Brides Who Want To Order Cakes From More Than One Vendor

Business By CakeDiva101 Updated 3 May 2011 , 7:26pm by LindaF144a

CakeDiva101 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 2:56pm
post #1 of 30

I know many of you came across this situation before and before it happens to me, I would like your input on how to write a nice section on my contract and my website on why I won't allow that. I know why I wont allow that but I want to explain, in a nice way, to a prospect client that I have standards to uphold. I appreciate all the help from the CC's members who have helped me in this long journey. I'm now legal, with a studio and ready to rock!
Thank you for all the help icon_biggrin.gif

29 replies
cakesbycathy Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 3:00pm
post #2 of 30

This is what I have in my contract:
15.  NO cake from another vendor is permitted to be served at an event where a cake from Creative Cakes by Cathy is served. This to protect my reputation. I do not know the quality of the other vendors cake, and cannot risk being mistaken as the creator of the other cake(s). It is also a liability issue, as it is not possible to know the sanitary conditions in which other cakes are made. Violation of this policy could mean forfeiture of your Creative Cakes by Cathy cake and all monies paid with no compensation to the purchaser.

There has been debate on here before on how you can enforce it but really it's not usually an issue. I think you'll find that most of the business owners on here have something similar.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 4:47pm
post #3 of 30

If you do include this clause in your contract you need to think hard about what you will do when you arrive at the venue with your cake and find that the bride (or other guests) have either made or bought additional cakes/other desserts.

I would also recommend including a clause that allows for case-by-case exceptions in the event that food allergies need to be accommodated. We specialize in cakes made for people with food allergies, and we've had several brides tell us that they rejected vendors because they would not allow other cakes at the venue. In some of those cases we ended up making the entire wedding cake allergy-friendly instead of just a secondary cake.

jenmat Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 5:06pm
post #4 of 30

Here is mine:
In order to protect its reputation, Cakescapes will be the sole provider of any/all cakes, edible or display, and expressly prohibits any/all cakes not provided by Cakescapes, edible or display, to be served at the event, unless previously agreed upon due to allergy or special diet requirements. The items agreed upon must be provided by a licensed and insured facility.
If another source or individual other than Cakescapes provides any cake(s), edible or display that have not been previously approved, the items ordered from Cakescapes will NOT be delivered and ANY MONIES PAID WILL BE FORFEITED.

I make it clear at the tasting that the clause is to protect them as much as me- all other desserts should come from a licensed facility, not grandma's apple pie from her home kitchen. It is also an opportunity to discuss the benefits of a licensed facility and the sanitation standards of the state requirements. They may have thought that bringing in homemade goods to a venue would be just fine, but I know many in the area that would sent those items back out the door.
I would only enforce this clause if the evidence is sitting there right in front of me. (ie sheet cakes in a Walmart box on my cake table.)

I've never had a problem so far, and hope I never do, because as discussed in other forums, this clause can bite you HARD if you have to pull your cake. If push came to shove, I don't know that I would have the stones to take someone's wedding cake away, unless they were really bad about hiding it. I would probably call the contact person before I even thought about walking away with their wedding cake.

jleigh982 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 5:36pm
post #5 of 30

oh i wouldnt feel bad about taking the cake back if they agreed it wouldn't happen! I used to think that I would feel horrible taking it away but after seeing a situation where this goes bad happen here in san antonio, it changed my mind REAL QUICK...

bride had ordered basic wedding cake from family, ordered intricate grooms cake from reputable baker in town...
grooms cake was delivered first, baker left a card in corner of cake table with her business name and the flavors of the cake tiers.
the cake from family was delivered with flowers inserted DIRECTLY in the cake, and placed directly next to grooms cake on the same table as the business card BIG MISTAKE!
some of the guest got sick, there was no way of knowing if it was the flowers in the brides cake or perhaps something in the grooms cake, but the baker who made the grooms cake, had no way of protecting her reputation by there being nothing else there and since there was only her card on the table for the two cakes im guessing people assumed she had done both...

i would HATE to have one of my cakes on a table with another cake that could possibly make people sick and have my reputation in jeopardy because people think i did both

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 5:57pm
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleigh982

bride had ordered basic wedding cake from family, ordered intricate grooms cake from reputable baker in town...
grooms cake was delivered first, baker left a card in corner of cake table with her business name and the flavors of the cake tiers.
the cake from family was delivered with flowers inserted DIRECTLY in the cake, and placed directly next to grooms cake on the same table as the business card BIG MISTAKE!



