How Would You Handle This?

Decorating By TPACakeGirl Updated 21 Mar 2011 , 3:51pm by UpAt2am

TPACakeGirl Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 10:55pm
post #1 of 37

I'm kind of a hobby baker who fell into a part-time business by accident. I currently have a full-time job and can maybe bake one cake per week. I do this from home, and it's only me. I have no staff and no access to help. A woman contacted me to make her friend's wedding cake and grooms cake. I initially agreed because she said it would be for 50-60 people. Today, the woman contacted me and wanted to put together a tasting. She requested to try 5 cake flavors and 4 fillings. Now, that means I have to bake five cakes and make 4 fillings. It seems like an aweful lot of wasted time and cake for me. She also wants to taste my fondant. She then said that the Groom's cake would be Pac Man and she sent a picture of a 5 tier wedding cake. Now, that's a lot of cake for 50-60 people. Plus, I don't think I have the time to do this on my own. How do I say all this tactfully so that I don't lose a future customer? I don't even think she realizes how much all this will cost. I haven't responded to her email yet. I was hoping to get some opinions before I do.

36 replies
Dayti Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:06pm
post #2 of 37

You can make cupcakes for tasting, it doesn't have to be a full cake. You can make a small a batch as possible, leave one of each flavour out for her, and freeze the rest (or take them to work). Same with the fillings. Just leave a cookie scoopful of each flavour for her. Feel free to charge her for the tasting.

Educate her on the cake sizes - maybe she sent you a pic of a 5 tier because she likes the look, not necessarily because of the size. She will only need a 6", 8" and 10" cake for that many people, and even that is alot considering they are having a grooms cake too. Depends how big you make that.
So, you won't be speaking to the bride at all? This friend has permission to just get whatever cake she likes?

You will have time, you just have to organise yourself, and get as much info asap from her. The freezer is your friend for big cakes! But if you really don't think you can do it, best to just tell her. Or at least charge accordingly, so you are not hating every minute you spend on the cake/s!

BrindysBackyard Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:10pm
post #3 of 37

Tell her you can do one or the other. Give her the price for both and let her choose. Don't sell your self short on the $$ just to keep her as a customer. All you will be doing is letting her know that she can get a deal with you and you will regret that later.

Good Luck!

cakesbymindysue Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:11pm
post #4 of 37

Simple you're in Florida (at least that's what your info shows). It is illegal to bake and sell from your home in Florida. Her venue probably won't even let you deliver since you don't have a business license or insurance. Heck, she could even be from the Health Dept. and is setting you up. Do you know this woman? Is she a friend? Or just someone that contacted you out of the blue?

Sorelle Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:12pm
post #5 of 37

I think you might want to tell her that you want to speak to the bride directly. What if there is bad communication and the bride ends up not liking the cake? The bride is the one you want to please. imo

Kitagrl Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:31pm
post #6 of 37

Something sounds funny about it to me. Be careful.

Plus...you do not *have* to bake five flavors of cake just because she wants it.

MacsMom Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:44pm
post #7 of 37

How close is this friend? As long as the venue agrees that it is fine to have the wedding cake made "by a friend" - "as a gift"...

As for the tastings, I would tell her that you can make 2 flavors of cake and 2 fillings, but the extra tastings will cost x amount of dollars. Pretty much, if you've tasted a white and chocolate you should get a good idea of what anything else from your kitchen will be like.

Dig out your cake pans and build a couple of mock cakes with them, using Wiltons serving chart since most venues cut 1"x2", to show what a tiered cake for 60 guests looks like.

If you don't have time to make both cakes, tell her so. The Pac-Man cake can be a regular round cake with the Pac-Man face on it, something she could probably make herself.

weirkd Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:45pm
post #8 of 37

I would be honest. Tell her your not a bakery and that since this is a part time thing for you, that she needs to pick only two or three choices. Also, at the tasting let her know what size cake she would need for that many people and if she wants the look of the five tiered cake she would have to have dummies. Also I like to tell people a little bit of cake knowledge at the tasting. Most of them have no clue as to how much time or money it takes to make a cake. Its not a simple as they think. Let them know! Most people will understand. And if she insists on five cake choices tell her there will be a few for the tasting. Sometimes people take advantage if they think they can do it.

