What To Say When Someone Asks You For Recipes?

Decorating By khadijah Updated 23 Sep 2011 , 7:13am by khadijah

khadijah Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 7:14pm
post #1 of 15

I'm mostly a hobby baker although I do take orders from time to time (you don't need to become legal where I live). People are beginning to get to know me and there are quite a few who ask for recipes.

I'm often at loss at what to say and usually give in. But now I'm trying to take this hobby to a professional level. Do I blatantly say NO? I can't imagine myself saying that.

14 replies
bobwonderbuns Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 7:30pm
post #2 of 15

"I'm sorry, we don't give out our recipes. I hope you understand." Period. Nobody's feelings need to get hurt.

coloradoflower Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 7:50pm
post #3 of 15

I have used the excuse of that the recipes I used are family recipes again most people will drop it at that.

BlakesCakes Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 7:56pm
post #4 of 15
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

"I'm sorry, we don't give out our recipes. I hope you understand." Period. Nobody's feelings need to get hurt.

That's pretty much my response, too.

Basically, if you want MY cake, then you come to me. If your friends want MY cake, then you send your friends to me.

I've spent the time, money, and energy getting my recipes to the point where I'm happy & confident with them. I can't just give that away and perhaps deprive myself of future clients.


QueDeeCakes Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 8:15pm
post #5 of 15

Just say that you are not at libery to violate your own personal trade secret policy...and then smile.

ApplegumPam Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 8:16pm
post #6 of 15

If you want to succees in any business there is one word you need to learn to say icon_biggrin.gif


Keeeeeeeppppp practicing thumbs_up.gif

There see - you didn't go up in a puff of smoke!!
The world is still turning !

bobwonderbuns Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 8:18pm
post #7 of 15

You know it is funny, occasionally I have a bride or bride's family member who has a tasting, likes the cake, approves it, THEN goes into the "now you're not going to make it with anything that has any preservatives in it" or something like that. I usually just laugh and tell them "you just tasted the cake didn't you. Did you not like it?? Because YOU just APPROVED it." But I DO NOT tell them the recipe. One time someone pushed me on it and I simply said "the last time someone insisted on knowing all the details of that recipe I came to find out they were in process of opening their own business. So I'm sure you can understand my reluctance to share that information. The cake you just had is the same cake recipe that will be used in your wedding cake." That usually appeases them. icon_biggrin.gif

Elcee Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 8:49pm
post #8 of 15

I'm not in business, and I do share some recipes, but some I don't. I usually just say "Oh, sure" and then never follow through. I've found that most people don't REALLY want the recipe; it's their way of giving you a compliment over and above a simple "this is delicious". Kind of like the people who say, you should open a restaurant, bakery, shop, take your pick. They don't really mean it, they are praising your abilities.

Many of the people who ask also never bake/cook from scratch and so would never use most of my recipes, even if I did give them out.

Many years ago I gave a recipe to a family member. Several years later, she made a "family favorite" cookbook and included the recipe as "hers". She had dumbed it down so much that it ended up being almost unrecognizable and I was grateful that my name wasn't assocoiated with it icon_wink.gif.

cakestyles Posted 18 Sep 2011 , 11:57pm
post #9 of 15

I tell them I don't share my business recipes.

scp1127 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 9:41am
post #10 of 15

I share all but my specialty recipes, and for them, I offer an alternative which I explain is not the same recipe, but is similar. Many of my recipes are rather involved and may not be successful to a less experienced baker. That is why I always have one on hand. I believe in making people happy and sharing. I'ts good business. If a person bakes, they are probably not a retail bakery customer in general. But with those I have shared a recipe or two, theye always seem to refer to me and to order from me. I have several blogs ready that are giving out recipes. I have shared every family recipe with details about technique. In the next six months, I will have about 15 recipes on my site of things I sell. Right now there are about six.

If you look at successful bakeries, many share their recipes and it come back to them in loyal customers, word-of-mouth, and just general goodwill. I am confident in my baking skills and don't mind sharing.

The ones I don't share are Bailey's, Coconut, Boston Cream Pie, Banana Mocha... anything where the average baker would have a high failure rate. I am a scratch baker and my competitors are not. And again, I have confidence in my method and my very expensive ingredients to not be duplicated professionally in the local market.

I share all of my recipes in pm's to CC members, with specific instructions.

I owned a marketing company for years and preached to my clients to be generous and to give back to the community and to their clients. Twenty years later and long after I changed careers to construction, many of my former clients are still keeping up the practice.

It works for me. And for all of the pros who share. Just like with anything else in life... if you give, you will receive. Look at how many times any retailer or service business has given to you and you returned it with loyalty to that business. You also referred your friends. My tire place has taken out about four screws for free on no notice in my very expensive tires. I would never go anywhere else for tire purchases. We could have a thread 20 pages long on good deeds by businesses... you get my point. There are so many recipes out there that giving out your recipe is not going to hurt your business. Only a few bakeries are that important... and they have book deals!!! Do you think those books hurt business? No, they increased business and put those tiny bakeries on a national map and made them household words in our industry.

If it weren't for sharing, CC wouldn't be a viable site. Do you really think YOUR competitors are not on here? Most of you link your sites. And some of your customers are lurkers.

scp1127 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 9:48am
post #11 of 15

A quick example. Look at the current thread about the scratch champagne cake. Snarkybaker shared this recipe on this worldwide forum. My daughter is looking at NC State this fall and while I'm in the area, I will visit her bakery. I'm several states away, but you never know when sharing comes back to you.

TexasSugar Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 2:46pm
post #12 of 15

If it is a recipe you have spent a lot of money and time tweaking, then I'd give them one of the simple replies above about not sharing a recipe.

If it is a recipe you got off line that anyone can google, then I'd just suggest the site where you found the recipe. That way they can find it for themselves, and you aren't really giving out any trade secrets since the recipe is already out there for the world to see.

cakestyles Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 5:29pm
post #13 of 15

Strangely only half of my post posted above. icon_confused.gif

I usually refer them to some good recipes that I've used or tweaked on either epicurious or allrecipe.com.

I think offering them some input is much better than flat out saying no.

snowshoe1 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 8:09pm
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by cakestyles

Strangely only half of my post posted above. icon_confused.gif

I usually refer them to some good recipes that I've used or tweaked on either epicurious or allrecipe.com.

I think offering them some input is much better than flat out saying no.

Pretty much the same here. One of my main issues about giving out recipes besides how much I've worked on tweeking my own, is many people don't know how to use various mixing techniques properly; then if they screw it up its my reputation.

khadijah Posted 23 Sep 2011 , 7:13am
post #15 of 15

Thanks for the input guys! I told the lady the exact same thing bobwonderbuns suggested and it wasn't that difficult after all. But I think now I'll go with giving them some sort of reference to where I get most recipes from.

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