If the offending cake was delivered after the reputable baker left, and the customer ignored the clause in the contract and got another family cake anyway, that still wouldn't save the reputable baker's reputation.

For that matter, an illness caused by other food at the wedding could potentially be attributed to the cake as well.

LindaF144a Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 6:04pm
post #7 of 30

All I can say is when I worked at a local cakery we had no restrictions. Once they came and got their cake we did not care what they did with it or what they served with it. Or once it was delivered to the venue it was the same thing.

Honestly how can you police this? I have different feelings on this than anybody else, obviously. But I can see someone waiting til you left and then bringing in the other items. To me it is akin to the photographer saying no one else can take photos. I can't tell you how many candid snap shots we had at my wedding with the photographer's hand in front. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I did not nearly as many photos as I normally would have done. I think if you start to put too many restrictions in a contract it can be one of those things that deters someone from using your company.

But hey I could be wrong. I'll find out. I'm not putting that clause in my contract. I'll let you know if it comes back to haunt me.

jleigh982 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 6:32pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by jleigh982

bride had ordered basic wedding cake from family, ordered intricate grooms cake from reputable baker in town...
grooms cake was delivered first, baker left a card in corner of cake table with her business name and the flavors of the cake tiers.
the cake from family was delivered with flowers inserted DIRECTLY in the cake, and placed directly next to grooms cake on the same table as the business card BIG MISTAKE!


If the offending cake was delivered after the reputable baker left, and the customer ignored the clause in the contract and got another family cake anyway, that still wouldn't save the reputable baker's reputation.

For that matter, an illness caused by other food at the wedding could potentially be attributed to the cake as well.




very true, its hard to do anything after the fact but if you show up and there is another cake there, you can either ask for it to be removed or labeled as something made by another baker, or take your cake back. but if there is nothing in your contract that says this is unacceptable, you can not do anything because at that point your hands are tied. I put this in my contract but I do have some brides that have asked if there can be anything else there and i usually tell them that if its labeled and separated from my baked goods its ok...its when they try to go behind my back and i see it that i no longer feel guilty about putting my foot down

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 6:52pm
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleigh982

I put this in my contract but I do have some brides that have asked if there can be anything else there and i usually tell them that if its labeled and separated from my baked goods its ok...its when they try to go behind my back and i see it that i no longer feel guilty about putting my foot down



How you word the clause will probably impact how your customers respond. If you word it harshly (in the vein of "no other cake for you"), some customers may respond by going behind your back. On the other hand, if you have a clause that specifically allows other baked goods at the venue as long as you are notified and the other items are clearly labeled and separated (disclaiming liability for the other items of course), customers would be more likely to comply. If you allow other baked goods anyway, why not use that clause in the contract in the first place?

Quote:
Quote:

if there is nothing in your contract that says this is unacceptable, you can not do anything because at that point your hands are tied



A clause allowing other baked goods that are clearly labeled and separated would provide you with just as much recourse as a clause disallowing other baked goods. The former also allows for a much more customer-friendly recourse: label the other cake vs. taking your cake away (which in reality would torch your reputation anyway).

CakeDiva101 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:11pm
post #10 of 30

Oh...I knew I could count on you guys icon_biggrin.gif . This is so good. I'm just looking to cover my tail in case aunt Sue makes cupcakes and forgot to wash her hands and someone gets sick. I do like the idea of products from another baker be labeled separately. However, I, as a bride, would not put labels on my cake, grooms cake ,etc. It is definitely a stick situation. I'm hoping that just saying something about on the contract, it would free me from any responsibility if something should happen.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:15pm
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva101

However, I, as a bride, would not put labels on my cake, grooms cake ,etc.



