Bridal Show: Help With Offering Discount

Business By pinkpiggie78 Updated 7 Sep 2011 , 4:48pm by pinkpiggie78

pinkpiggie78 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 11:48am
post #1 of 37

I am doing my third bridal show this weekend, and while I get a lot of business from them, I am trying to figure out a way to reduce the number of cake tasting appointments I get from them. Tastings take up at least 2 hours of my time, and with a preschooler and a toddler at home with me, I really hate doing them.

Anyway, I have contemplated offering a discount to the brides that I meet at the show and forgo the "personal tasting". I bring 4 different cake flavors to the show, a slide show, some dummies, etc. All my samples are packaged and suggest that brides take a sample or two home for their fiance to taste. I even provide small paper bags to put them in! It's a small show, under 200 brides, so there typically is time for us to chat a bit.

I guess my question is... is this a good idea? Anyone have ideas as how I could advertise this at the show?

36 replies
AmysCakesNCandies Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 11:58am
post #2 of 37

I was going yo suggest having postcards printed, but then just realized that its this weekend. Since its a small show your could just verbally offer the discount as you talk with the brides.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 12:03pm
post #3 of 37

I thought about making tent cards to put on my table, but I want to make sure that they know the discount is for those and only those that forgo the tasting... I thought about saying book today and get a discount, but then I figured they would assume they were getting another tasting as part of that icon_sad.gif

julzs71 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 12:08pm
post #4 of 37

Have them book by the end of the weekend and forgo the tasting for the discount. When they book just make sure they know they will not be doing a tasting. If they really want to taste the cake again then they can order a cake.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 12:11pm
post #5 of 37

If you have a Staples near your or a FedEx/Kinkos you could get post cards printed today if you wanted to.

Have it state that this discount is for those who choose to forgo the tasting. Make up some snappy name if you can.

What are you giving as a discount? You don't want it to be too much, but enough to make them feel it's worth it.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 12:15pm
post #6 of 37

I was planning on doing a 10-15% discount of wedding cakes serving 50 or more. My custom cakes are about the same price as the "budget" cakes at the two major players in the area, so I don't want to give away too much...

lilmissbakesalot Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 7:34pm
post #7 of 37

That means it's time to up your prices!! icon_biggrin.gif

If you have bargain prices then do no more than 10%... you don't want to lose out on more money.

icon_smile.gif

pinkpiggie78 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 9:09pm
post #8 of 37

My pricing is a whole different issue. I do buttercream (and fondant), the main shops only do fondant. I have 3 yrs experience, they have 15-20+ years experience, one is all organic, etc. I did just up my prices, so the discount should get them back to pretty close to where they were.

costumeczar Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 1:29am
post #9 of 37

Regardless of what you do, they'll still want to do a tasting or meet with you to plan their cake. You need to be super-specific if you don't want to have to meet with them in person at all. Maybe word it like an "online planning discount" where it's clear that you'll do all your design meetings etc online, not in person. That might actually appeal to a lot of people, especially if they've tasted the cake at the show, but you need to make sure they know that it they want to meet in person they'll lose that discount.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 2:42am
post #10 of 37

I like the "on-line planning" discount phrasing.... might have to use that!!! Thanks costumeczar!

pinkpiggie78 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 5:42pm
post #11 of 37

I have decided to give this a shot at next January's bridal show (I never did it for the one in June). What stipulations should I put on it? I have that the coupon must be surrendered with the deposit, the offer is only valid with the coupon, coupon is not valid with existing orders, and an expiration date. I also have a minimum number of servings that need to be purchased before they can get a discount. Did I miss anything?

cai0311 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 6:08pm
post #12 of 37

I don't think the discount is going to as popular as you are hoping since the bride only gets it by skipping the consultation. When I was planning my wedding, I would not have gone for this. I would rather have paid the 10% more and talked, face to face, with my baker.

I offered (I quit offering the deal this year) a 20% discount for brides that didn't require a consultation and had all the tiers the same flavor/filling. Only 1 bride ever took me up on my offer.

You could offer a discount for brides that skip the consultation (I think it is going to have to a hefty discount to get anyone to go for this and I think the designing of the cake could get frustating trying to figure it all out over the phone/email).

Or, you could have like 5 pictures of simple cakes you have done and offer a discount to any bride that skips the consultation and picks one of the pre-selected designs (this would elminate design questions and time).

Maybe offer a discount for anyone willing to skip a private tasting and only have a design consultation.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 6:44pm
post #13 of 37

Thanks for that perspective cai0311. I didn't get to design my wedding cake (it was included with the catering and a standard design), and we just handed the topper to the baker for the groom's cake.

