Jazzbythebay Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 10:07pm
post #1 of

need some advise please...

A customer has ordered a cake from me for the 2nd week of Oct. Today I found out that she intends to cut the cake that I made at her son's birthday party and thereafter save the cake for her family get-together a day later. All the kids at the party will recieve a supermarket cake in their party bags.

I am concered about this because i feel that the kids and their parents will see my decorated cake which will be cut at the party but will receive and eat a supermarket cake thinking it is mine!! Not sure how to handle this situation. Cust is also a friend. I am just starting out with my cake business and dont want people to have the wrong idea about my cakes...

Any advise on how to handle this situation? Sud a clause be added in my terms & conditions?

32 replies
BakingIrene Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 10:22pm
post #2 of

Well you must be pretty close to this customer to hear such detailed plans. I think that she wants to save the good cake for her own family, and you can understand that.

The best idea that you can float informally, would be that cake in goody bags is going to get messed up. Maybe it would be a better idea to put something else into the bag that will survive the trip home.

I can't think of any sensible addition to your terms and conditions. You would do better to actively market items like simple cupcakes to match the birthday cake. Don't say what they could be used for, just say "matching-cake-batter swirl cupcakes available $xx per dozen"

jason_kraft Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:04pm
post #3 of

You can't really control what the customer does after you deliver the cake, so unless you can sell the customer on buying a cheaper sheet cake or cupcakes from you for the goodie bags, you are better off declining the order.

HalifaxMommy Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:07pm
post #4 of

Regardless if you have a close personal relationship with this customer or not, why does this even show up on the radar? The mother seems to be having two parties for her small child which is common - one for friends and one for family. She has opted to have the nice custom cake for the family party.

mcaulir Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:12pm
post #5 of

The parents will see that the cake they get isn't iced the same as the cake that was cut, surely?

And it's fairly unlikely that your name will even come up in conversation, to be frank. I've never gone to a party and asked who made the cake.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:17pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

The parents will see that the cake they get isn't iced the same as the cake that was cut, surely?

And it's fairly unlikely that your name will even come up in conversation, to be frank. I've never gone to a party and asked who made the cake.



If the OP designs a nice cake to be displayed at the party, I could see people asking who made it. And If the cake is no longer displayed when they receive their goodie bags they will probably assume they got pieces of the same cake and not a different, cheaper cake.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:31pm
post #7 of

If she's a "friend," be honest with her. Tell her your reservations. You may even offer to bake a small plain cake for the family.

PinkLotus Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:41pm
post #8 of

If the cake is going in the goodie bags for the kids, the parents may not even taste it.
I tend to agree with Jason, if people are going to serve a different cake, there's nothing you can really do other than decline the order or offer something different.
I also agree that it's not that likely that people will ask who made the cake....though it is definitely possible!

mcaulir Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:57pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

The parents will see that the cake they get isn't iced the same as the cake that was cut, surely?

And it's fairly unlikely that your name will even come up in conversation, to be frank. I've never gone to a party and asked who made the cake.


If the OP designs a nice cake to be displayed at the party, I could see people asking who made it. And If the cake is no longer displayed when they receive their goodie bags they will probably assume they got pieces of the same cake and not a different, cheaper cake.




Would they not remember how it was iced?

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Sep 2012 , 11:59pm

I personally would turn down this order. I don't want there to be any chance of my cake getting mixed up with a grocery store cake. Plain and simple. And I would tell the mom exactly this.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:09am
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

Would they not remember how it was iced?