Due to the nature of our business (we need to make sure people with food allergies eat our cake instead of the "regular" cake) we always provide and set up tent cards that describe the cake and include our business name. We just print the tent cards on card stock on our laser printer and score them, they look very tasteful and we've never had a bride complain. In fact, some brides request specific colors or designs on the tent cards to mesh with the wedding theme.

jleigh982 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:22pm
post #12 of 30

very true...ive only had an experience twice where I showed up and that was the case... one of them was because when i showed up there was cupcakes from a grocery store spread on the cake table AROUND the stand that my cake was to be on...I reminded the mother of the bride that the contract that they signed said this was not to happen and i asked that the cupcakes be removed, or seperated and labeled. of course the MOB gawked at the idea of having to put a label on the table saying the cupcakes where from walmart and appearing "cheap" to the guest, so she chose to remove them. had she not, you bet your bottom dollar i would have left, cake and contract in hand.

Marianna46 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:41pm
post #13 of 30

I think something like this is necessary, and I like jason_kraft's idea. I don't think my customers would mind tasteful labeling.

Sangriacupcake Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:52pm
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleigh982

very true...ive only had an experience twice where I showed up and that was the case... one of them was because when i showed up there was cupcakes from a grocery store spread on the cake table AROUND the stand that my cake was to be on...I reminded the mother of the bride that the contract that they signed said this was not to happen and i asked that the cupcakes be removed, or seperated and labeled. of course the MOB gawked at the idea of having to put a label on the table saying the cupcakes where from walmart and appearing "cheap" to the guest, so she chose to remove them. had she not, you bet your bottom dollar i would have left, cake and contract in hand.




And did she put them back after you left?

loriemoms Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 10:23pm
post #15 of 30

I dont get this clause either...most of the venues i work with require proof of insurance before they will allow outside cake, and many restuarants work this way too. So I trust them. How DO you police this?

Also, there are only a few of us in town who do the high end sculpted cakes. and I have done many a wedding where they got the simple wedding cake from somewhere else, and the grooms cake from us. We also have done grooms cakes for a number of high end resorts, hotels and country clubs that provide the wedding cake with their services, but do not do grooms cakes. How do you tell your bride Oh sorry, you cant have the cake the caterer is providing??

We also have run into a lot of weddings where they have candy bars, brownie bars and chocolate fountains that have cake on them.

I can understand you wanting to protect yourself, but to be honest, people can get more sick off of the food that is being served then they cake. We really have no way of knowing what happens once we leave our cake at a wedding.


I personally am more nervous about some one cutting chicken then using that knife to cut my cake then another cake being there!

kakeladi Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 10:55pm
post #16 of 30

When I had my shop I did have such a clause and it didn't stop 2 (that I know of) people having other cake(s) at the reception.
One case - the bride came for consultation like 8 months ahead; was told/given info re other vendors. She didn't order. Just something like 10 days before wedding she comes in and orders a very small 2 tier cake. I knew I had seen her before but it didn't click who she was. I did the cake. When I delivered it there were sheet cakes from WalMart sitting on the cake table and in the kitchen! I still left mine = oh well, so much for contract clauses.

Case 2: when I delivered this ccake some 30 miles from shop there was an oviously home made grooms cake sitting on the table. Again I didn't bother not leaving the wedding cake.

On the tv programs (Amazing cakes?) Christopher Gerrin(sp?) has had several grooms cakes featured where it was said the bride's cake was being done by someone else. If someone of his quality/fame/talent can allow other vendors maybe we should not be so concerned about it.

Chef_Stef Posted 30 Apr 2011 , 5:21pm
post #17 of 30

I get the idea of all of this. And yes, I know bakers who will freak OUT, as in "don't you DARE have another cake at this event", but.....really??? How's that gonna go for you? Are you going to seriously show up with their cake, that they paid (for them) a small fortune for, see that there is a grocery store sheet cake there, and then LEAVE with their cake? I know I wouldn't. My reputation would suffer more from word getting around that I'm a hard-nosed cake maven who refused to deliver, AND kept the $, more than anything else.

