Im So Upset.cake Was Amazing But ..not Sure How To Handle..

Decorating By labmom Updated 15 Dec 2011 , 7:47pm by Apti

labmom Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:00pm
post #1 of 21

I am so upset... I was ask to provide a cake for a 90th birthday celebration this past weekend. I was so excited because these are wonderful people and I have provided many cakes for special occasions.
They ordered a cake to serve aporox. 60 people. I provided a 10" round chocolate fudge covered in ganache which was to be cut in the kitchen.... not for display. And a Decorated birthday cake..georgeous..
a 10" & 8" tiered lemon and white cake with lemon and strawberry fillings covered in buttercream.. they both came out so nice. I hope to post soon.
But here is the problem.. we were invited to attend this party and when it came time to cut the cake they brought the chocolate cake slices out and placed on the desert table and took the "birthday" cake into the kitchen to cut that cake as well... my husband went to get desert for our table (they all wanted chocolate) and I couldn't believe how huge they were cutting the slices.... I couldn't breath... I didn't know what to do... Not that they were thick slices.. no they were thin but they were huge like they cut the 10" in half and then cut 1/2 inch thick slices some thicker... there is no way that they had near enough cake for this party... I bet they only had maybe 40 slices total of cake... I was using wedding cake normal cake cutting sizes so they should have had at least around 90 servings. I think the reason that no one noticed is because it was such a busy everyone talking and visiting with each other to go at one time to get cake. No one knew who had cake and who didn't unless you were sitting there watching like I was. This is a professional hall... with 3 dinnig rooms and I have delivered wedding cake here. I know that they handle many weddings and elegant parties. I think that they should tell the clients how they cut there deserts. I have had complaints about the cakes delivered here not serving all the guests prior to this.. I thought that the hall or someone had "taken" a kitchen cake or something.
I know now that it was not my fault.. it is the way that this hall cuts there deserts, wedding or no wedding. Just what they do...
I know that I will be doing cakes again for this venu...I will need to double the amount of cake to supply for that event. Either at my cost or try to convince the client they need more cake.. how do I do this without down talking the venu, or looking like I am trying to rip off a person.

And should I offer some kind of refund on this cake fiasco this weekend. I am sure that they will not take it because I know them but I am horrified over what happened... and don't want anyone thinking that I messed or delibertly didn't supply enough cake. No one is going to want to pay for extra cake.
I thought that in the future if I perhaps explain how they cut the deserts to the client that they will at least be aware...but again the option of having to buy more cake than necessary??
What would you do... I just feel horrible... Cake was amazing but I feel horrible...

20 replies
CarolLee Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:35pm
post #2 of 21

It seems to me (IMHO), many people who host parties do not understand our "serving" numbers and they just tend to cut away - like you were at home at a small casual gathering! I never assume they understand the serving size is to be a 1" slice. Of course, because of this, I tend to over-do! But I'd rather have too much than run out.

What does everyone else do about this??

CalhounsCakery Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:47pm
post #3 of 21

I wouldn't offer any sort of refund. This had nothing to do with you. You could explain that you had made the cake based on industry standard sizes, however some locations, like this hall, serve differently. Had you known before hand, you could have worked with the client/hall to ensure that there would be enough cake. That doesn't indicate that anyone was wrong, just different approaches to cutting.

For future orders, I would say the same thing to your clients. This is how many servings that your cake will serve based on industry standards. However you are aware that some locations cut differently, and this hall happens to be one of them. The client can than decide if they would like to order extra cake, or instruct the hall to cut differently for thier event. No bashing, very professional, and you leave the choice up to the client.