TPACakeGirl Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:26am
post #9 of 37

I've never met the bride but I've known the woman who is ordering the cakes for 8 years. I've made cakes for her daughter in the past, and her husband works with me. She wants the tasting so the bride can decide which of the 5 flavors she likes. They are getting married in a garden.

bakencake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:53am
post #10 of 37

Make sure that you have a ball park figure of how much money you are going to charge.

Also, 5 flavors is a lot. unless they are paying for the tasting or are going to pay lots of money for the cakes make sure you narrow down the flavors. If not you are going to end up loosing money baking all those cakes for free.

good luck

bakencake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:54am
post #11 of 37

Make sure that you have a ball park figure of how much money you are going to charge.

Also, 5 flavors is a lot. unless they are paying for the tasting or are going to pay lots of money for the cakes make sure you narrow down the flavors. If not you are going to end up loosing money baking all those cakes for free.

good luck

tryingcake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:57am
post #12 of 37

5 cake flavors at a tasting? No freakin' way! I am generous and only offer three and two fillings. And those are basic flavors (I can get 3-4 basic flavors out of one mix (making 4" rounds) - no waste). Anything more than that and it is $10 each for a 6" single layer round, undecorated.

Also, if she is wanting a 5-tier just because it looks "grander" than a 2 or 3 tier (all you need for 50 people), I would offer dummies for the other un-needed tiers.

Also - you will find this common practice - no free tastings for under 100 servings, and many bakers say no free tastings for less than 150 or even 200 servings.

ConfectionsCC Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:57am
post #13 of 37

I charge for my tastings, and I only allow for max 3 cake flavors, and 3 fillings/icing and one fruit filling. Its $25 for two, and $8 for anyone else they want to bring, but no more than 4. I am very up front about it with my customers. I also tell them the tasting will be credited towards their cake purchase after they put their deposit down. Let her be aware how many servings each tier will feed, and that it may be in their best interest to scale down the cake. Only take on what you feel you can handle, and stick to your prices! People order wedding cakes and grooms cakes from different bakeries all the time, so not a big deal! Be honest and confident, people will respect you if you are!

bakencake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:57am
post #14 of 37

Make sure that you have a ball park figure of how much money you are going to charge.

Also, 5 flavors is a lot. unless they are paying for the tasting or are going to pay lots of money for the cakes make sure you narrow down the flavors. If not you are going to end up loosing money baking all those cakes for free.

good luck

ConfectionsCC Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:58am
post #15 of 37

I charge for my tastings, and I only allow for max 3 cake flavors, and 3 fillings/icing and one fruit filling. Its $25 for two, and $8 for anyone else they want to bring, but no more than 4. I am very up front about it with my customers. I also tell them the tasting will be credited towards their cake purchase after they put their deposit down. Let her be aware how many servings each tier will feed, and that it may be in their best interest to scale down the cake. Only take on what you feel you can handle, and stick to your prices! People order wedding cakes and grooms cakes from different bakeries all the time, so not a big deal! Be honest and confident, people will respect you if you are!

bakencake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:58am
post #16 of 37

Make sure that you have a ball park figure of how much money you are going to charge.

Also, 5 flavors is a lot. unless they are paying for the tasting or are going to pay lots of money for the cakes make sure you narrow down the flavors. If not you are going to end up loosing money baking all those cakes for free.

good luck

ConfectionsCC Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:58am
post #17 of 37

I charge for my tastings, and I only allow for max 3 cake flavors, and 3 fillings/icing and one fruit filling. Its $25 for two, and $8 for anyone else they want to bring, but no more than 4. I am very up front about it with my customers. I also tell them the tasting will be credited towards their cake purchase after they put their deposit down. Let her be aware how many servings each tier will feed, and that it may be in their best interest to scale down the cake. Only take on what you feel you can handle, and stick to your prices! People order wedding cakes and grooms cakes from different bakeries all the time, so not a big deal! Be honest and confident, people will respect you if you are!

tryingcake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:59am
post #18 of 37

5 cake flavors at a tasting? No freakin' way! I am generous and only offer three and two fillings. And those are basic flavors (I can get 3-4 basic flavors out of one mix (making 4" rounds) - no waste). Anything more than that and it is $10 each for a 6" single layer round, undecorated.

