Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 3:28am
post #1 of

Need a quick advise:
Have a bride who has contacted me about the wedding for the end of the year, wanted to schedule a tasting consult, but she does not live here, and will not be in the area until early August. I have told her that I'll be happy to schedule an appointment for her, but since I do not hold dates without contract and deposit, she will have to check with me in August before scheduling an appointment to make sure that the date is still available. Her response to me is that she will send her future mother in law for the tasting and consult first and then will come in August. That sounds a little odd to me. Does it mean that the bride will be signing the contract and paying the deposit based on her MOG's opinion and ideas for the cake? And if she does that, than what's the point of another tasting and consult? I don't have a storefront and only do custom work, including all of the tastings, so I'm not sure i'm all that excited about doing a tasting twice for the same wedding, but of course I understand that in business sometimes I have to do things that inconvenience me. Any advise on this?

18 replies
southerncross Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 3:45am
post #2 of

how odd....I have a similar problem before me. A wedding consultant/planner called to arrange a tasting for a wedding this August. The consultant/planner scheduled the tasting next week and then said the bride, who is studying abroad and wont return to the States until late June and she expects to have another tasting at that time. I suppose the consultant/planner is screening me and the final decision as to flavours will be made at the bride's June tasting. I told the consultant/planner that I charge $30 for each tasting but one will be credited against the wedding cake fee. She didn't seem to have any problem with that. I used to not charge for tastings but I found that my time, both in baking and presentation warranted a separate fee.

caymancake Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:15am
post #3 of

Charge a fee for the initial tasting...and tell them to order a small cake or cupcakes at full price for the subsequent one. That's what I would do. HTH!

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:27am
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Noone in this area charges, so i don't really want to go there, I just don't understand the point of two tastings, it just sounds like they just want some free cake. Bride emailed telling me MOG will be calling me tomorrow to schedule an appointment, so I have to figure this out before tomorrow. I'm considering telling the bride that I cannot do double appointments for the same wedding, just don't know how to say that politely. To boot, it's a small wedding during a holiday week, so financially and time wise, I'm not really inclined to go out of my way to get this order, plus I'm not really sure that providing a tasting for MOG will help me to get the order...

Evoir Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:29am
post #5 of

I would suggest offering one for free, and the other paid. Either a paid tasting, or a paid small cake based on the MOGs choices.

I have given free samples twice to a bride on one occasion, but that was because she had heard about a bunch of new flavours I had added to my offerings since she saw me (last year! over 18 months before her wedding date), but as she will be spending probably $800- $900 with me, I am comfortable with doing so. Furthermore, she paid me a deposit in between the first and second tastings.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:41am
post #6 of
Quote:
Quote:

I would suggest offering one for free, and the other paid. Either a paid tasting, or a paid small cake based on the MOGs choices.




Noone charges in this area, so I don't want to go there, plus the first one will be with MOG, so if I provide her with a free one, then a bride will have to pay. Sounds screwed up to me. I don't offer bride's choice tastings. My tastings are based on my week's orders so brides get whatever it is I have available.[/quote]

traci_doodle Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:54am
post #7 of

Yes, you already said that, but does everyone in your area offer two free tastings?

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 5:11am
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Quote:
Quote:

Yes, you already said that, but does everyone in your area offer two free tastings?




Have no idea, but I'm the only "by appointment only" place, other places are storefronts, so whether it's free tasting or paying for one or two cupcakes are no big deal. Customers can just drop in and do on the spot tasting/consult with others. With me, it has to be scheduled and since I have minimum order requirements, the orders have to be scheduled in advance based on my availability.

FromScratchSF Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 5:48am
post #9 of

I only do consults for orders over $400. My initial tasting is no charge, but they don't get to pick flavors. I don't have a storefront so the samples I have are based on cake orders I have. But I have a much larger menu, so if they book with me (signed contract and non-refundable retainer) I let them choose 2 flavors of cake that they haven't already tasted that I will bake A FEW cupcakes specifically for them. They just pick them up, I don't sit and watch them eat them or anything. Then they pick their flavors from that. At that point they've had anywhere from 8-10 flavors of cake from me.

SO - if I were you I would do the initial consult no charge, but would only offer a second complimentary tasting after they book or they need to pay for the 2nd tasting.

btrsktch Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 11:28pm

If someone else other than the bride was coming in for the tasting, then the ONLY option they have is to purchase a sample box. I charge $25 for that, and they can get 3 flavors, but none of my time and no sales pitch or pricing information. It's just to get to see what my cakes taste like. They usually look at my flavors and call and ask a few questions and can make an informed decision from there.

I have had 2 tastings sometimes for my brides that have booked with me. The first tasting is free, and if they want to choose another flavor (or say something with alcohol), then I offer that again for free ~ AFTER they paid their deposit and signed a contract.