Kiddiekakes Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:47pm
post #4 of 21

You can't be responsible for how a venue cuts and serves the cake...There is also no way that you should have to bake double (Probably at your expense) everytime you do a cake for this venue just because they DON'T know how to cut a proper serving....But I think it is worth talking to the manager/kitchen staff etc and maybe educating or showing or at the very least finding out if they do know how to cut a cake properly.I realize it makes you look bad by not supplying enough cake but the fault lies with the venue.Talk to the manager forsure..I would offer an apology to your friend if she makes a comment or asks for partial refund but I would also tell her what happened too...I'm sure she will understand!!

melanie-1221 Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:57pm
post #5 of 21

I had this happen to me at a party that I made the cake for and also attended. As soon as I saw the servers coming around with the sliced cake I freaked out. I couldn't believe the size of the slices and feared there was no way everyone was going to get a piece.
Fortunately I did have enough extra cake , and between that and people that did not eat cake I was ok.
As not to get the customer involved I contacted the restaurant and explained my concerns ( very nicely ) , and they apologized and agreed to re-train their staff on cake serving. This is a very nice restaurant, that does many, many banquets.
I figured they don't order cakes from me directly so if I upset them at least I would not lose a client, and I don't want to put my clients in the middle of this issue.
I also do not want to have to make extra cake at my expense or the clients due to the fact the servers were not properly trained in cake cutting.
If possible, I suggest you contact the facility and talk with their banquet manager about your concerns.

metria Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 6:58pm
post #6 of 21
Originally Posted by labmom

I know that I will be doing cakes again for this venu...I will need to double the amount of cake to supply for that event. Either at my cost or try to convince the client they need more cake.. how do I do this without down talking the venu, or looking like I am trying to rip off a person.

You and your client need to have an understanding of what you are selling them, regardless of how the venue handles it. If the venue does something wrong, that's between them and your client.

Always inform your client of how you price your cakes (whether it be by serving or whatever). You can show them an example of the dimensions of your servings (e.g. a piece of foam or wood cut to that size). If they want more, they pay more. Do not do this out of pocket for any reason.

If need be, warn them about how this venue cuts their slices. You are not responsible for how the cake is cut. You are only responsible for supplying the volume (i.e. your indicated amount of servings) that was paid for.

I'm very sorry this has happened to you. You don't need to talk down the venue, just inform your customer of your experience.

jayniebug Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 7:00pm
post #7 of 21

I have been doing a lot of research in preparation for opening my own business. The best advice I have found was to ALWAYS include a cutting chart with each delivery. That way they will know that in order to have the number of servings you have planned, they can just follow the chart. If on the other hand they choose to cut the cake differently, you are not responsible for them running out of cake.

jenmat Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 7:30pm
post #8 of 21

I tend to have the exact opposite problem- the hall cuts it like a Scrooge and then they have all this left over cake. In the end, you can't control what another business does, you can only prepare for it.

I always include a flavor and serving list for wedding cakes. This gives serving sizes and the amount in bold letters, and I find many of the venues that I serve actually love that I do this, and will actually come over and get it from me, so they know what they are dealing with. I've never included a cutting guide, because I know each hall has their own way of doing it and I don't want to be insulting, but at least there is some communication between me and the staff on what exactly I have given them.

Some venues will have the event coordinator, chef, or other authority cut the cake, but there are those others that use the dishwashing/prep staff, which are usually young people who may lack in experience. At least that is what I see up here.

In this situation, all you can do is inform your brides in advance. Those Scrooge halls I deal with always get taken care of in my initial consult- either the bride orders less, or she goes to the event coordinator and tells them how she wants her cake cut. Brides are much better at getting what they want than I could be if I called the venue myself!

labmom Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 8:59pm
post #9 of 21

I agree with all your coments.. Each banquet area of this hall has its own director and I dont know if they have any idea how a cake should be cut. They did manage to get me my equipment back. she first brought me one plate and one pillar.... my puzzled look let her know that there should be 3 more of the pillars... when I explained that they were support pieces... she went dumpster diving to find the other 3.