Also, if she is wanting a 5-tier just because it looks "grander" than a 2 or 3 tier (all you need for 50 people), I would offer dummies for the other un-needed tiers.

Also - you will find this common practice - no free tastings for under 100 servings, and many bakers say no free tastings for less than 150 or even 200 servings.

TPACakeGirl Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 12:10pm
post #19 of 37

I emailed my friend about her friend's wedding cake and groom's cake. I decided to just be honest with her. I asked her if her friend really wanted a 5 tier cake for a 50 person wedding because she's looking at spending a lot of money and having a ton of cake left over. I also brought up the fact that they should talk with the venue and make sure she can even bring in an outside cake.

I told her that it's only me working on these cakes, and that I don't think I could do such a huge wedding cake and then make a groom's cake. And if her friend really does want a 4 or 5 tier wedding cake, she should probably consider a larger bakery that can handle that kind of volume, but that I would gladly do the groom's cake. I told her I just didn't want to ruin anyone's big day by doing subpar work just to get it done in time.

I hope I didn't burn a bridge. Like I said, I've made cakes for her in the past. I just hope she recognizes that I'm trying to be a good business woman. I guess I will see what happens and keep you guys posted.

indydebi Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 2:06pm
post #20 of 37

"Hello, Pizza Hut? I'm planning a pizza party for my darling little princess diva and I'd like to schedule some time to come in and taste one slice of every single kind of pizza you make so I can decide which ones I like. And I expect you do to do this for free. After all, I don't want to order pizza for 6 people if I don't like it."

Yeah ..... THAT'LL work! dunce.gif

geesh, its not like I've ever had a piece of pepperoni pizza in my life!

ConfectionsCC Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 3:21pm
post #21 of 37

indydebi I always love reading your responses lol! icon_biggrin.gif As far as giving free tastings just because its a bigger cake, I would never!! I don't care how much cake you are ordering, if you want me to stop my day, make you something to taste, I am getting paid for my time and materials! You never know how many tastings and price quotes people are getting, so I do not want to be out that time and money for nothing! Like I said though, if you book with me, consider the tasting free, because it will get credited towards the cake purchase. I am a new business owner, I am still learning ways to protect my time and money but so far, this is working well for me! Only two other bakeries in my area (and by area, I am talking 50mile radius) that will even allow for tastings, so brides are very excited to even be able to do it! I also treat my brides well...They get full service and attention, I set it up pretty, give them pretty plates and glasses of lemon water. I swear people will respect you more if you are upfront and honest from the beginning, never try to take on more than you know you are capable of, because they don't see the many hours of hard work, all they see is the finished product and if its not up to par, than its on you!

cakewhiz Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 4:26pm
post #22 of 37

Reading between the lines of your story.....I would tell this woman the truth. What she is requesting is over and beyond what you are capable of doing. I would explain to her that you are a hobby baker and work full time outside of your home and would not have the time to do a cake of this magnitude. This sounds like, at this time, you have not had enough experience to handle a request like this. Don't feel bad about saying this. Ease into your cake decorating with what you feel comfortable with and gradually build upon your experience slowly.

tryingcake Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 7:15pm
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPACakeGirl


I hope I didn't burn a bridge. Like I said, I've made cakes for her in the past. I just hope she recognizes that I'm trying to be a good business woman. I guess I will see what happens and keep you guys posted.




I would absolutely hire you again in the future because of your integrity.

Good for you!! thumbs_up.gif

TPACakeGirl Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:58pm
post #24 of 37

My friend called me after she received my email, and she said that she really wants me to do the cake. She said that she is going to talk to the bride about a smaller cake because my friend is paying for the wedding cake and the groom's cake, and she isn't going to pay for a 5 tier cake to be thrown away. She is supposed to get back with me, but she's pretty sure the bride will settle on a 3 tier cake. I found a friend who will make the flowers for the cake, so that will save me some time too.

tryingcake Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 5:16pm
post #25 of 37

Yey! Sounds like it is working out for you.

pmarks0 Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 9:54pm
post #26 of 37

I just had to add this as I read the comments about how many tasting samples and whether to charge or not (which I totally agree with).

