Stitches Posted 25 Nov 2012 , 11:33pm
post #1 of

I've never had a min. order amount for vendors buying wedding cakes. I've never had a wedding cake that wasn't profitable from a vendor, so I never set a min. on them. I have VERY limited design work and cake flavors available to vendors at wholesale pricing.............this has never been an issue, until now.

 

For the first time, I had a wedding cake for only 22 people. Well that definitely works out to be not worth turning on the oven! So I need to install a min. on these cakes too, plus a delivery charge.

 

For those of you that do sell wholesale to vendors what's your min. order amount? AND what is your delivery charge on the small cakes? I don't want a regular repeat client going to someone else for their cakes, nor do I want people to think the bad tasting cake they might buy (because I had too high of a min. charge) came from me.

 

And if they only need a small cake do you still make a top cake for their anniversary? I did this time...just because I was too embarrassed to hand someone a totally plain 10" butter cream cake with only a bottom border as a "wedding cake".

 

TIA

 

P.S. I asked about charging for the top cake (on a different thread months ago.) And I didn't change my pricing then............so I keep screwing myself out of income over those top cakes I don't get paid for..........urg............I'm such a dope!! I keep thinking I'm keeping my customers happy, but they never seem appreciative of the free cake and delivery they get from me.........feeling dumb..........

26 replies
Stitches Posted 28 Nov 2012 , 5:34am
post #2 of

Was this too taboo to ask in public? If anyone wants they could respond in private.........I'd be greatful for the input.

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Nov 2012 , 7:52am
post #3 of

No, perfectly OK to ask... but other then that I have no answers for you.  I don't sell wholesale to vendors (yet) and I don't give away anniversary tiers or cakes (and never will).  The only giveaway I do is my cake tiers are much taller then average, so really I'm giving away about 1/2" to 1" of cake per person.  I'm OK with that.  I have a minimum, everyone should unless you have a storefront where people get to pick from a case and if it's not in the case it's not for sale.  

 

Best of luck!

Stitches Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 2:54am
post #4 of

Lately I've been seeing just how much I have to learn! It sucks, but it's coming at a good time before I send out sales materials I can't retract.

 

I guess I need to put myself out there to you all and ask for more help/advise. I've always worked for someone else and I've never had to price my work and deal with customers.

 

So seriously, when you make a wedding cake you DO include the top cake in the count of servings? Do you bring up that topic with the bride when she's ordering..........what do you say? Then who tells the people at the site that they should cut the top cake?

 

I thought everyone gave away the top cake...........sheesh.........

FromScratchSF Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 3:33am
post #5 of

It's a regional thing I think - people that live in SF don't have a ton of room, so keeping an 8" cake box in the freezer taking up valuable space doesn't happen so much.  I also deal with destination weddings - as in, people come here to get married - and not every hotel has a fridge to save that top tier for the 3 weeks before they go home, then they have to mess with an airplane etc.  Stuff like that,

 

But even if I did plan on "giving" the top tier away, I wouldn't actually "give" it away - the overall cost would be absorbed into the price per serving of the other tiers.  For example, I retail a serving of cake for $8.  100 servings of cake = $800.  If I was "giving" the top tier away as SOP I'd be retailing at $9 per serving x 89 servings + 12 "free" servings = $800 (close enough).  

 

Hope that makes sense!

Stitches Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 4:27am
post #6 of

Yes, that does make sense. I never thought about destination wedding cakes, no one comes to my area (cold Chicago) as a destination wedding, that's for sure.

 

I really would like to know if it's considered "standard" to give the top cake for free or not! I don't want to be the only one in my area doing that............or not doing it if no one else is. I don't know what else to do but ask here.........at CC. I don't want to waste peoples time calling around pretending to be a bride.........but I guess I don't have any other choice.

 

Technically, I can call around and find out retail pricing on wedding cakes, but there isn't a way for me to actually know what the average wholesale price is in my market. It's hard to compete if you don't know what your competitors are doing. I guess I keep learning from the school of hard knocks.