I find today that the event planner for the facility wants to have my name and information for future events when the people are in need of deserts, or wedding or specialty cakes. So that they can refer me, or order from me. I think that will give me the chance to go over the cake cutting serving sizes as to what they need/want and the additional cost because of the serving sizes.

will keep you informed... still need to speak with my client. She will be dropping off a check in the next few days. (no I don't do this for everyone.. but I have done about 15 yrs of cakes cupcakes and deserts for these people. More than the average person. Cakes for dinners, parties, weddings as gifts, or just to eat... they are always ordering something.. and they always over pay by about 20 or more dollars than on the bill that I present to them. I didn't want to bother her at the party to find her check book and because of the distance they live from me...I let her drop off or mail me payments. which ever is easiest for them.

sillywabbitz Posted 13 Dec 2011 , 9:47pm
post #10 of 21

Indydebi's cake cutting guide is great to include with delivery.

I also like this cake cutting guide for customers because it shows how different ways to cut the cake has a profound impact on the number of servings.

labmom Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 3:12am
post #11 of 21

the way they sliced this cake was instead of the 4high/1wide/2 in.. was instead 4 high/ 1 wide and 4 into the cake.. (or middle of the cake..).. nice large slices... but not when you want to serve twice as many people.

no contact yet from the client... won't see her until saturday. still feel horrible.

ShandraB Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 4:00am
post #12 of 21

I agree about including a cutting guide, that way they can use it or ignore it, it's up to them. I also type out individualized instructions on how to dismantle all tiered cakes because I find that many employees get confused about the different systems.

I once had a venue explain to me that they only sliced and served edge pieces because they looked nice. They "wouldn't serve" the inner slices. icon_eek.gif This was on a tiered cake with a 16" bottom tier. They really didn't seem to understand the problem - and this was a country club that does a lot of weddings. I went round and round with them to make them understand that they would not have enough cake for the guests doing that, but ultimately it was up to them. Can you imagine running out of cake at your wedding and all that leftover cake in the kitchen? Ugh!

FromScratchSF Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:01am
post #13 of 21

Refund or discount? Uh, no. Super duper no way. Not your problem. I would have words with the kitchen staff or venue person and offer t give them a cutting guide.

I have so far been surprised that a lot of the venues I've delivered to actually have zero idea how to serve a wedding cake. I have only had one person turn down my cutting guide. Everyone else has been appreciative. I get the impression nobody likes cutting the wedding cake up and they all try to cut it in wedges and circles - I've had a few people practically hug me when I hand them a chart showing them how to cut on the straight line.

So yeah, cutting charts, and totally not your problem.

Apti Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:20am
post #14 of 21

Sillywabbitz~~Those are both excellent guides. I think a cutting guide should ALWAYS be provided when the cake is delivered, from an 8" single layer to a 5 layer monster wedding cake. Non-cake people have ZERO idea of how many servings are expected or possible from cakes.

Perhaps the Lark Cake Shop would give permission to reprint their guide with your letterhead (you could reference them as the original source in a footnote). You could cut & paste (whoops! showing my age there) the instructions on the front & back of one piece of letterhead containing some or all of the following information:
Number of expected servings @ 1" wide x 2" deep x 4" high
Lark Cake Shop cutting guide
Indydebi Cutting guide
Instructions for dismantling the cake and a list of parts that need to be returned to the bakery

I don't see how any client or venue could, or would, be insulted to receive such instructions. It would show a high level of professionalism on your part, and also get your name out there on the letterhead! (Betcha a lot of venues would keep the guide and tape it up somewhere in the kitchen!)

If they don't want to use them, they don't have to, but I'll bet that 90% of the venue staff would be appreciative of this type of business-like approach.
labmom~~I wouldn't worry about this particular venue getting "hurt feelings" if you provide this paper with your next delivery. Simply tell them you have instituted a new procedure (the paper) that is provided for EVERY cake delivery coming from your bakery. (If you are giving these instructions to EVERY client, then this particular venue is not being singled out.)

labmom Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:46am
post #15 of 21

thank you that is a very good idea to provide the cutting guide to the venu. I have several that I deliver to that charge more to cut it than I do to make the cake. I charge 75.00 to cut the cake and $20.00 additional for any hour over the scheduled time. some of these venu charge $1.50 -$2.50 a slice to cut the cakes.