Probably not, most people (other than cake decorators) don't really pay close attention to those types of details. I would assume that the customer will be buying a grocery store cake that matches the flavor of the display cake anyway.

ibeeflower Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:18am

There is a member who stated once that she has a clause in her contract that she has the right to cancel the order if the customer buys her cake, but serves someone else's cake (like a grocery store) I don't remember who it was... icon_sad.gif

Anyway, I would decline this order too or speak to her. I would not want someone to ask the customer who made her beautiful cake, and she gives my name but the cake served is crap. It's your call. But I agree with some of the other members to either cancel the order.

gb89 Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:38am

To me the real issue here is cutting the cake but not serving it. Is she just making a cut mark or actually taking a slice out of it? I would be more worried it's not covered properly for the 24 or whatever hours. People swap cake all the time. I wouldn't worried since you're still getting paid for it.

cakesbycathy Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibeeflower

There is a member who stated once that she has a clause in her contract that she has the right to cancel the order if the customer buys her cake, but serves someone else's cake (like a grocery store) I don't remember who it was... icon_sad.gif

Anyway, I would decline this order too or speak to her. I would not want someone to ask the customer who made her beautiful cake, and she gives my name but the cake served is crap. It's your call. But I agree with some of the other members to either cancel the order.




There are quite a few of us who have this clause in their contracts. I am one of them.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:52am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibeeflower

There is a member who stated once that she has a clause in her contract that she has the right to cancel the order if the customer buys her cake, but serves someone else's cake (like a grocery store)



That's fine if you find out well in advance (as is the case here) but usually customers will not go into this kind of detail with you. If a customer is determined to serve another dessert at the event they will find a way to do so.

If you find out about it while you are delivering the cake, you have a dilemma: you can take the cake back and guarantee a severely negative experience for everyone involved, or you can deliver the cake anyway and take the risk that someone will associate your name with a different product (a risk that can be minimized with proper labeling). This type of clause is basically a bluff.

cakesbycathy Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 1:14am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibeeflower

There is a member who stated once that she has a clause in her contract that she has the right to cancel the order if the customer buys her cake, but serves someone else's cake (like a grocery store)


That's fine if you find out well in advance (as is the case here) but usually customers will not go into this kind of detail with you. If a customer is determined to serve another dessert at the event they will find a way to do so.

If you find out about it while you are delivering the cake, you have a dilemma: you can take the cake back and guarantee a severely negative experience for everyone involved, or you can deliver the cake anyway and take the risk that someone will associate your name with a different product (a risk that can be minimized with proper labeling). This type of clause is basically a bluff.




I almost didn't bother to post since I saw this coming a mile away...
Jason, you have made your views on this kind of clause ABUNDANTLY clear. It is fine for decorators to have this contract if they so choose! It is NOT a bluff and there are plenty of decorators who will tell you that. There is NOTHING wrong with telling the client that you are protecting your reputation by only having your cake at the event.

Heather_bakes Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 1:31am

that is a problem. There are a lot of points to consider. But honestly, if it were me and it was a friend doing this then I would either explain my concern and/or offer to bake a plain iced kids cake. Maybe you could try to make a marketing opportunity of it -- add a business card in with each slice of cake sent home.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 1:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Jason, you have made your views on this kind of clause ABUNDANTLY clear.



Not in this thread.

Quote:
Quote:

It is fine for decorators to have this contract if they so choose!



I absolutely agree, as long as people who use these clauses in their contracts are aware of its status as a bluff if they are not willing to follow through and walk out with the cake they were delivering. If they are willing to execute the walk out then it is obviously not a bluff.

I don't deny that there are good reasons to have this clause in place, IMO the problem is the collateral damage caused by enforcing it.

scp1127 Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 3:10am

I completely agree with Jason's last post. The fallout will be more far-reaching for pulling a cake than for the cake to be attributed to the wrong baker.

People can have any clause in their contracts. It's their business. But that doesn't mean that the clause will not harm their business.

The solution is so simple, I don't see the issue. It's a kid's party meaning only a few parents will be there. If asked, the hostess can say it's from a grocery store. The display cake is an adult cake for the next party. The hostess isn't going to attribute a grocery store cake to a custom cake if you ask her to explain to any inquirers.

I have had my cakes at the same event as others. So far there has been no issue. If they like one of the offerings, they will inquire about that particular one.