Any bakers I've heard of who act that way, are losing business because of their harsh attitude. I hear about it because the brides have already met with them, and obviously didn't book with them because here they are, in my shop, telling me the story.

I don't like the idea, but honestly I know the guests aren't going to mistake the crisco gunk (yes gunk) iced generic single layer random unnamed grocery store cake as mine. They look different, they obviously taste different. No guest, who sees the cake I deliver, is going to get a piece of grocery store cake and wonder if it came from my cake; it's pretty obvious.

Here is the way I address this at my consults, almost word for word, when we're discussing budget, sheet cakes, and other combinations of options.

"Sheet cakes are a popular option to save money, in terms of wedding cake; and I'm all for you doing that. The people who cut your cake will also tell you it's very convenient for THEM, faster, easier, whatever. I know that brides will often get a small *fancy* cake from a custom baker like myself, and then have mom bring grocery store sheet cakes, or whatever. It's your money; you can spend it however you want. BUT, I have to ask you this: When your guests line up for dessert, how are you going to decide who gets that first 75 servings of pink champagne cake filled with strawberry mousse and imported chocolate ganache, and who gets the grocery store cake??? Is there someone with a clipboard at the front of the line, flipping through the pages as guests file past-- 'Name please? Jones? What gift did you bring? Oh...ok--you're in the Costco line.' Which hundred guests get the *other* cake??"

It makes them laugh, but it also gets them thinking about the reality of this. The guests see my cake. They expect to get a piece. They will think the bride cheaped out if they are then served a piece of anything that doesn't resemble the displayed cake, or at least that they are part of an extraneous group of guests whose number wasn't accounted for when the "good" food was ordered.

I had a cake last weekend, where they had posted the menu of cake flavors and had such an overwhelming response with guests asking about the 6" tier flavor and requesting it, that she ordered a second, separate 6" tier of that flavor, just so they'd have more of it. I decorated it very sparingly to match the main cake, just enough so that everyone who got a piece would feel like it came from the main cake. I also gave her quite a deal on it, since I had the batter and filling already from the first 6" tier, AND she'd spent over $650 on her 3-tiered cake, so it was almost a gift, and she loved me for it. icon_smile.gif

I always try to find a way to make sure they get all their cake from me, but I understand that they may not, and there may not be a way for me to know that.

And as far as getting actually sick from eating cake...I can't imagine that happening, really. Seriously? It's CAKE. If it's baked and frosted and remotely fresh, how on earth do you get sick from cake?? What about the canapes, the meatballs, the chicken satay, the dairy-based veg dip, the fresh cut fruit, the... sorry...I digress.

*off soap box now*

jason_kraft Posted 30 Apr 2011 , 5:45pm
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef_Stef

And as far as getting actually sick from eating cake...I can't imagine that happening, really. Seriously? It's CAKE. If it's baked and frosted and remotely fresh, how on earth do you get sick from cake??



Aside from food allergies, the biggest risk is probably salmonella. There was a salmonella outbreak late last year, and another pastry chef we were working with had to remake a cake because it turned out he had used eggs that were in the recall.

LindaF144a Posted 30 Apr 2011 , 11:20pm
post #19 of 30

http://www.eggsaladgourmet.com/avoid_salmonellosis.html

If the eggs were in the cake, he wasted his time remaking the cake. As cake gets to a higher temperature than 160. And as for frosting, if you make a SMBC, you should be cooking your sugar/egg white concoction to 160.

Still it is better safe than sorry. However, we have absolutely no guarantee that every egg we use is safe, so cooking it to 160 is the best answer.

jason_kraft Posted 1 May 2011 , 1:05am
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

http://www.eggsaladgourmet.com/avoid_salmonellosis.html

If the eggs were in the cake, he wasted his time remaking the cake. As cake gets to a higher temperature than 160. And as for frosting, if you make a SMBC, you should be cooking your sugar/egg white concoction to 160.

Still it is better safe than sorry. However, we have absolutely no guarantee that every egg we use is safe, so cooking it to 160 is the best answer.



In this case the pastry chef used a meringue recipe for frosting...not sure exactly which recipe he used but he obviously didn't feel comfortable serving the cake with potentially tainted eggs in the meringue.

