How Do You Schedule Tasting/consultations?

Business By Pebbles1727 Updated 1 Feb 2012 , 11:07pm by FromScratchSF

Pebbles1727 Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 5:16am
post #1 of 21

Hi Everyone,
over the sudden I have a dramatic increase in calls from brides who want to "stop by for a wedding tasting today" Some don't even ask for appointment, just call and ask for directions. Since I don't have a storefront, but "by appointment only" shop, I know who and when is coming to see me. It always comes off a little awkward when I have to stop them and ask. Is that common for the brides to think that they can just "drop in" on the vendor whenever they please? How do you prevent those kind of phone calls? My website and FB page clearly state that I don't have a storefront and all work is custom and made to order. Several of callers acknowledged that they read that, but wanted to stop by anyways. Some made calls while already on the way or in the parking lot.
Any ideas?

20 replies
ChefAngie Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:45am
post #2 of 21

"BY APPOINTMENT ONLY" "I OR WE WANT TO GIVE YOU R WEDDING DAY 100% SATISFACTION.
NO DROP INS
COUPLE AND OR PLANNER (3 PEOPLE LIMIT) CHARGE FOR EXTRA PEOPLE.
SET ASIDE ONE DAY FOR CONSULTS AND TASTING
7-3
8-4
9-5
10-6
11-7
SEND OUT A PRESS REALEASE OR ADD TO YOUR WEBSITE.
HOPE THIS HELPS,
HAPPY BAKING AND DECORATING,
CHEF ANGIE

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:54am
post #3 of 21

We had a similar setup (by appointment only), and we didn't even list our address on the web site. The only time a customer would find out our address was if they scheduled an appointment for a tasting or placed an order for pickup.

If someone calls and asks to drop by, simply ask them if they would like to set up an appointment for a consultation/tasting/etc.

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:56am
post #4 of 21

Tell them you can't accommodate walk-ins and you work by appointment only.

I get that all the time. All the time. It is what it is!

PS: SHOUTY CAPS IS SHOUTY, CHEFANGIE, WE CAN READ YOU JUST FINE WITHOUT THEM. Thanks. icon_biggrin.gif

ChefAngie Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:00am
post #5 of 21

SORRY- ONLY ONE HAND TO WORK WITH-HAD SURGERY WED. MORNING

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:01am
post #6 of 21

Generally all lowercase is preferable to all caps, the former is much easier to read.

ChefAngie Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:06am
post #7 of 21

okay

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:15am
post #8 of 21

We also used to get calls at all hours (sometimes as late as 11pm) asking if we were still open, since we started out with our home number as the business number this got annoying real fast. Setting up a Google Voice number that automatically goes to voice mail after 5pm fixed that problem, eventually we ended up sending calls to voice mail at all times and just calling customers back when necessary.

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:21am
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefAngie

okay




Thanks! Sorry about your surgery, that totally sucks. I hope it helped you though.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 2:14pm
post #10 of 21

I get the... "Can I come by for a tasting today" question frequently. I just explain to them that I am a custom cake studion, not a storefront and samples are baked fresh so I do not have products sitting around for them to try. Not everyone gets this though. I do my best to head off these calls: My address is not listed, on my website I have a "Sign up for a tasting" link that sends then to a google calendar with appointment slots, and my website states that I am a home based custom cake studion.... but people still call sometimes.

As far as setting up appointments I set aside 1 Saturday (all day) 1 weekday evening and 1 weekday afternoon per month and put 1hr appointments in the Google Calendar so people calendar so people can sign up. I try not add dates unless I have a client who absolutely cannot meet at any of the times I have listed. That way I do not have 1 appointments here and there.

jgifford Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 2:29pm
post #11 of 21

I offer tastings only for cakes for 100+ servings and weddings. If I have not previously spoken with the bride, they don't get a tasting. Tastings are by appointment only and are NOT just to give someone something to do while they're out shopping. Unless there's a distinct possibility they're going to book me, they don't get one.

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 3:00pm
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmysCakesNCandies


As far as setting up appointments I set aside 1 Saturday (all day) 1 weekday evening and 1 weekday afternoon per month and put 1hr appointments in the Google Calendar so people calendar so people can sign up. I try not add dates unless I have a client who absolutely cannot meet at any of the times I have listed. That way I do not have 1 appointments here and there.




Isn't that so much easier? I just held one on Sunday, I do one about once every three months or so, or depending on how many clients waiting on them. Bake a big batch of most of my offerings, and a ton of fillings, have 20 people over at staggered times...bam! No waste, and if one person doesn't show, I'm not out anything. Had one no show couple out of the group. Didn't even notice.

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:12pm
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Isn't that so much easier? I just held one on Sunday, I do one about once every three months or so, or depending on how many clients waiting on them. Bake a big batch of most of my offerings, and a ton of fillings, have 20 people over at staggered times...bam! No waste, and if one person doesn't show, I'm not out anything. Had one no show couple out of the group. Didn't even notice.




