I can't believe how poor people plan! I have had to turn down MULTIPLE cake orders from customers because they are interested in me making a cake for that week. Today I get an email from a woman asking about me doing a flag-type cake for Friday!!! Seriously! I think these people think I sit around waiting for phone calls and emails so I can just jump up and start baking the second they call! Am I the only one that experiences this? Do people not realize you have to plan the cake out, get special ingredients, etc?? It seems like a constant theme and yet I constantly am telling people I need more notice. Argh!!
I hear ya, sista. It's ridiculous. It happens to me all the time. I even get it from friends and family. Annoying!
How are these people finding you?
Is there a way to add "advance notice required" to your publicity?
I totally understand! I have had the same thing happen. I just received an call about doing a cake for 40 adults and 30 kids for this weekend! the CRAZY woman wants 4 dozen cupcakes along with the cake and each dozen to be a different flavor. The theme is barnyard so I will have to sculpt the cake and make all the animal toppers for the cupcakes.
I don't know if its these shows on tv or the perception that "your talented, it wont be hard" but it is frustrating!!
Yes I get this every week. Calls for cakes for that week that aren't just simple BC cakes. I get a lot of 3 day notice requests on anniversary cakes especially. Once got a 2 day notice request for a 3 tier wedding cake. I have never been able to fulfill these last minute orders unless it is a BC cake or I know I can buy ready-made sugar flowers from a cake store in town. I can help customers only if I have the time but rush orders can be nightmares. People assume the cake is baked the day before so they will have a nice fresh cake. So they won't understand why people need weeks notice for a cake. It is the planning. costing and getting items for their cake that takes a lot of prep work and time.
I just received an call about doing a cake for 40 adults and 30 kids for this weekend! the CRAZY woman wants 4 dozen cupcakes along with the cake and each dozen to be a different flavor. The theme is barnyard so I will have to sculpt the cake and make all the animal toppers for the cupcakes.
You should quote this woman a realistic price for all the scuplting and overtime rush work...she may not be a problem. She's not crazy, she just needs to be informed of how much work she is asking for.
I think this is something that some of us learned when working in catering. Either you double the price for a rush order, or you simply say "I'm sorry, I'm already booked" and leave it at that.
Whether you are baking for family or for a career, you need to learn to say some things in a businesslike fashion. I have coached co-workers to say "I'm sorry we're booked" and I made them say it 100 times...then when the customer came along they were able to say it politely and professionally without having to think.
I am a Certified Chef and worked in Catering, Country Clubs and Restaurants for a long time, so handling the rush work is not the issue. I just find it easy for someone to tell their ideas and then looking at it realistically knowing how much that idea will cost and how much time is needed totally different then someone who thinks its just placing an order.
She will be charged accordingly.
Yes, you can say you are booked and I love that freedom of my business.
I've noticed a huge increase in people booking wedding cakes closer to the actual date in the past year. I think that wedding magazines are telling brides that if they wait to book vendors, they'll be so desperate for the work they'll give them price breaks. Of course that isn't true, but wedding magazines are there to sell dresses, not to give good advice.
If i am too busy( and really not like last minute orders) i just tell them nicely i just can,t do it. This way you won,t burn yourself out and start hating what you do. hth
I think that wedding cakes are becoming a casualty of some wedding budgets. People are waiting until they get all the other prices firmed up so then they don't have much $$ left after they overspent on the chair bows and the favours and all the other frills that are there for the pictures. And the cake isn't "food" to them. It's just one more table decoration.
People are also waiting until the last minute because they don't know how much work a cake really is. And they for sure don't know that a bakery with 3-6 people can do a rush order that a single baker cannot even if they work 24 hours straight. Don't forget that they can watch Cake Boss where the 3 foot high cake gets done in the space of a half hour (they miss the fact that it gets done by an army of people and machines). And you have surely noticed that the prices are never mentioned on Cake Boss?
So it's up to us to educate our potential customers, not get frustrated over them. Learn to do that and you will always have as much business as you can handle.
Learn to say "I am a one-person operation, I make each cake special and you asked too late". Make sure the lead time for weddings is on your advertising as well as the statement "deposit required". Yes some people will ask the information again, and be prepared to repeat yourself...you will see the result in your bank account.
Yes I too have noticed wedding cakes are becoming a casual item now. It can be ordered when they have firmed up all other costs and somehow have a left-over part of their budget. I don't know who is advising wedding clients anymore and why things are changing so much to not be in a wedding cake decorator's favour. Many times I have said I was coming out of the wedding cake market. Lost track by now. Once I saw the change from having a traditional fruit cake with marzipan and fondant to a SPONGE cake WITH fondant wedding cake I knew something was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love a good moist cake that is not fruit cake but I knew the reason brides were opting for it was to save cost..as well as many not liking fruit cakes..but more cost. The real changes started when Food Network and TLC launched Ace of Cakes & Cake Boss. We saw cakes that fell down a flight of stairs be repaired in 30 mins. I mean, fresh cakes appear (out of no where cuz we never saw the re-baking. They obviously have lots of extra sheet cakes stashed away). Impossible for a home-baker. Customers don't calculate the no. of staff tv show bakers have vs a home business so assume we can do rush orders just like them. Buddy alone has like 20 cake decorators and these ppl don't even touch the baking of cakes!
I should add that I still tend to book up just as far out as I always have, but the number of last-minute calls seems to be increasing. I didn't say that I did the cakes for them! I just tell them that I'm booked for their date.
It could be the wedding magazines, as I suggested before, or it could be that people are getting their friends to do things to save money, then when that falls through we get the panic calls. I've had a few brides call with that situation. I don't know, but the flip side, like I said, is that there are still people who call a year ahead of time to book their cakes, so all is not lost...
Many times I have said I was coming out of the wedding cake market. Lost track by now. Once I saw the change from having a traditional fruit cake with marzipan and fondant to a SPONGE cake WITH fondant wedding cake I knew something was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love a good moist cake that is not fruit cake but I knew the reason brides were opting for it was to save cost..as well as many not liking fruit cakes..but more cost.
I'm confused - what's the connection between people making last minute orders, and people preferring other types of cake than fruit cake?
You're right. It has absolutely nothing to do with last minute orders. See all other answers.
It's no problem - I just thought I had missed something!
I read on someone's web page, somewhere, that this cakery offers 10% off, if you book your order 1 month in advance. Perhaps that could help solve your problem!
I get them all the time, too. There are also times when you can predict there will be a ton of them. Like right after school starts because everyone was too busy to order cake while they were organizing for the new year.