AZCouture Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 6:03am
post #7 of

I charge for every single serving of cake. However, I offer a free 4" anniversary cake for them (fresh made). It's nothing for me to bake a 4" round from whatever orders I already have on any given weekend. It takes me 5 minutes to ruffle tip decorate it, and box it up. Beauty of the whole thing is....I hardly ever get the call a year later. ;)

tabathaba Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 11:33am
post #8 of

I never offer the top layer for free. But I definitely ask when we are discussing serving sizes and how many servings will be needed for the wedding. I usually just say something like, "So will you be serving the top tier or saving it?". Super easy, and then based on their answer I either include or exclude the number of servings from the top tier in the total number of servings. If they want to save it I just bring a box for the top tier when I set up the cake at the venue.

Annabakescakes Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 1:43pm
post #9 of

AI used to give it away, but now I charge for it, because I was resenting giving it away like that, once I figured in the cost and value of it. There are other bakeries around here that do it, but I don't really care, most of them are more expensive than me, and brides pick the cake they want, for the most part, whether the top tier is free or not.

cai0311 Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 3:34pm

I don't give the top tier away either.  I ask the couple how many servings they need (based on guest count) and then I ask if they want to save the top tier or not.  Either way they pay for the severings.

 

For an easy math example...

If a customer is expecting 100 guests and doesn't want to save the top tier I would make them a 12" round, 10" round and 6" round (104 servings according to Wilton, but I would charge for 100 because I always round down).

If a customer is expecting 100 guests and wants to save the top tier I would make a 14" round, 8" round and 6" round (114 servings according to Wilton, but I would charge for 110 because I always round down).  I then point out that the contract will have 110 servings listed, instead of 100, because even though they are not planning on serving the top tier they still have to pay for the servings since it is still work on my end.

 

No one has ever said anything about paying for the top tier.  No one expects any of their cake to be free.

Stitches Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 6:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 

I don't give the top tier away either.  No one expects any of their cake to be free.

HA, that's the difference with Vendors verses retail dealing with brides.

 

O.k. so I see two options here (tell me if you see more)

 

1. I ask the Vendor if they want to order an extra top cake to send home with the bride. (Let them ask me "what" so I can explain cakes aren't free)

2. I can use the top cake as a negotiating tool with those vendors who think everything should be negotiated.

 

I'm re-writing my brochure to get away from per person pricing. I always get robbed by them over this issue! I'm going to need some advice on cake sizing/how manu portions you all get. I'm really scared that these two issues will stop vendors from switching to me.

cai0311 Posted 29 Nov 2012 , 9:30pm

I think I am confused.  What vendors are ordering cakes, and why?  Do you mean a venue in your area is subletting work to you?  Or an event coordinator?  Or something else?

 

I am not sure how you get robbed by vendors when you price per serving.  I would that would be a more straight forward options.  You have 100 guests = this exact price.  A three tier cake can feed 74 (based off Wilton 10, 8, 6 round) - 234 (based off Wilton 16, 14, 12 round).  Now, while I think a three tier cake that feeds 234 would look unproportionate and ugly, selling based off size (number of tiers only) could allow a vendor to order a cake that feeds 234 for the same price as a cake that feeds 74.

 

Industry standard pricing is per slice. Veering from this may chase vendors away from ordering.

 

Whatever you pick, just make sure it is clear and simple for the client (vendor) to follow or they will give up and go else where.

Stitches Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 2:51am
Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 

I am not sure how you get robbed by vendors when you price per serving.  I would that would be a more straight forward options.  You have 100 guests = this exact price.  A three tier cake can feed 74 (based off Wilton 10, 8, 6 round) - 234 (based off Wilton 16, 14, 12 round).  Now, while I think a three tier cake that feeds 234 would look unproportionate and ugly, selling based off size (number of tiers only) could allow a vendor to order a cake that feeds 234 for the same price as a cake that feeds 74.

 

 

It's easiest for me to give you a link to another thread I had about this issue, then to re-write what's been happening. Please read here: http://cakecentral.com/t/750423/wholesale-wedding-cake-pricing

 

I'm selling to Chefs at Country Clubs right now (mainly because that's what I'm familiar with). But I need to go out and solicit hotels, party planners, reception halls, the rest of the world, etc...

 

So the Chefs complain if your not generous with your servings (in case they screw up cutting they don't want things to be tight). When you sell per person, it's not like they call me and say "hey we've got an extra 9 people, add those 9 servings on to our bill", no instead they just know to cut the slices smaller. Or rely on the fact that I'm not tight with my servings because they ***** about it if I am. I can't win..........