In my business, taste and quality are paramount. But I am not so anal as to alienate a client over small issues. Reputation is not all about taste. It's also about the great, friendly, service that the company offers. There is a reason why so many new bakers can continually enter the market and make a place. It's because the previous bakers have not made a solid connection with their customers. The idea is to get them and keep them.

PinkLotus Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 4:31am

If the customer is your friend, can you just tell her to make sure, if anyone asks, that she tells them the cakes are from two different places? Surely she can understand why this would be important to you.

vgcea Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 4:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibeeflower

There is a member who stated once that she has a clause in her contract that she has the right to cancel the order if the customer buys her cake, but serves someone else's cake (like a grocery store)


That's fine if you find out well in advance (as is the case here) but usually customers will not go into this kind of detail with you. If a customer is determined to serve another dessert at the event they will find a way to do so.

If you find out about it while you are delivering the cake, you have a dilemma: you can take the cake back and guarantee a severely negative experience for everyone involved, or you can deliver the cake anyway and take the risk that someone will associate your name with a different product (a risk that can be minimized with proper labeling). This type of clause is basically a bluff.




A bluff IF the caker has no intention of following through. I asked a lawyer about this recently and he said, "if the clients agree to it in the contract and knowingly sign the contract with this knowledge, they are legally bound by it." If they choose to flout it, and the caker enforces the terms (takes away the cake), there is no basis for a lawsuit. The bad publicity is the killer though.

Jazzbythebay Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 9:20am

Thanks and appreciate all your suggestions/points of view! Whilst I do understand that once a cake is collected it is totally beyond my control, I still do not really feel comfortable if my cake is confused with a supermarket cake. Therefore, I plan on the following course on action -

a) speak to her and tell her my concerns and request her to either do one of the following -
Let all attendees at the party know (on a informal basis) that my cake is a display cake and will be served at their family party on the next day. The cake in the bag is a supermarket cake.
b)Alternatively, give her the option to purchase a plain sheet cake/cupcakes which can be put in the party bags ( same recipe of the main celebration/display cake)
C)I do intend to add a clause around customer 'Customer Courtesy' to make people aware that I am not happy to have my cake as a 'display cake' and an alternative cake served.
However, I do not intend to 'take the cake back' if the customer decides to serve an alternative cake as I do think it will be more damaging to the business and to much negativity around the whole experince of buying a custom cake from me ...in the future, I cud always decline any orders from that cust......this clause is just to raise customer awareness regarding this issue.....

Customer Courtesy - "Once a cake is ordered from us for a specific event and it is cut and ackowledged by guests at that event, our cake should be the only cake that is served to all attendees at the function and NO alternative cake should be used. This is to protect our earned reputation for producing quality and delicious cakes."

Any inputs on drafting this 't&c' will be greatly appreciated....Thanks once again

costumeczar Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 12:08pm

I think that's written well, and it does make your feelings known. Whether someone decides to follow your request or not is out of your control anyway, but putting it out there can't hurt.

The problems with the exclusivity clause is what Jason and SCP both said. Not only do you risk having a room full of bad feelings toward you if you walk out with a cake (believe me the true reason won't be given to the guests when you leave, you'll be the bad guy and the client will be innocent), but there's no way of knowing what people plan to do with the cake once you leave.

I don't do groom's cakes for weddings if I don't do the wedding cake, but I'll do the groom's cake if it's for the rehearsal dinner and I deliver it. of course, I know that not everyone is going to serve it,they'll stare at it all night then take it home with them and use it at the wedding anyway. I had one guy basically tell me that they had no intention of serving the cake at the rehearsal, they were going to take it to the wedding. So I told him I wouldn't do it and he got all snippy about it. I have no doubt that happens occasionally, so oh well.

You also don't know that someone at a wedding isn't hiding in the back with ten sheet cakes that they're going to bring out after you leave.