[/u]

step0nmi Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 12:20am

be a business woman! if it's just the MOG then why not sell her a small cake? are you seriously wanting to loose money by doing booth for free? it just seems like good business sense all of the other posters have made and you're just saying that other people in your area don't charge for tastings. well, ONE shouldn't be considered a tasting since they haven't even booked you yet...end of the year is way far away and you even said yourself it's a holiday and you didn't want to do it. so, why not weed them out!

Pebbles1727 Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 12:38am

Thank you all for the input. I have considered everyone's advise to charge for the tasting and have resolved the situation in a way that I believe is fair to the potential customer and efficient for me.
Thanks again, P

costumeczar Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 12:43am

I do this all the time, I have a decent number of out-of-town brides. depending on how it goes, I usually make a sample box for an in-town "cake representative" to pick up, so that they just come by while I have other appointments scheduled and pick up the cake but they don't sit down with me. No time involved, and if I'm doing other appointments it doesn't involve extra baking for me, no big deal. If their "rep" likes the cake the bride can either hire me by placing a deposit or not, then I sit down with the bride at a later time for her to taste cake and plan out the design. I had two bookings last week from situations exactly like that.

Or, if the MOB is really antsy about details and wants to schedule a tasting before she books, I get her in for an appointment and make her my new best friend. Moms are the key to bookings when the bride is out of town, so gaining their trust is key. If the bride wants to sample later, so what? If the MOB books with you and you can get the bride to send you pictures of cakes that she likes, you can have some suggestions ready for her, and the followup shouldn't take more than 20 minutes at the most.

For me it isn't the cost of the cake that's the major consideration, it's the time that it takes to sit down with a bride and design the cake. If I have people who want multiple appointments that takes up a slot that a new prospect could have had, so that's the only problem for me.

But I do schedule all of my appointments on one day, back to back, so that makes it less of an issue about the baking part of it.

scp1127 Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 5:37am

If the event is far enough out, I find out what flavors may be of interest. When someone orders that flavor or something similar, I bake a few cupcakes or a 4" or 6" (I give half, half to family) cake. It is no extra time. I let the client know and they drop by. I may do this three times, but it didn't cost me time or money.

About a month ago, I made quite a few of my Red Velvet Cheesecake cupcakes. I boxed them up in fours in my pink bakery boxes, tied with a ribbon (as I always do) and I had all potential and booked clients pick them up that day. I delivered a few while I was out on regular deliveries. I booked every client that got them. I delivered the ones to the clients' place of business with extras so that the offices could also try them. I have gotten orders from the co-workers from these samples.

Once the client gets an idea of my baking ability, they feel they can order flavors they have't tasted with confidence.

My approach is casual and easy for the customer to make decisions. It works for me. I also don't have a storefront.

If I can find an opportunity to have new people try my products, I take it. Building this ready-made customer base is what I'm doing before I open my retail store.

syarber Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 5:37pm

is it possible to set up a video conference with the bride while you meet with the MOG? That way the bride could still give her input. Also maybe she could email you her ideas or any pictures in advance. Just a thought.

CupcakeQT82 Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 12:50am

I have a girl right now who is consulting me regarding cupcakes for her wedding in July. She asked whether she should send her mom to me now (she too is out of state but mom is here) and then she'd meet with me later or to just come all together in May. I said we'll do May so we can do the taste testing all at once. I wouldn't want to do it twice.

costumeczar Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 10:50am
Quote:
Originally Posted by CupcakeQT82

I have a girl right now who is consulting me regarding cupcakes for her wedding in July. She asked whether she should send her mom to me now (she too is out of state but mom is here) and then she'd meet with me later or to just come all together in May. I said we'll do May so we can do the taste testing all at once. I wouldn't want to do it twice.




For me, I wouldn't want to wait until May for a July wedding because I'll be booked for July by then, which is one reason to do it twice. I'd tell them that they shouldn't wait until that close to the date to book, so if her mom wanted to pick up samples and book the date then I could meet with her later to figure out the specifics. Which would then book the date, and the cost of samples is really the least of your worries when you're dealing with weddings. You don't have to sit down and do two design consults with people, which is what I worry more about in terms of resources, so to speak.

uniquecreations Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 1:26pm

I had a bride that lived in Florida that was doing a destination wedding in my area and her aunt and uncle who lived close by came for the cake tasting and then I sent cake by them as they were going to see the couple for them to taste but I got the booking just from the opinion of the aunt and uncle before the bride and groom tasted the cake!!!!

ladyonzlake Posted 25 May 2012 , 9:35pm

I know this is late but maybe it will help others. I have had this happen many times and I always advise to place a deposit..especially for summer since I book up quickly. If a deposit is recieved, then I don't mind doing this for out of town brides. If no deposit, then I charge for the 2nd tasting.

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