That is a good point about the temperature though, salmonella is not a concern for cooked cake.

CakeDiva101 Posted 1 May 2011 , 1:35am
post #21 of 30

I want to thank you all that replied. Many good points and good ideas in how to handle it. It is defenitely a grey area and for now I will leave out of my website and address each occurrence on a case to case basis.
thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 1 May 2011 , 12:56pm
post #22 of 30

My post is going to be similar to Chef_Stef's. I'm sitting here on Sunday morning, during hubby and my Sunday Morning Coffee and News Show time, sharing this particular story with him. He is asking what most ask other bakers: "How did you handle that?"

I believe the key is in how its handled during the consultation. I used humor, like Stef, to make a point, but I also then got serious and explained, "Its for reputation protection and a liablity protection." I share 2-3 stories that illustrate why its an issue ..... dont' want people thinking the walmart cake is my cake; dont' want to be sued because no one wants to sue aunt sally who poisened them with cream cheese icing that was in her trunk all afternoon or because they found dog hairs in cousin bertie's cake; the true story about the caterer who lost her home and her business because of a potato salad that she didnt' make .....

Once I share those stories, I conclude with, "See, its not because we're greedy and want ALL of your cake money. There are real issues .... legal issues .... that we have to protect ourselves from." I can safely say that every bride totally understood after it was explained to them.

I also frequently made exceptions, and I'd alter the contract to allow the exception, "as discussed and agreed....."

This is a good illustration of something I discuss frequently on here ..... part of our job is to educate our client. from my article in the Aug 2010 issue of CC magz, here is what my wedding planner said about cake bakers and educating the bride,:

A baker who, as described by Sara, is a wedding cake baker versus a cake baker is a distinction she also looks for. Its like the difference between being a corporate planner and a wedding planner. I look for someone who understands weddings, not just someone who can bake a cake.

Her cake person should be willing to educate brides about their product without degrading them. Know your business and be able to share that knowledge, she advises.

Chef_Stef Posted 2 May 2011 , 4:20am
post #23 of 30

I love you, Deb....! icon_smile.gif

carmijok Posted 2 May 2011 , 4:41am
post #24 of 30

Well I never even thought of this as an issue! The bakery I worked for used to make cakeballs all the time for events where other cakes were supplied. Or sometimes they would do the groom's cake.

I myself was asked to make a groom's cake at the very last minute by the friend of the groom who was supposed to be making his own groom's cake. It was not going well (to say the least) and they called me so I did it and a torted sheet cake along with it. When I delivered it, the wedding cake was already in place so I don't know if that was an issue with that particular baker or not. I did hear that people liked the groom's cake better than the wedding cake, so maybe the wedding cake baker got the kudos instead of me! icon_lol.gif

jules5000 Posted 2 May 2011 , 5:25am
post #25 of 30

In these economic times you certainly do not want to be thought of as hard-nosed and being unwilling to be flexible,but I think that #1 it is pretty obvious which is the real cake and the bakery cake and which one people are going to prefer. #2 I think that if you let them know why you would prefer them get the whole thing from you and explain it in a very knowledgeable way that they will understand it. #3 And I also agree that it doesn't hurt to give them an example of how are you going to decide who gets part of the great cake(expensive one) and who gets the cheap one? I think that they will also understand. But I do believe that as cake decorators that we need to be willing to possibly go the extra mile for them and help them figure out a way that they can get the whole deal from us. If someone was going to buy a $650.00 cake and needed a couple of sheet cakes just to make sure they had enough I would think that that would still be very reasonable to either give them the two sheet cakes for all they are spending or give them a great deal on it. Because they already know that your cake is going to taste better anyway. That is why they came to you in the first place. Even if you know they are very well off and can afford it why treat them differently just because they have money. If I had a well to do customer I would want to go out of my way for them just like anyone else. If you please them who knows who else might be coming to you for future business?. GOOd LUCK!!