Stitches Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 4:46am

1000

This is my cake sizing chart I use for my reference. I have to admit, I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you all how many servings I'm getting out of each cake (so I hid my servings count for each cake)........because I am more generous then Wilton or Earlene's cake charts.Which I NOW realize has not been a good idea!! But, I do think the Wilton Chart is too small. No one accounts for the number of servings ruined because a dowel was there.

 

Would anyone consider sharing with me how many portions they're selling out of each cake when not using the Wilton Chart (AND include the top cake count, which I never did)?

vgcea Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 5:39am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

This is my cake sizing chart I use for my reference. I have to admit, I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you all how many servings I'm getting out of each cake (so I hid my servings count for each cake)........because I am more generous [than] Wilton or Earlene's cake charts.Which I NOW realize has not been a good idea!! But, I do think the Wilton Chart is too small. No one accounts for the number of servings ruined because a dowel was there.

 

Would anyone consider sharing with me how many portions they're selling out of each cake when not using the Wilton Chart (AND include the top cake count, which I never did)?

icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif Earlene's chart is very generous as it is, what are you, the cake fairy? Or Santa Cake? Seriously, you need to step back and decide if you want to make money out of this venture or if you want to become a cake charity. Once you decide you want to run a business, you need to put on your business person panties/boxers and act accordingly. I can promise you those chefs are not undermining their profits with regards to their work.

 

My suggestions:

1. Wilton's is the industry standard, especially when you're dealing with professionals/event caterers, use it. They should KNOW how to serve a cake. If not, include a cutting guide.

 

2. The client/Vendor pays for every serving of cake, whether they plan to keep the top tier is up to them. If you're feeling generous, offer them a small tier in the future like AZCouture suggested. For one thing, it's a way to get them to come back and order again.

 

3. For minimums, you need to decide how much is worth turning on your oven for. Most I've seen have minimums around $150.00. I learned this the hard way some weeks ago when I did a 2-tier 17 serving cake and priced per serving. Just as much work as any 2 tier cake but I short-changed myself big time. I now have a minimum for tiered cakes.

4. As an incentive, you could offer free delivery with orders that meet your minimum. Anything less, and there's a delivery charge. Just a way to make it worth your while.

 

Good luck.

cai0311 Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 4:53pm

In the thread you referenced in the above post you worte:

Since the venue gives the bride the top cake for their 1st anniversary, that means that it's my personal donation. I don't get reimbursed for the top cake at all (nor do the Chefs realize that).

 

That is the venue's choice to give the bride the top tier for their 1st anniversary, not yours.  You need to have a talk with the chef and his boss to explain pricing and why your numbers and the chef's don't always match.

 

Also, if the bride tells the chef (who then tells you) 100 guests are coming and then 109 show up.  That is not your problem.  The chef can either cut a few pieces of cake smaller to squeeze some extra slices out or he is 9 short and tells the bride "you said 100 - we provided 100".  End of conversation.  She only gets what was paid for.

 

As pointed out in my above post, I round down my servings number.  A cake that would feed 114 acccording to Wilton, I round down to 110.  That allows for the missing dowel pieces or oops pieces.  I always drop off a cutting guide.  I don't care if the chef has cut 1000 cakes, I drop of the guide to cover my butt.  If I tell a bride her cake will feed 100 and the chef only gets 60 servings, then I can point to the guide I dropped off and tell her with 100% certainty that either the chef didn't follow the guide or dropped/took the cake.

 

Wilton is the standard.  If you want to provide more servings or larger servings, fine, but you are shorting yourself money.  Which will lead to frustration and burn out because you are doing so much extra work for no compensation.

 

Stitches Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 6:17pm

I am putting on big girl underpants and getting tough (starting now), that's why I'm asking others here to find out what others are doing. Yes, I've totally been a wimp and I'm just getting used to being the "boss" of me and my business. It's been a learning thing for me......like I said, I'm used to working for someone else making cakes.

 

Am I the only one who gets angry over the per person count issue, not being fair? Not getting paid for that extra 9 people, that is enough to pay for my dinner. One thing that really got me was when someone told they had 3 less people and thought I needed to take that off the bill after the cake was baked. I SOoooo wanted to cut those portions off the side of the cake to prove my point. I need a quick easy verbal response for something like that, anyone have a favorite line? I want to say "don't be so cheap!"...........how do I say that in business language with-out pissing someone off?