Actually Jaime, I have been really curious how this works though, first, you obviously have your own space, right? Do you have a bakery that sells daily product or an appointment-only studio? Next how do you handle the consultation aspect? When you had 20 people milling about tasting cake, how do you close the sale? Or do most of the people that attend already know they are going with you based on your excellent reputation and they just need to pick flavors?

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:23pm
post #14 of 21

[quote="FromScratchSF"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Isn't that so much easier? I just held one on Sunday, I do one about once every three months or so, or depending on how many clients waiting on them. Bake a big batch of most of my offerings, and a ton of fillings, have 20 people over at staggered times...bam! No waste, and if one person doesn't show, I'm not out anything. Had one no show couple out of the group. Didn't even notice.




Switching to this format is the best thing I ever did to get mt calendar organized and have more free time.

To the question of space & time, I rent a display area in a wedding gallery (run by a wedding planner) store front. Since I am home based
I meet with clients there instead of my home. So on tasting days I schedule clients 1 per hour and theese people who sign up ahead get a one on one tasting/ consult. I also have a small table with samples and info for walk ins- if I have time I squeez walkins inbetween my appointments.

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:27pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF


Actually Jaime, I have been really curious how this works though, first, you obviously have your own space, right? Do you have a bakery that sells daily product or an appointment-only studio? Next how do you handle the consultation aspect? When you had 20 people milling about tasting cake, how do you close the sale? Or do most of the people that attend already know they are going with you based on your excellent reputation and they just need to pick flavors?




1. No storefront, hells no. I'm not a bakery, custom pre order cakes only.

2. I would say 80% are already booked customers, they're just coming back for the fun part. The two couples scheduled that weren't already booked clients-one was the no show, and one booked on the spot. Upsold as a matter of fact. Yay me....

3. There are only 3 couples per hour. And since most oare already booked, we aren't talking design and cost, that's been handled. icon_smile.gif We're just doing fun stuff. I can candle three couples at a time. They chat amongst themselves, compare their events, blah blah. I have all the contracts out, and make notes as we go. It's actually a LOT of fun.

So in a way, they're banking on my good reputation to book "pre-tasting", and haven't had anyone gag and want to cancel yet. icon_biggrin.gif And it's a huge win for me, since I'm not ever baking for individual appointments. Other than the tasting events, all the cake I bake is for paid orders.

And of course...the event is free to attend.

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:35pm
post #16 of 21

Technically my studio is attached to the home, but we're commercially zoned, in a large home that has been two restaurants, several offices, and at one time possibly a...ummm, house of ill repute? We're in a historic business district with lots of shopkeeper/home setups. But anyways, the entire front area is the meeting space, and the back is the studio. We live in the middle. Separate kitchen, etc., etc.

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:43pm
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Technically my studio is attached to the home, but we're commercially zoned, in a large home that has been two restaurants, several offices, and at one time possibly a...ummm, house of ill repute? We're in a historic business district with lots of shopkeeper/home setups. But anyways, the entire front area is the meeting space, and the back is the studio. We live in the middle. Separate kitchen, etc., etc.




I would kill for your set-up. That sounds rad. Thanks for sharing icon_biggrin.gif

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:48pm
post #18 of 21

It's killer...I'll show you pics sometime! Crown moulding, carved doors, sky high ceilings with bead board ceilings, wainscoating, it's way cool.

Pebbles1727 Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 9:15pm
post #19 of 21

Thanks you all! I'll just keep explaining myself like I've been, it's probably just awkward for me having to explain it, LOL. My website already has the spill of no storefront, no walk ins, etc. I have a shop with a nice meeting space in the front, so that's not really a big deal. At this point, I do tastings/consults after my baking days, and brides get to taste whatever I already have on hand. The more varied orders I have a specific week, the more they get to taste. I do like the idea of a "party" tasting though. Will have to see if I can work that out.
Thanks you all, P

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 9:19pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

My website already has the spill of no storefront, no walk ins, etc.


Pebbles, you can put in bright red bold font that you are a monkey that uses playdoh to make your cakes and no one would notice. Which is sad....but anyways, sometimes it does feel pointless in having a bunch of info that seems to get ignored. I have taken the attitude that the website is just there for people to find a phone number and ask what they don't take the time to read on the site. I know I'll be answering a million questions, but at least they get to talk to a human. It's an expensive gall darned telephone listing! tapedshut.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 11:07pm
post #21 of 21

Seriously, I can't believe how many people just call without ever having visited my website. I now ask people to visit there first and call me back if they are interested in ordering, more times then not they are looking for a $20 birthday cake right now and don't realize I'm totally not what they are looking for.

I even get calls from people looking for doughnuts, bread, pastries, pies etc...

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