Baker_Rose Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:58pm
post #26 of 30

I personally supply sheet cakes when they are asked for. I can whip out sheets with my eyes closed practically and that way they are the same as the main cake, two or three layers to match. I score the tops and place a small decoration to match the cake. It's economical for them, quick for me, and they don't have to serve crap grocery store cake.

The kitchen loves them because they can be cutting and plating that cake while the main cake is being cut and the cake comes out of the kitchen faster. Win win. The scoring makes cutting easier just follow the lines.

Tami icon_smile.gif

LindaF144a Posted 3 May 2011 , 4:13pm
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose

I personally supply sheet cakes when they are asked for. I can whip out sheets with my eyes closed practically and that way they are the same as the main cake, two or three layers to match. I score the tops and place a small decoration to match the cake. It's economical for them, quick for me, and they don't have to serve crap grocery store cake.

The kitchen loves them because they can be cutting and plating that cake while the main cake is being cut and the cake comes out of the kitchen faster. Win win. The scoring makes cutting easier just follow the lines.

Tami icon_smile.gif




Here is a rookie question:

When you are talking sheet cakes, are you using the 18x26 sheet cake pan with the 1" lip, or are you using a larger 2" deep sheet cake pan. I have seen both used, but was wondering what you use for weddings.

Baker_Rose Posted 3 May 2011 , 4:25pm
post #28 of 30

When I worked for a caterer's bakery I would use the classic sheet pan and place a fiberglass edge inside to make a sheet cake BUT that was a large commercial oven.

At home I use the 9x13 - 11x15 - or 12x18 2-inch deep pans. I then place the cakes on covered boards and stack them two thick or three thinner layers, just like the wedding cake. I fill, frost etc just like any other cake, but I then lay my knife along the top to "score" the icing so they have a cutting guide. It takes some practice, I can now do it by eye with accuracy. But a clear quilters ruler comes in handy!! Then I decorate each "slice" on the top with something that goes with the theme of the wedding. I did a daisy wedding cake one time and the sheets had a little piped royal icing daisy that I placed on the sheets with a small green buttercream leaf.

I call these "kitchen" cakes, but I have also heard the term "house" cakes used as well. It's extra servings that are the same as the main cake. I know many on here seem to steer away from sheet cakes, but they are easy to handle for the customer, so I get a lot of requests. I'm not turning away business because people are more comfortable with sheet cakes. I make a da-- good sheet cake that cuts just like any other cake!!

Tami icon_smile.gif

jenmat Posted 3 May 2011 , 4:54pm
post #29 of 30

I too offer sheet cakes, called kitchen cakes because while they are layered just like a tiered cake, they are iced plain and cut in the kitchen. So there is no reason not to go with me for the entire thing. I also offer 3D groom's cakes.

I honestly don't have a lot of competition in this area for what I do (fondant, modern, 3D carving), so I know I can easily have that clause in there and most brides say, well I'm not going anywhere else anyway, so that's fine. I'm not bragging, I'm not that good, its just that there aren't that many places that offer that (fairly) clean look and other icings rather than just american buttercream.

The reason I have it in there is so brides don't take up a spot in June, order a $200 cake and then go to a big box store and get 200 servings of sheet cake. OR they make the rest of the cupcakes themselves and the cream inside or something makes everyone sick. Because I can tell you that I could have filled that June spot 5 times over. I'm not desperate for business right now.

Because of demand, if a bride came to me and said she wanted me to do her small cake and then can she go get sheet cakes somewhere else, I have NOOOO problem telling her to find another baker.

Its all in where you are and who you are marketing to. Because it is my goal to stay small, I don't HAVE to take every order. I try to keep each weekend to 3 weddings only, and so I need to make sure that the weddings I book will bring in as much revenue as they can. I'm not going to upsell necessarily, but if I know someone is that intent on a bare bones budget, there is always someone waiting in the wings to take that spot. There are plenty of regular bakeries for the budget bride to go to, and I applaud them for doing so.

So I guess you need to know your market and how this clause may affect your business. I know I'm blessed to be where I am, and man am I thankful!

LindaF144a Posted 3 May 2011 , 7:26pm
post #30 of 30

Thanks for the info, good to know.

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