 

Like I mentioned previously, I get nervous verbally when I need to confront problems because I don't want to mis-speak and anger a good customer. It's hard when you get double teamed by the chef and manager who have already talked about an issue and are ready to make their points.........I stumble just because I'm not expecting a problem. BUT I am learning options of how to handle those things, like saying "let me think about that and get back to you". I'm the artistic type personality, I wasn't born knowing business...........I have to learn it.

FromScratchSF Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 6:48pm

Being confident about your product is essential if you want to survive in business.  But you really need to step back and price your cakes.  Make it simple.  Take that above chart, assign a serving value (based on WILTON), then assign it a whole dollar amount.  If they want cake A, it costs $X.  You need to get out of how many servings the party has/shows up/gets served.  You need to get out of weather they save the top tier or not.  These are all details that are not your problem.  

 

Save yourself some headache and literally make a catalogue to give to your venue.  How and what they choose to do with the cake they picked out of the catalogue is their problem.

 

And get the money up front!

 

Good luck!  I bet those big girl pants look mighty fine on you once you break them in a bit :D

cai0311 Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 6:53pm

I don't get mad about the head count pricing, but I don't think it is unfair.  A bride doesn't get her RSVP's back until 2-3 weeks before the wedding.  And even then, there are those guests that change their mind last minute and either don't show or decide to show, or forgot to RSVP and the bride didn't chase them down to confirm.

 

When do you get the final head count from the chef?  If it is before the bride's RSVP's have come back, then the guest count is an educated guess.  If it is after the RSVP's have come back, then the number should be accurate give or take 5-10 servings (because of the people that don't understand the purpose of the RSVP).

 

I think you should have a meeting with the chef and his boss and write up a new contract covering all your terms and conditions - which will include what is done with the top tier, who is paying for the servings of the top tier, what happens when extra guests show up, what happens when guests are a no show...

 

If they give you an estimate of the guest count and then find out from the bride more people are coming, you could have a clause stating you will provide a kitchen cake for the number of extra servings at $x/serving.  But I would put a time limit on this, like 1 week before the wedding.

 

Now, if the expected count is more than what actually RSVP, a time limit needs to be put on this too when the venue can request a change.  Meaning, the venue can't call you Thursday for the Saturday wedding saying "just hear from the bride and 40 people can't come" - oh well.  They will pay for those 40 servings because you shouldn't have to rebake your cakes or give away cake.

 

If guests just don't show but did RSVP, not your problem. Tell the bride to have more responsible friends/family members.  You provided the servings, you will be paid for them.

 

Use an illistration they will understand.  For exapmle, if the chef buys 100 chicken breasts for a wedding, bakes all 100 for the reception but only 95 poeple show up - does the venue refund the bride for the 5 baked but uneaten chicken breasts?  If the chef buys 100 chicken breasts for a wedding, bakes all 100 for the reception, but 110 people show up - doesn't the venue bake an extra 10 chicken breasts and not charge the bride for them?

cai0311 Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 7:02pm

If you want to price per cake, I think FromScratchSF had an excellent suggestion on how to handle the price/servings issue.

Annabakescakes Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 7:26pm

AI don't get mad about prices per serving because I charge for the servings of the cake, not the servings they think they need. So, if I have a bride expecting 90 guests, I do the math and show that she can choose a cake to serve 80 for $XXX or one that serves 114 for $XXX. And these prices are quite different!!!

Stitches Posted 30 Nov 2012 , 10:17pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

I don't get mad about prices per serving because I charge for the servings of the cake, not the servings they think they need. So, if I have a bride expecting 90 guests, I do the math and show that she can choose a cake to serve 80 for $XXX or one that serves 114 for $XXX. And these prices are quite different!!!

Well exactly! That's perfectly logical. The thing is, I don't deal with brides I only deal with the venues. Again my original question really was if other people price by the cake size or per person. So far I think only one person here said they sell to vendors/venues and they sell by the per person.

 

I don't want possible new customers/vendors to be unhappy with my pricing by the cake if no one else does it. BUT on the other hand, if I can make the case that it's somehow easier/more logical........then I might be able to persuade those vendors to give me a chance. If I don't have all the details ironed out, they won't use me.