I guess I figure if they can see my portfolio (online and example cakes at the show), taste my cake at the show, chat with me a bit at the show, and have a design in mind, what else couldn't be decided over the phone/email? This year I booked at least 5 wedding cakes without a tasting/consult and was hoping to increase that number.

jenng1482 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 7:22pm
post #14 of 37

I have changed my discount strategy from a percentage to a certain number of FREE servings. I find that this workes out better financially for me and the brides love getting free stuff!

I charge $2.00 per serving

For example on a 200 serving cake:
200 x $2.00 = $400
- 10% = $40 (cost to baker $40)
= $360 (cost to bride)

200 x $2.00 = $400
- 20 servings free = $40 (cost to baker ~ about $2icon_cool.gif
= $360 (cost to bride)

For example on a 300 serving cake:
300 x $2.00 = $600
- 10% = $60 (cost to baker $60)
= $540 (cost to bride)

300 x $2.00 = $600
- 20 servings free = $40 (cost to baker ~ about $2icon_cool.gif
= $560 (cost to bride)

A definate percentage off is a definate amount of money out of our pockets. Because the servings dont actually cost us (the baker) $2, we are making more money after expenses and the clients view it serving some of their guests for free.

costumeczar Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 7:30pm
post #15 of 37

I have to question the math here. I don't know where in the universe 20 servings of cake costs $2 to the baker to make. What figures are you using to get this?

jenng1482 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 7:46pm
post #16 of 37

I charge $2.00 per serving to the customer. I had estimated that 20 servings costs the baker about 12 dollars ( about $0.60) for me. For some reason in my post it changed the $12 to a 2 and a emotiocon. My point is, it costs the baker less to give a number of servings away than a $$ or % discount.

cai0311 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 7:51pm
post #17 of 37

If they have an idea of what they want. I send in an email to anyone setting up a consultation to bring with them pictures of cakes they like to give me an idea of what appeals to them. I still get brides that come in and say "I don't have any pictures because I have never looked at wedding cakes before". Then when they go through all the books and magazines I have they are overwhelmed by the possiblities.
Why people come to a Cake meeting without ever looking at cakes is beyond me - but they do.

Having one of those brides want to skip the consultation would be very frustrating to me because it is hard to communicate all the options through email (and even on the phone). To me, that type of bride needs to have a design consultation because I know how to narrow down options, what questions to ask...I think it is easier in person.

cakesbycathy Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 8:32pm
post #18 of 37

I don't think the whole "skip the tasting, do everything on line" thing is going to appeal to too many brides. There will be some who will like the convienence of it, sure. But the majority of brides want the experience of sitting down and tasting some cake and designing their cake. It's just more personal.

Even if you offered a discount, IMO it would have to be a pretty hefty one for it to be attractive. You could lose a lot of money that way.

Plus, you are going to be spending a whole lot of time going back and forth over emails. It might take you longer in the end than if you just sat down for 2 hours and got the whole thing over with.

I have 3 kids and I do tastings at my home so I totally get the amount of work that's involved. If it's a case of trying to bake and get the house clean and deal with the kids maybe you are better off just getting a sitter and meeting with brides at a coffee shop or something. Or maybe having group tastings once or twice a month.

costumeczar Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 8:32pm
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenng1482

I charge $2.00 per serving to the customer. I had estimated that 20 servings costs the baker about 12 dollars ( about $0.60) for me. For some reason in my post it changed the $12 to a 2 and a emotiocon. My point is, it costs the baker less to give a number of servings away than a $$ or % discount.




Ahha, that makes a lot more sense then.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 8:35pm
post #20 of 37

I get those brides too cai0311... it floors me that brides come to a tasting/consult with nothing in mind... not even round vs square, colors, design direction, etc.

I guess I was thinking that these sort of brides would want the consultation... maybe I could work in something about I have the right to request an in-person consult? I am just trying to do come up with something to get rid of some of the tastings/consults for those that have a picture/sketch of what they want, have tried the cake, talked with me etc. I am definitely open to other tactics/ideas...

jenmat Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 8:58pm
post #21 of 37

This has been my experience:
Because its a wedding, brides are on a budget, but if they have to forgo the royal treatment, they will adjust their budget vrs giving up the experience.
I have had people taste cake at a bridal show, and then ask to taste THE SAME EXACT CAKE at their tasting. They want the experience, this is THEIR day, and this is the ONLY time they get to be the bride. So unless you get some bargain hunters who only intended on a 2 tier and sheet cakes, you probably won't get much.
I hate tastings more than cleaning my toilets, but I've come to realize it doesn't matter, its just part of the job. You could cluster them and get a sitter for one day a week and just punch out tastings every 45 minutes. At least that would help your sanity.
My problem has always been that brides not only want a tasting a year out, but then they want to have a separate design appointment when they are ready to design their cake. I was sick of this, so I came up with this solution:

For bridal shows, what I have done is offer .10 per serving discount show special that expires anywhere from 2 weeks to a month after the show. I only have so many tasting spots, so the majority of brides who want to take advantage of the discount have to book before the tasting. They will then get a tasting and a consult on the same evening, about 4 months before the wedding and saves me time because I only have to do one consult vrs a tasting then a design consult later.

