I made a contact at the most recent bridal show. She has a venue, and by association, contacts with several more. They are starting this "all inclusive" wedding package, whereby they offer everything...venue, catering, cake, everything.
She says her current cake lady offers cake for $2.50 per serving, but she is located in Kentucky, which is at least 35-40 min drive from us. She is looking to partner with someone close by, and I'm right up the street.
She wants me to come up with some cakes that can be offered to these brides: round, square, so and so flavors. She says if they want to pay for upgrades, such as fondant or super detail work (like bows, figures, etc) that they would pay me for that. The brides would pay the venue for the cake and the venue pays me.
Can you think of anything that I should be asking? I figure that I should find out when I get paid, and whether there are other fees that I didn't think to ask about before.
I'm also wondering how I go about framing my offerings. My whole business philosophy has been built on this being a 100% custom shop. I say right on my website that I don't offer stock designs, but that anyone is free to use a previous design if they like. So if I offer the hall certain designs, is that shooting myself in the foot? Or do I say "any buttercream design up to XXX hours" ? Not quite sure how do go about it.
Any input you guys have would be great. This has the potential to get me working, and I need the income!
Would you at any point meet with the bride? I am asking because, say the venue includes any cake up to $300 from you. You meet with the bride, go over designs, flavors... get everything settled and tell them the final price. If the price is equal to or less than $300 than the venue pays you. If the price is greater than $300 the bride pays you the rest. Either way the bride knows up front what is extra, how much extra and how to cut out the extra is she wants. Plus, each cake is still custom designed for each client.
She did say that the bride comes to me. So that sounds a lot like I was thinking, thank you! Just waffling because I have the feeling she wants a formal proposal and that is new to me.
I guess since she said the biggest all inclusive package would involve 150 guests, I could come up with some round and square cakes that serve anywhere from 80 to 150, then specify what fillings, flavors, and detailing is included in that price.
I so hope this works out for me!
They will probably want some sample pics to show thier customers to sell the package. I would suggest giving them a book with some examples of your work that fits within the price range as examples, then of course the final design will come about when you meet with the bride. But just like pics pon your web site/ facebook etc it gives the bride an idea of the quality of workmanship.
I don't think you need to advertise these kinds of cakes on your website. Keep the ones for this venue out of your offering to the "general public" so to speak. The only people who will know about it will be those particular brides who book through the venue. They will be essentially choosing from a catalogue of cakes, although they will be able to change things up some to make them more individual to them.
Nothing to do with wedding cakes, but I supply a couple of stores with baked goods designed for them, which I neither sell in my bakery nor offer to other people. I do it because it is steady, easy income, but I wouldn't want to sell these items to everyone necessarily, and I don't advertise that I do this.
I'm going to start working with a venue myself this year...I agree, you can keep the basic work you do for them off your website....anyway, the brides are pretty much paying THEM, not you...the caterer/venue is paying you. This would be sort of a "separate" job...a sort of contracting job...not the same as you are doing with your regular customers.
Try not to give them too much of a discount if you can manage it. The nice thing about the people that I"m going to start working with is that they are letting me name my price, and then they are throwing it in their package and adding whatever fee they want...but they are paying me their price.
My only drawback so far is that they prefer to pay me in a check at delivery. I'm uncomfortable working without a deposit at least, but as long as they never let me down, it will be okay. They mess up one time, and we'll have to change the rules.
This sounds like an awesome opportunity. I'm with Dayti, create a series of basic cakes you are willing to sell at that price point and provide some photos to the venue. When they come see you always start with what they were offered and if they want upgrades, price appropriately. I bet you have more people upgrade than you expect. Just be prepared for how you price the upgrade. If you go with a $2.50 per serving "included" and they want fondant or specialty flavors etc do those as per serving upgrades. Flowers and bows may be a flat charge depending on the cake design but I would want to have my pricing completely laid out.
As for what to ask the venue, I would want to know when I get paid, how much notice I have, what happens in the case of cancellations (early cancellations and last minute). How is my work and name represented from the venue? Do they give the brides an option for outside cake or do they have to go with you? If the bride ops out of the cake does she still pay the all inclusive price and if so you should be paid accordingly. The argument there is you made this deal with an expected number of weddings and if they opt out of the cake each time this deal may not be in your best interest....
Ok that's all the questions I can come up with for now Before you present a formal proposal I'd be asking lots of questions so your formal proposal can address these. Also if you're not comfortable making the proposal, ask them how they structured the contract with the previous baker. You don't have to have the same exact deal but if you could see the contract it might help you focus more on what needs to be included and addressed.
I ditto Sillywabbits.
Also, some other cakers have designed some very good contracts which address issues you may need to cover. You may want to look these over and they may give you some more ideas of how you want to set this up. Below I have posted (hopefully!) a link from another forum addressing the contract issue.
Good Luck! This sounds like a great opportunity for you!
I do a similar thing with a local venue. They tell the bride "Kara is doing your cake, call her to set up an appt." They send me the bride's information and I contact them and she comes for a tasting, during which time I draw up their cake design and have them sign a "contract" for it. since the venue pays me directly they don't put down a deposit.
I'd say that most important thing is to find out from the venue whether the brides have the option of going somewhere else, like sillywabbitz pointed out. The place that I work with lets them do that if they want to, so if they have their heart set on a specific person and it isn't me, they just pull that amount out of the package. I have them sign the contract to make sure they know that they're hiring me along with the package.
Also find out when they pay you. For me it's a corporate venue, so it's all done on a 30-day pay period and I don't get paid for the cake until after I've delivered it. That's okay for me, but if you need the cash flow you might want to negotiate different terms.