 

I can call around to local bakeries and find out how (and for how much) my competitors are selling wedding cakes for at retail...........but finding out what others are doing wholesale with venues is MUCH harder to find out. I haven't been able to, it would take alot of lieing and I don't want to do that to someone.

mcaulir Posted 1 Dec 2012 , 4:46am

What I don't understand, though, is why it matters that you're selling to a venue, or a bride. You should be charging what the cake is worth to you, then it's the venue's problem if they want to mark it up, or give away the top tier, or cut extra slices.

 

I'd be charging per cake rather than per serving, and give an approximate number of servings, then they can do what they like. So an 8" cake would cost $xx and you can cut approximately 20 slices. That would keep people from wanting to remove the price of 3 servings. Because it sounds ridiculous to us, but I can understand why people think that when cake is priced by the serving.

Godot Posted 1 Dec 2012 , 2:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

 Again my original question really was if other people price by the cake size or per person. So far I think only one person here said they sell to vendors/venues and they sell by the per person.

 

 

You should probably be selling per portion, not per person.

 

If a couple tells med they need cake for 100 persons. I then tell them that they can have X cake with 89 portions, Y cake with 94 portions or Z cake with 109 portions. They then have the choice how many portions to order, and the choice to cut the cake in how ever many portions they want, they have paid for the amount or portions I consider that cake to contain.

 

Every single cake that leaves my shop has detailed instructions and a cutting chart. It is then the purchaser's choice to either read, and follow, said instructions - or not. I will never, ever make the assumption that anyone 'knows' how to cut a cake.

SugarQueenie Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 3:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

I am putting on big girl underpants and getting tough (starting now), that's why I'm asking others here to find out what others are doing. Yes, I've totally been a wimp and I'm just getting used to being the "boss" of me and my business. It's been a learning thing for me......like I said, I'm used to working for someone else making cakes.

 

Am I the only one who gets angry over the per person count issue, not being fair? Not getting paid for that extra 9 people, that is enough to pay for my dinner. One thing that really got me was when someone told they had 3 less people and thought I needed to take that off the bill after the cake was baked. I SOoooo wanted to cut those portions off the side of the cake to prove my point. I need a quick easy verbal response for something like that, anyone have a favorite line? I want to say "don't be so cheap!"...........how do I say that in business language with-out pissing someone off?

 

Like I mentioned previously, I get nervous verbally when I need to confront problems because I don't want to mis-speak and anger a good customer. It's hard when you get double teamed by the chef and manager who have already talked about an issue and are ready to make their points.........I stumble just because I'm not expecting a problem. BUT I am learning options of how to handle those things, like saying "let me think about that and get back to you". I'm the artistic type personality, I wasn't born knowing business...........I have to learn it.

Wow, I can't believe someone would ask you to credit them for the uneaten cake!! I would never thing it would be acceptable to order a pizza, and then call them to say, "we didn't eat it all, can you buy it back?" Some people are so silly.

 

 

I recently started telling people that X cake costs X amount and so on.... A lot of people just don't understand the 'by the serving' pricing system. For some reason it really throws them. 

vgcea Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 9:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarQueenie 

Wow, I can't believe someone would ask you to credit them for the uneaten cake!! I would never thing it would be acceptable to order a pizza, and then call them to say, "we didn't eat it all, can you buy it back?" Some people are so silly.

 

 

I recently started telling people that X cake costs X amount and so on.... A lot of people just don't understand the 'by the serving' pricing system. For some reason it really throws them. 

I agree; especially since the number of serving is dependent on how the cake is cut. These days I use the per serving charts and pricing to determine how much cake, and the price on my end for the sake of consistency but all the client gets in a final quote is: X cake will cost X amount.

 

Still need to figure out how to word that on my website though. For now I use "x cake starts at $X per serving." 

classiccake Posted 4 Dec 2012 , 11:57am

I always ask if they plan to save the top tier.  Some people do not want to mess with saving and storing it.  Then when I show them the pricing, I say, this is the 120 servings for your guests and this is the tier for you to keep and give them the total adding in the top tier.  Now, I do use the pricing for the top tier as a "give-away" if I want to. Sometimes, if I feel like they are borderline to book the cake, I will use it as as "bonus."  I also give out coupons at bridal shows for a free top tier. 

 

But I give away the top tier at MY descretion.  At the Bridal shows I tell the bride's that I only offer this coupon at Bridal Shows.
 

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