I am opening a bakery in May. I have already been doing bridal consultations. I am just wondering if there is a formula you all follow?
for example... what do you start with? at what point in the consultation do you offer the tastings? Do you discuss prices? Do you give a bid on the spot? do you send them home with any literature? Is there anything you DON'T do at a consultation? Do you offer them as complimentary or charge? So far mine are free but there seem to be some that just come to try cake and don't book.... one even knew the price, came and said it was too much AFTER i reduced it for her!
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!
I usually start out with a little spill about me and right away give them the samples. I charge for a tasting $25 and if they book with me it gets deducted from the price of the cake. By the time they book a tasting they already know what my prices are and have an idea of the cost of the cake. I did offer free tastings but after I spent hours preparing for a tasting and had a no show, I quickly changed it. For me the people that book a tasting in my short experience are already booking with me. It definitely weeds out the people that aren't serious about it. I don't have my own shop so I meet with them at a coffee shop and until I get a shop this is how I will be doing my tastings. HTH
Some add'l threads with good info re: consultations.....
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-650451-sampling.html (limit number of people)
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-655128-sampling.html (my anti "drive-thru-sampling" opinion!)
I also wanted to charge for consultations like the above poster. I also offered to deduct it from the cost of the cake if they ordered from me. I don't do a lot of business (have an in-home business out of licensed kitchen) or advertising. I quickly found that charging people for the tasting turned them off. So eventually I just started baking small cakes (4 inch cakes) with leftover batter. I put them in those bags where you can suck out the air? I can't think of the name. when people come over I just cut little wedges out of each cake. I typically have buttercream on hand, so normally I don't have to make a batch especially for a tasting. So far it has worked for me and no one has ever asked if it was frozen. I always taste a piece first though!
AWESOME info Deb! You always know just what to say
Anyone else want to share their insight???
PS... I did a consult while waiting for postings AND SHE BOOKED! YAY!
Right now Before atasting or consult i always get an approximate guest count and tell them the starting price (as IndyDebi says people just go math dumb so i do it for them) for their cake. If they're good then i schedule a tasting/consult for them.
At the consult we do introductions and then start the tasting. I find it's a nice ice breaker and easier to chat about the date/time/location what they're looking for while they eat. And people are happy when they're eating so it makes for a better time by all
I have my contract pulled up on my computer and use that as a guide for what to talk about next. When we discuss the design i also have my cake dummies there so i can show them the different sizes and options they have for their guest count. So far this has been a VERY positive thing and get great feed back from it. Not every one can visualize and it's fun to play around with sizes/# of tiers/and different shapes for different effects.
Once we get through all of that then i go over the legal stuff in the contract (whose responsible for what, due dates for payments, acts of god etc...) I then give an APPROXIMATE amount due. I always email the contract with final details so i can check mileage, check my numbers on servings/tiers and total price etc...
A couple days later i email the contract with any other info that we discussed in their consult and remind them of dates things i need etc...
As for charging for tastings. I offer a free one (they get 3-4 of whatever i have on hand) and one i charge for and they can choose 2 flavors that i offer (and i still offer two of whatever i have on hand)
When we discuss the design i also have my cake dummies there so i can show them the different sizes and options they have for their guest count. So far this has been a VERY positive thing and get great feed back from it. Not every one can visualize and it's fun to play around with sizes/# of tiers/and different shapes for different effects.
Just want to add that this IS a great tool during the consult. Helps explain how certain square sizes can or can't be stacked (i.e. how 8" square can't be set diamond-shaped on top of a 10" square, but it CAN be "slightly askew" on a 10" and work). A very good tool to use!
I was just going to add that I use a set of nesting round cardboard boxes (got at Michael's) and a set of square cake boxes (they nest inside each other) instead of dummies, they take up a lot less space that way.
yep, i whip out pans and stack them