up a wedding cake shop. Can I come over to meet with you to look at recipes and see how you do things?
Me: Where will your shop be located?
Caller: right here in (same city as me)
Me: So, you're asking me if I'll give you recipes, show you how to make cakes and tell you how to run your business, so you can go into competition with me?
Me: NO. But thanks for calling.
No, no one gets to come watch me work, which is sometimes at 2 am anyway.
It sounds creepy to me. I would direct them to the nearest store that conducts Wilton classes. It would be a better experience for them, too. The person watching will most likely interupt you a lot to ask questions and you'd end up teaching them. If they need a teacher, they should take a class.
You. "Yes, I offer private observation sessions on occasion. My pre-paid rate is $100 per hour, two hour minimum." Please let me know what you would like to observe, baking, buttercream, fondant work, etc. Also email me your availability and how many hours you would like to observe, and I will pencil you in."
That should cool them off.
I have something on my "contact us" page that states that the kitchen is not open to the public. I'm new, so I'm not sure if this is going to discourage people or not, but I thought it was best to put it out there right from the start.
I, too, love tinygoose's response. You're in business to make money, not entertain the public or give away secrets. Or you could teach classes in the local adult ed programs and get paid for your time.