I had been leaving the wilton cutting guide with the cake but unless you practice with that it can be a bit intimidating. I think that Indydebbi has a great straight accross cutting guide. I am not indept on the computer to cut paste or what ever but I am going to watch the tutorial and see if I can draw something that I can then make copies to supply to the venu.

I am sure when I talk to my client from this past party she will talk to the party planner at this venu. It is a prive club (yacht club) that is very exclusive and you would expect them to be on there toes on such things as cutting the cake properly. But this is also the same venu that I thought had taken two kitchen cakes that I brought for a wedding... because one guest ask for an additional slice and they said that the entire cake was gone. I had supplied enough with the main cake to serve the guests and then two extra cakes as ordered by the brides mom so that they would have leftovers for them to take home to serve and snack on while the familys opened gifts... well now that I have again delt with this venu it is the cutting style that is offereing the problems not them eating or taking the cake...

I think I am first going to talk to the client.. and discuss it with her to see how she feels it should be handled. I am not sure that she is even aware of the problem unless someone has mentioned the lack of desert sunday. She was so busy with her mom and brothers and guests that they hadn't seen for years that came in from all over the country. They use the club and the beach club house enough that she will know if she should handle it or if "we" should handle it or if she will just give me the planners name or kitchen staff's name and go from there. the lady who was attendant to our dining room was very young and while efficient the staff were all teens or very young people.. and she couldn't have been much older herself. So indeed they may have been the people left to cut the cake... I never thought of that myself.
but it does make sence.

I will let you know how it turns out when I talk to her in the next few days... It may be next week as we have just been notified of a death in the family .. but I will get back here and let everyone know as soon as possible.

again thank you so much

Relznik Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 9:11am
post #16 of 21

When I deliver a cake, I will give someone at the venue a sheet that says "Please note there are 5 wooden support dowels in the bottom and middler tiers. The bottom tier is vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream and will give approximately 50 2" x 1" portions. The middle tier is chocolate with caramel flavour buttercream and will give approximately 30 2" x 1" portions"


Suzanne x

Tails Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 9:21am
post #17 of 21

I'm interested to see how it turns out.

My condolances on the death icon_sad.gif

Apti Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 12:42pm
post #18 of 21

My condolences on the death in the family. The holiday season is a hard time to go through that with loved ones.

You sound like an excellent business person and I look forward to hearing the resolution.

cupadeecakes Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 9:26pm
post #19 of 21

I find that the private / country clubs I deliver to are the worst about cutting the cake properly. I think leaving a cutting guide is a great idea, but don't expect the event staff to stop and read it. It's more of a CYA measure. I think a call to the catering manager would not be out of line. It sounds like it's just an education issue where the manager needs to (re)train the servers.

labmom Posted 15 Dec 2011 , 6:38pm
post #20 of 21

hey everyone... haven't heard from my client yet to talk to her but just received a beautiful thank you note telling me how beautiful ad "yummy" (her words not mine) the cakes were. That and a check made out for $50 more than my bill. I know that she didn't even get a slice of cake. Her husband got one of the slices that my husband brought back to our table.

I plan on taking deserts over to there house before christmas maybe I will talk to her about the cutting then and ask what she suggests about how to handle the clubs cutting of cakes. She might not realize it either I was talking to people and didn't realize the size of the slice myself until my husband pointed it out to me.
Maybe because she has also been busy at these events she hasn't noticed either.

I will keep you informed on how this turns out.

Apti Posted 15 Dec 2011 , 7:47pm
post #21 of 21

Thanks. Glad she was happy with the cake! That's priority #1.

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