When DH and I were shopping around for our wedding cake we decided to go for a tasting to one of the bigger cake vendors who was at all the wedding shows. I've never forgotten. We made our appointment for 10am on a Saturday. They had a relatively large store front which provided them ample room for dummy display cakes and they had 4 or 5 small round tables that could each seat 4 in the store for their sampling and consultations. We showed up (and shortly after another couple as well) and after being greeted, we were shown to a table and given a list of their cake and filling flavours as well as a binder with their portfolio of cakes. I already had a design in mind but it was nice to look at.

Anyway, the sample arrive. There are four pieces (all 1x2x4) on the plate all different. We finish those, make some notes and then plate number 2 arrived, again same size pieces and all different again. This went on twice more until we had tried 13 or 14 different pieces of cake. At one point I was in dire need of a glass of water which they brought, and eventually I was feeling sick from all the sugar. After the manager (I assume) came over afterwards for feedback and to answer any questions as well as talk pricing regarding our design choice.

We didn't pay for that tasting, and we weren't required to make a decision or sign a contract that day. We left to think about it and we had another tasting at a much smaller vendor later in the week (which we also were not charged for, but only included 3-4 flavours).

In the end we did book with the first vendor.

TPACakeGirl Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 10:13pm
post #27 of 37

If I ever had a storefront of my own, I would have no problem doing unlimited tastings. I 100% plan on being first class all the way. But right now I'm just a hobby baker. I really only bake for friends and maybe word of mouth. I don't even turn a profit. Up until last month, I was actually losing money. Now, I get enough to cover my supplies. Unlimited tasting would break me.

TPACakeGirl Posted 8 Mar 2011 , 5:42pm
post #28 of 37

Well, I did the cake tasting this weekend. It took me 7 hours to bake all the cakes and make the fillings, and it cost me about $50 in supplies which I'll be tacking on to the price of the cake. It was an exhausting process. One I probably won't repeat in the future if I can avoid it.

VanillaCoke Posted 8 Mar 2011 , 6:59pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmarks0

I just had to add this as I read the comments about how many tasting samples and whether to charge or not (which I totally agree with).

When DH and I were shopping around for our wedding cake we decided to go for a tasting to one of the bigger cake vendors who was at all the wedding shows. I've never forgotten. We made our appointment for 10am on a Saturday. They had a relatively large store front which provided them ample room for dummy display cakes and they had 4 or 5 small round tables that could each seat 4 in the store for their sampling and consultations. We showed up (and shortly after another couple as well) and after being greeted, we were shown to a table and given a list of their cake and filling flavours as well as a binder with their portfolio of cakes. I already had a design in mind but it was nice to look at.

Anyway, the sample arrive. There are four pieces (all 1x2x4) on the plate all different. We finish those, make some notes and then plate number 2 arrived, again same size pieces and all different again. This went on twice more until we had tried 13 or 14 different pieces of cake. At one point I was in dire need of a glass of water which they brought, and eventually I was feeling sick from all the sugar. After the manager (I assume) came over afterwards for feedback and to answer any questions as well as talk pricing regarding our design choice.

We didn't pay for that tasting, and we weren't required to make a decision or sign a contract that day. We left to think about it and we had another tasting at a much smaller vendor later in the week (which we also were not charged for, but only included 3-4 flavours).

In the end we did book with the first vendor.




Holey Moley! That's kind of insane IMO. I offer a deluxe tasting for $, but no one ever wants more than 4-5 flavors. People usually have a general idea of what they like. Ironically, 80% of the people who want to try everything buy the white cake. They love it.

pmarks0 Posted 8 Mar 2011 , 7:11pm
post #30 of 37

Trust me, it was way too much, and I'm speaking just from a customer standpoint. In the end I think we went with two flavours. It was a three tier, but I was providing the top tier (traditional West Indian black cake to honour my DHs heritage).

When/if I ever get to offering tastings, I'll be reviewing responses here and only offering a 2-3 with various fillings and frostings.

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