I have never charged for a cake tasting.. but I'm thinking about starting.. When I have a tasting, I ask how many people to expect.. I have a plate for each person, with several cake samples, and a bottle of water for each...when they leave I give them a small box of 4-5 cupcakes wrapped in ribbon... Most people book with me, but some say they'll get back to me .. and I never hear from them.. I don't expect everyboday to book with me, that's not the point.. but I feel like my time is valuable too, and I put a lot into a tasting not to charge.. I'm thinking $20.. if they book with me, that money goes toward the cost of the cake, if not, that at least covers my time and the cupcakes they take home.. ?? What do you think? How should I handle this? Do I ask for the money up front, before the tasting? What if they finishe the tasting, and say.. "I'm sorry, I didn't bring any money with me.." HELP!!!
If you decide to charge you should defintely let them know on requesting a tasting what the costs are and what is included.
Whilst it sounds lovely, I definitely think you're putting too much into your tastings - and while $20 would be reasonable for what you are offering many may find that too much.
To give them "several" cake samples and then a gift box of cupcakes to take away seems like far too much of your time and money.
I offer 2 cake tastings free of charge and any thing above that they have to pay - if they book with me that payment gets taken off the final price.
A cake tasting should only be small, really small - just a taste of the cake. Cake decorators generally agree that a tasting is for the customer to get an idea of whether or not you make a nice cake, not to try your full selection and decide what they like best.
I cater for 2 people to attend a tasting, and would charge for any more people. I use nice plates and provide chilled water in nice crystal glasses - you shouldn't feel the need to buy bottled water.
Good luck whatever you decide.
Thank you so much for responding.. I'll keep that in mind for the upcoming tastings.. I guess I try too hard sometimes..
I used bottled water before I got my filter. Tap water is just nasty! You can buy a large pack of 24 bottles for just a few dollars, and just pour a bit into small glasses, no need for the whole bottle, per person.
I hate doing tastings. Seriously, do we ask for a tasting at Applebee's, or O' Charlie's? It is stupid. Just yesterday, I had a lady ask me for a taking for a 24 cake. I'd have liked to slap her. How thoughtless!
Hahaha.. I know what you mean..sometimes they are aggrivating.. I just use the little 8 oz bottles of water.. not the big ones.. and for the tastings I cut up cupcakes that I have on hand .. I have cute triangle white plastic plates (that I wash after and reuse) to put the tastings on.. I always get compliments on the tastings.. it's just really frustrating to go through all this, then they dont' sign.. :(
AYou definitely need to make sure you are charging appropriately for your tasting, either as an up-front charge or built into the price of your products. There's nothing wrong with offering nice tastings (even for small orders, as long as you are compensated), since you are selling a premium product this can help set you apart from other competitors.
If you are booking a lot of tastings but not many orders, you should make sure you are targeting the correct customer base (people who are willing to pay for quality) and look at your competitors to see if they are offering something you aren't.
When we did have tastings we would also use nice water goblets. We'd fill the goblets with chilled water from a Brita filter, it's cheaper than using bottled water and better for the environment.
In my city it is common for people to charge for tastings and most cake shops are small businesses. here's what I do.
I charge $25 and they get a 2" vanilla cake and a 2" chocolate cake both uniced and placed at the bottom of a really pretty plate. along the top of the plate there are 8 flavors of fillings. I tell them that the filling selection is random and based on what is going out of my shop fresh in the days around their tasting. I rarely have someone say they don't want to book or meet because I won't do a free tasting. Most don't ask for it but some do and love the way its done because they get a good selection and can mix and match to find the flavor combination that suits them. There is usually, vanilla BC, chocolate BC, raspberry, lemon, cream cheese, and whatever else. I offer SMBC and AMBC so usually there is a couple of each.
Prep---- Usually when I have left over filling from a cake I will use a small (Tablespoon size) scoop and make little portions in mini cupcake wrappers. I will place them all in a little plastic food container (Ziploc, glad, Rubbermaid whatever) and freeze it. Then when I get an order for a tasting I can just pop the fillings onto the plate with the fresh made cake. I feel the $25 is more for the additional time of me sitting there while they ooooh and aaaahhh my cake and cant make a decision on what they want. lol. I tell many of my clients that if they want to think about their flavor combinations and get back to me they can send me an email with their choices. This saves me time sitting there listening to their indecisiveness. I ask for it in email so that I have it in writing. It goes into their file in case there should be a discrepancy. (Which there never has been!).
If someone wants a specific flavor I will bake them their special flavor in a 6" six serving cake for them to take with them. I charge $20 for this service. It has very basic icing with shell border. No fancy details.
I've only recently started charging for tastings myself, but only do take-away. I give them a nice box with either 12 regular-sized cupcakes with filling, or 24 mini cupcakes with no filling. 3 or 4 flavours for $20. Covers the cost & time to bake & ice them.
I figure, it's your business so charge what you feel is worth your time & supplies!
Kvand, I like your idea of multiple fillings!
I offer free tastings for 100 servings or more. I will give them for party cakes, but only outright mention them for weddings. If someone with a smaller order (either party or wedding) asks for a tasting, rather than say "no", I say "Sure, we offer a personal consultation and Baker's Choice tasting for a fee of $35.00". Usually at that point, they are okay with making plans via phone & email.
For orders of 100 servings or more, it would be difficult to charge for tastings because it is just not done by other bakeries in this area.