I also make sure that when I decide on pricing adjustments I mark up all my servings $.10 from where I want them to be.

For me this reduced my double meetings by at least 75%.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 9:42pm
post #22 of 37

You are all dream crushers!!! icon_smile.gif

Alright... maybe I should scrap the idea... I hate tastings and was trying to get out of some of them... I do schedule them back to back and I now have an office I can use for them, but I would still like to lessen them... back to the drawing board... Thanks everyone!

elliespartycake Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:05pm
post #23 of 37

I like tasting/consults. It allows me to connect with my clients and really understand what they want/ need. It also allows me to brainstorm with them if the design they have in mind is too far from their budget amount. The bonding experience is so important to many prospective brides and I always feel that if I meet with them...I usually get the biz. Just my experience.

Annabakescakes Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:38pm
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

You are all dream crushers!!! icon_smile.gif

Alright... maybe I should scrap the idea... I hate tastings and was trying to get out of some of them... I do schedule them back to back and I now have an office I can use for them, but I would still like to lessen them... back to the drawing board... Thanks everyone!




Just my 2 cents, but I have done about 30 wedding cakes (just got legal) in the past 2 years, and I have had 3 tastings, and 3 consultations face to face. The rest have been phone and internet, so I know there are brides willing to that, and a lot of them!

It may make a difference that I have never advertised, done a wedding show, passed out cards...nothing! ALL of my business has been word of mouth or the bride attended a wedding, shower, birthday, or graduation where I did the cake, and they saw it, ate it and loved it! Then they saw other cakes I have done on my personal page and they trusted me enough on their big day.

I did a baby shower cake as a gift for a friend and she had a friend of her mothers there and her daughter. The daughter said, "when I have a bay, I want her to do it"....3 years later....(last year) the lady found me, I did the cake and I have done over a dozen cakes for her co-workers, their families, and friends.

So, the point is, just try it! And maybe you can also think of a word-of-mouth advertisement and discount. I know Indydebi had something going on her site...but she doesn't have one anymore...INDY!!! Can you explain it to us???

Annabakescakes Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:38pm
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

You are all dream crushers!!! icon_smile.gif

Alright... maybe I should scrap the idea... I hate tastings and was trying to get out of some of them... I do schedule them back to back and I now have an office I can use for them, but I would still like to lessen them... back to the drawing board... Thanks everyone!




Just my 2 cents, but I have done about 30 wedding cakes (just got legal) in the past 2 years, and I have had 3 tastings, and 3 consultations face to face. The rest have been phone and internet, so I know there are brides willing to that, and a lot of them!

It may make a difference that I have never advertised, done a wedding show, passed out cards...nothing! ALL of my business has been word of mouth or the bride attended a wedding, shower, birthday, or graduation where I did the cake, and they saw it, ate it and loved it! Then they saw other cakes I have done on my personal page and they trusted me enough on their big day.

I did a baby shower cake as a gift for a friend and she had a friend of her mothers there and her daughter. The daughter said, "when I have a bay, I want her to do it"....3 years later....(last year) the lady found me, I did the cake and I have done over a dozen cakes for her co-workers, their families, and friends.

So, the point is, just try it! And maybe you can also think of a word-of-mouth advertisement and discount. I know Indydebi had something going on her site...but she doesn't have one anymore...INDY!!! Can you explain it to us???

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:47pm
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

I am doing my third bridal show this weekend, and while I get a lot of business from them, I am trying to figure out a way to reduce the number of cake tasting appointments I get from them.


Lol...two pages of replies, and no one has suggested a group tasting yet? You tell them you are hosting a group tasting just for those very special little bridies from the show (whether they are the only ones allowed or not, whatever) on a certain date, at certain times throughout the day. Have them pick a time, and you only have to bake and prep fillings one time. Get a babysitter for a few hours, or whatever and you're done. Bam, problem solved.

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:49pm
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

and while I get a lot of business from them,


And if this is true, you don't need to offer discounts, right?

pinkpiggie78 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 11:22pm
post #28 of 37

I work from my inspected home, and the office I started borrowing is too small for group tastings.

And no, I don't need to give the discount... just trying to give an incentive to reduce the number of tastings when they already tried my cake.

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 11:28pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

I work from my inspected home, and the office I started borrowing is too small for group tastings.

And no, I don't need to give the discount... just trying to give an incentive to reduce the number of tastings when they already tried my cake.


Bummer.

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 11:32pm
post #30 of 37

Well, you can still do have them all over one day. 30 mins apart, I dunno. I have just not done a private tasting in so long, and I remember what a PITA they were. I have a small kid too, and a hubby trying to finish some serious schooling, so I try to interrupt them only a few times a year with any types of tasting appointments.

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