that1luckystar Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 4:23am
post #1 of

I am a home baker that bakes about 3 cakes a week plus cake pops and other cakes. I do take pride in my work and consider it an art. Today I had a customer who wanted a cake several weeks ago for today. We had been camping in the Sequoias and woke up at 6 in the morning to drive 6 hours home in order to make this order happen. Not the customers concern but shows that i care about quality and didnt freeze my cake ahead of time. The customer wanted a red velvet belly cake for a baby shower plus a dozen vanilla cupcakes and a dozen lemon cupcakes. All the cakes where made from scratch that day, three cakes from scratch and 3 fillings. I charged the customer $80 for everything and delivered the cake 15 miles from my house and waited 25 minutes for them to show up.

The customer left an Email this evening saying that they felt frankly ripped off, that the cake would not feed enough people. In previous talks I told him that the cake an 8" sphere and 2 4" spheres would feed 25 and needed to feed 60 people so they decided to order 2 dozen, they did the math not me. Looking back frankly I think I under charged just in the nice cake board and fondant it was about $15 probably we probably made $25 max for 3 hours worth of work. I emailed the customer back explaining our pricing and that everything was with quality, where would you more experienced go with this, offer free product or tell them to pack sand?

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26 replies
SoFloGuy Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 5:57am
post #2 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by that1luckystar

, offer free product or tell them to pack sand?




Pound sand, that's what a coworker of mine use to say. You don't owe them anymore than they ordered and agreed on. Sounds like with gas and waiting time you didn't make much on the deal. PS The cake is beautiful.

As long as you explain the cost especially the base and fondant cost and all the ingredients etc they should understand a little more. People think a box mix costs $1 and so you spend $5 on all ingredients and you make a $75 profit, they don' t know.

Pearl645 Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 6:35am
post #3 of

Hey the cake is beautiful. Well, there seems to be some forgetfulness by your customer on cake sizes. Always put things in email vs talks. That way you can refer to an email. This cake plus the 2 dozen cupcakes I would do for $120US at least or around there,

Bluehue Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 12:29pm
post #4 of

Aweeeee - they feel ripped off - so now they wish to rip you off..... icon_rolleyes.gif

Apparently icon_wink.gif they know everything about ammounts per guest so the ball is back in their court .

Once again - *we stuffed up - so lets blame the cake lady* -
icon_rolleyes.gifthumbsdown.gif

Bluehue

cambo Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 12:45pm
post #5 of

Buyers remorse for sure! That was more than enough cake, and they got one heck of a steal especially for a scratch red velvet that is not cheap to make! The cake is beautiful, but it's not your problem if they served too large of slices, etc. Also, you should NEVER feel like you have to justify your price to someone by going into detail about your costs. That's YOUR business, not theirs.

neekole Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 1:58pm
post #6 of

seems like you got ripped off not them!

ChristineCMC Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 2:28pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by neekole

seems like you got ripped off not them!




I agree with this 100% Too bad, so sad on their part.

deniseob Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 3:34pm
post #8 of

Your work is beautiful and you will always get someone from time to time who thinks like that. I bet you have many satisfied customers who are delighted with your pricing and baked goods.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 7:18pm
post #9 of

I don't see how you are at fault at all in this- you told them how many the cake itself would serve, and they opted to get only 2 dozen more servings in the cupcakes. That was their decision to try and get away with less cake.

I would just respond that while you are sorry to hear that they didn't have enough cake, what was provided is what was agreed upon and paid for. There's really nothing more to be said.

And yes, you did undercharge! Raise your prices! icon_smile.gif

kakeladi Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 8:17pm

I'd say what was given was not enought BUT!.....it was *their* choise to only get 2 dz cuppies after you explained how much the main cake would serve.
I don't think you need to offer anything - UNLESS you really want to - and then I would only offer say 10% off any future orders. Your prices are much too low to begin with. The work is good. Dont let them walk all over you.

jgifford Posted 30 Jun 2012 , 9:16pm

You discussed the number of servings with your customer.
Your customer ordered an additional 2 dozen cupcakes.
You delivered the agreed-upon cake and cupcakes.

You don't owe numb-nuts anything.

Cakery2012 Posted 1 Jul 2012 , 4:35pm

Why would you offer a free product you did nothing wrong . Except undercharge . Your cake is lovely I think it alone would be $80.your ingredients ,time ,and traveling cost is worth a lot more .
If these same bozos went to a store front business would they have the nerve to go back and say they felt ripped off. Heck no they got what they ordered.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Jul 2012 , 7:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by neekole

seems like you got ripped off not them!



