I did my first cake tasting yesterday. The bride did not really know what she wanted for design, so I made several suggestions. Then they tried three flavors of cake. They then got up to leave and told me to just email them a quote, but she hasn't even picked what she wants! I saw in her pile of paperwork tht she had already been to several other bakeries for quotes. Are they just out to eat free cake or what?
I have two more tastings today and would really appreaciate some advice. I mean I offered champagne, i had nice music playing, and tried to make it a really special thing for them. But I want to actually get some contracts out of this....any advice? Maybe a run through of how an exact tasting goes for you? I'm a newbie dealig with brides.
Offering champagne with cake is very very tricky. It makes the cake taste "off" to some people. It depends on the specific flavour of cake/icing and the specific taste buds.
Also do NOT have any air freshener, scented candle or other fragrance going as it also causes interference for the flavours.
MUCH better to simply offer neatly cut cubes of un-iced cake and small piles of icing on a (fancy OK) china plate. Use good dessert forks and high end paper napkins. Have some water ready if they would like. High end tasting--have some oolong tea brewed, that does not require milk or sugar to be very tasty. Use china cups/saucers. Again avoid the flavoured teas like Earl Grey, stick to light neutral varieties.
Weddings bring out the full spectrum of decision making. If you watch "say yes to the dress", then you learn about the many ways that some brides are indecisive. That's human nature. You have to watch the interactions like a hawk--specifically if there are female relatives at the tasting.
I can make my mind up pretty quick (like 3 shopping stops MAX) but my sister will agonize for years if she gets the chance. The rest of us learned to give her a VERY short list of options to make decisions from.
For such indecisive brides, ask simple questions like "where is reception", "what time of year", "what theme", "any special diet" like kosher or vegetarian, "any allergies or preferences" like dairy free or whatever, "what flowers". Make the brides feel comfortable that they can take their time (withint a short list of options).
You can get some better at this if you keep a large set of wedding cake pictures printed out and sorted by style. I always asked the questions, and then started pulling pictures, and the cake planning session always ended up in the right place--bride happy with her choice. But it always was a combination of designs and flowers. OK I also have a reasonably good memory for pictures.
AI book about 90% of my consultations but only about 1/2 book at the time of the tasting. The rest take anywhere from 1 day to 3 months-just depends on the bride.
I offer large bite size pieces of cake (about 5-7 flavors) and 2 tablespoons of filling (6-8 flavors) and then a big scoop of buttercream. I make sure the flavors are not the basic, run on the mill. For example, Saturday's couple tried (cake) champagne, pumpkin, almond, strawberry and red velvet. Then fillings were strawberry, lemon, apple, chocolate ganache, buttercream and something else but I forget now. The bride said this was their third tasting but at the others she only had yellow, chocolate and white. I got the booking and it was because my cake stood out.
I tell all clients to bring pictures of cakes they like as a starting point for design, color swatches and any design elements used throughout the wedding (something from the dress, invitations, save the dates...). This gives me an idea of what they like. I don't do sketches for people unless they book me. So I take really good notes, copy the pictures they brought (or have them emaile he pictures of they were on their phone or iPad). If they book I make 2-3 sketches for them to pick from/tweak. I keep the designs within their budget, which I learned at the consultation. I simply ask what price they don't want to go over.
As for a quote, I tell them buttercream cakes start at $4/serving and fondant covered cakes start at $4.50/serving. So your cake will be a minimum of $XX (price per serving X expected guest count). The only up charge for my cakes are sugar flowers and really detailed piping. All my flavors/fillings are the same price so it is easy for me to give them a price. If they are not sure if thu want sugar flowers I say here is the price for the cake without he flowers. If you decide you want flowers I will quote that we decide on the type and quantity.