I've also had plenty of cakes where people told me that everyone was asking who made it. I just did one the other day that was posted all over facebook the minute it was delivered, and people were all over my page because of it. I did a dragon cake for a birthday recently and people were calling me from the party asking about it, so people do ask who made the cake.

I think that it would be pretty obvious that the cake you made and the sheet weren't the same, though, so askign your friend to tell people that they weren't the same if she was asked would proabbly be good enough?? It's hard to say, because people might assume that you made both. But then again, with the palates of cement that most people have, they think that grocery store cakes are the height of gourmet eating, so it might not matter. If they don't have your cake on the plate next to the grocery store cake to compare it to, they probably won't think about it.

diane706 Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 6:30pm

[quote="costumeczar"] The problems with the exclusivity clause is what Jason and SCP both said. Not only do you risk having a room full of bad feelings toward you if you walk out with a cake (believe me the true reason won't be given to the guests when you leave, you'll be the bad guy and the client will be innocent), but there's no way of knowing what people plan to do with the cake once you leave.

Agree! I just made a cake for a client who decided to make cupcakes for the kids and served my custom cake to the adults (who have a more "discerning palate"). I just told her to make sure everyone knew that the cupcakes were made by her. We had a good laugh about it and she already has an order in for another cake. Not only that, but we've become friends...

Quote:
Quote:

But then again, with the palates of cement that most people have, they think that grocery store cakes are the height of gourmet eating....




hahaha! Oh my goodness, Kara! You crack me up with your "bottom lines" and endless wit! When are you going to write that book?! I'll be first in line girl, especially if it contains more
"Fun With Email Scammers"!
icon_cool.gif

costumeczar Posted 26 Sep 2012 , 9:36pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by diane706

[hahaha! Oh my goodness, Kara! You crack me up with your "bottom lines" and endless wit!
icon_cool.gif




Well thank you, but I think it's less wit and more of a tiredness and despair resulting from years of dealing with the general public.

Jazzbythebay Posted 27 Sep 2012 , 4:29pm

All sorted, cust is happy to tell all guests that my cake is not in the party bag and that she will cut it the next day for her family get together....thank you everyone, it's been a good learning experience for me!

jason_kraft Posted 27 Sep 2012 , 5:00pm

You may also want to suggest that the customer label the cake container in the party bag (or provide labels yourself) to avoid confusion.

cookiemonster025 Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 2:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

You may also want to suggest that the customer label the cake container in the party bag (or provide labels yourself) to avoid confusion.




Taking it a bit too far at that point, dont you think? The person providing the cake has the right to ask how THAT cake is treated, but not to dictate how other products at the party are labelled.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 2:15am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiemonster025

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

You may also want to suggest that the customer label the cake container in the party bag (or provide labels yourself) to avoid confusion.



Taking it a bit too far at that point, dont you think? The person providing the cake has the right to ask how THAT cake is treated, but not to dictate how other products at the party are labelled.



You are absolutely right, which is why I recommended suggesting this to the customer (selling free labels tying in to the party theme as a value-add) instead of demanding it. We've done this several times when providing items for events where other desserts being served, in our case it's to identify allergens but the principle is similar.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 3:42am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzbythebay


Customer Courtesy - "Once a cake is ordered from us for a specific event and it is cut and ackowledged by guests at that event, our cake should be the only cake that is served to all attendees at the function and NO alternative cake should be used. This is to protect our earned reputation for producing quality and delicious cakes."

Any inputs on drafting this 't&c' will be greatly appreciated....Thanks once again




A good rule of thumb: Don't include anything in a contract unless it has a good reason for being there. The language you're suggesting is nice for letting customers know your stance on 'cake and switch' shenanigans, but it doesn't really have any place being in your contract unless you intend it to have a legal function.

As written and standing alone, it's toothless--and savvy customers will know that. You'd be better off leaving it out and dealing with such concerns outside of the written agreement, or tightening it up to give it some real impact.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%