Agreed...I don't see how you can earn a profit or even pay yourself at those prices. For just the cupcakes we would have charged $90 including delivery, the bakery I founded is also in California and we are required to operate out of a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen to legally sell baked goods.

If you are operating illegally I would be very careful here, if the customer feels ripped off and knows about CA food safety laws things could get very difficult for you.

scp1127 Posted 1 Jul 2012 , 9:31pm

I agree with Jason. At those prices, I don't see room for a commercial kitchen. She can get you into trouble.

For the cake amounts, when she ordered, it was your obligation to tell her exactly how many it would serve if she was cutting it close. You are supposed to be the professional and not allow the customer to order too little without a full understanding of what they are ordering. Also, it was your job to show her exactly what size to cut to get that amount. Either of these two thind on your part at the time of the order would have helped her to make a better decision.

As it stands, not helping at the time iof the order will tarnish your business and you will have negative word of mouth and at the extreme, a call to the health department.

Yes, you can all say this is the customer's problem, but we can help when we know that they are cutting it close. Every time this has happened to me, I remind them they are close and they adjust the order. The customer does not want to look bad to her guests. One too many is always better than one too few. It's also the magic difference between a happy and a mad customer.

BakingIrene Posted 1 Jul 2012 , 11:59pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

For the cake amounts, when she ordered, it was your obligation to tell her exactly how many it would serve if she was cutting it close. You are supposed to be the professional and not allow the customer to order too little without a full understanding of what they are ordering. Also, it was your job to show her exactly what size to cut to get that amount. Either of these two thind on your part at the time of the order would have helped her to make a better decision.




And do all these things by email with a cc to yourself.

There are people who think they know better than the cake maker.

There are people who deliberately order not enough and then threaten to sue. They get their cakes for free that way...until somebody files with the local Better Business Bureau.

You need to decide whether you can filter the bad apples.

CWR41 Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 1:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

They get their cakes for free that way...until somebody files with the local Better Business Bureau.




And then what? I don't understand your point of bringing up the BBB. They are mediators that can only listen to one (or more) side(s) of a story. They can't force a business to respond to a complaint, nor offer resolution.

BakingIrene Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:00am

[quote="CWR41"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

They get their cakes for free that way...until somebody files with the local Better Business Bureau.



And then what? I don't understand your point of bringing up the BBB. They are mediators that can only listen to one (or more) side(s) of a story. They can't force a business to respond to a complaint, nor offer resolution.




I expect that if the local BBB heard 5-6 complaints from different bakers about a single party using the excuse that "the cake was too small" as a reason for not paying, then they might be able to put out some local publicity. More as a preventive measure than anything else.

CWR41 Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:10am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

I expect that if the local BBB heard 5-6 complaints from different bakers about a single party using the excuse that "the cake was too small" as a reason for not paying, then they might be able to put out some local publicity. More as a preventive measure than anything else.




Why would 5-6 bakers complain about a single private party? Why would the customer hire 5-6 bakers for a single party? Businesses don't utilize the BBB for their own customers--they use collection agencies. The BBB is for customers to file unresolved complaints against businesses.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:12am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127


For the cake amounts, when she ordered, it was your obligation to tell her exactly how many it would serve if she was cutting it close. You are supposed to be the professional and not allow the customer to order too little without a full understanding of what they are ordering.




Maybe I misunderstood what the OP wrote in her first post, but what I read is that she DID tell them how many the cake would serve, and that they opted to get only 2 dozen cupcakes to supplement. What more could she have done?? How much more plain could it be to them that they are not ordering enough cake? If they decide they want to order only a certain amount of cake, that's their choice, and even as the professional, you can't force them to order more.

kelleym Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:13am

[quote="BakingIrene"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

They get their cakes for free that way...until somebody files with the local Better Business Bureau.



And then what? I don't understand your point of bringing up the BBB. They are mediators that can only listen to one (or more) side(s) of a story. They can't force a business to respond to a complaint, nor offer resolution.



I expect that if the local BBB heard 5-6 complaints from different bakers about a single party using the excuse that "the cake was too small" as a reason for not paying, then they might be able to put out some local publicity. More as a preventive measure than anything else.



Nah. The BBB is mostly a shakedown for merchants. Sure, they could give you a bad "grade" online, but I'm not sure that is more damaging than reviews on Yelp or Yahoo!Local would be.

One of my friends had a customer this past weekend who said there wasn't enough cake, even though my friend had discussed the size with her, to the extent of showing her the pans it would be made with. Some people just don't get it, or have buyer's remorse after the fact and can't believe they spent "X" on a cake that wasn't 6 feet tall.

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

I expect that if the local BBB heard 5-6 complaints from different bakers about a single party using the excuse that "the cake was too small" as a reason for not paying, then they might be able to put out some local publicity. More as a preventive measure than anything else.



AFAIK the BBB does not work that way...they field complaints from customers, not from businesses, and if the same customer complained about 5-6 different bakers to the BBB I doubt that would prompt them to put out any local publicity about cake sizes.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 2:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym


One of my friends had a customer this past weekend who said there wasn't enough cake, even though my friend had discussed the size with her, to the extent of showing her the pans it would be made with. Some people just don't get it, or have buyer's remorse after the fact and can't believe they spent "X" on a cake that wasn't 6 feet tall.




Yup. We showed up with the cake one time and the customer says "I thought it would be bigger" even though we had told her the sizes it would be and the sizes were chosen based on the number of servings she said she needed. Most people don't get it, especially if they are not accustomed to ordering custom cakes.

Sometimes it's really not your fault. The customer is NOT always right.

scp1127 Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 3:28am

Somehow something someone else said has me being quoted. I had nothing to do with the BBB issue as the BBB is a bought product. The ratings are paid.

My comment was to reiterate exactly how many servings she would be short with the guest count. Had that happened and the customer was well aware, they would have ordered more, and most of all, that conversation after the event would never have happened. The OP did not say how she advised her at the sales point, only at the consultation. She just took the order. A professional would not have done this. A pro would advise exactly how many servings she would be short, given the industry standards and the total guest count. If this was the only dessert, I would decline the order. The only one to suffer in this situation is the baker.

Unlimited Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 4:04am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I had nothing to do with the BBB issue as the BBB is a bought product. The ratings are paid.




Ha, ha! It might seem that way, but it's not so. My corporation has an A+ rating that wasn't "purchased". It isn't required or necessary to be a BBB member to receive a high rating. The only membership benefit is that you can claim you're a member and/or use their logo.

BBB thread:
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=689748&highlight=bbb

costumeczar Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 11:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

You discussed the number of servings with your customer.
Your customer ordered an additional 2 dozen cupcakes.
You delivered the agreed-upon cake and cupcakes.

You don't owe numb-nuts anything.




Yes. And "numb nuts" is a generous term to describe them.

diane706 Posted 3 Jul 2012 , 4:30pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127


For the cake amounts, when she ordered, it was your obligation to tell her exactly how many it would serve if she was cutting it close. You are supposed to be the professional and not allow the customer to order too little without a full understanding of what they are ordering.



Maybe I misunderstood what the OP wrote in her first post, but what I read is that she DID tell them how many the cake would serve, and that they opted to get only 2 dozen cupcakes to supplement. What more could she have done?? How much more plain could it be to them that they are not ordering enough cake? If they decide they want to order only a certain amount of cake, that's their choice, and even as the professional, you can't force them to order more.




Exactly! Last time I checked, 1 cupcake=1 serving, therefore 25 servings plus 2 dozen cupcakes is 49 servings leaving the remaining 11 (out of 60) poor guests cake-less and salivating. My kids could do that type of math when they were in at least second grade! The customer is just playing a silly game or having a hard time admitting he screwed up, in my opinion icon_rolleyes.gif AND, you definitely need to raise your prices (again, my humble opinion). Nice job on the cake!

Cherylc418 Posted 3 Jul 2012 , 5:16pm

Unfortunately, you can't please everyone. You may have done everything right in this situation, but only you and your client will truly know what transpired between you two. All you can do is make certain you provided the client with ALL The correct information regarding her being short servings, and that she truly understood and responded to that information.(which by ordering additional cupcakes should confirm that). As for pricing, it was more than reasonable, but again some customers desire a custom cake but don't want the price tag it comes with. We all learn and grow from customer service situations like these, but being a professional you have to suck it up and respond to her complaints professionally. Don't defend your pricing or explain yourself, just stick to the facts and refer to emails which originally explained her now complaints. I know the one client who isn't happy is sometimes what we obsess about, but that simply means you care about your clients and your business. Remember, you can't please everyone all the time.

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