Elcee Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 9:47pm

So, since my state passed a CFL, I've taken my hobby up a notch. I'm completely legal according to my state's regulations and even exceed them in that I have liablility insurance that's not required. I'd also like to make note that as a CFL baker, I had to take a safe food handling class (which I did gladly) but those who use a commercial kitchen aren't required to have any sort of food handling training, even though they can sell perishable items (not allowed under my CFL). I'll be very happy to do 6-10 wedding cakes a year. I'm not dependent on the income from cakes at all.

 

Part 1 of why I'm feeling discouraged:

 

There are venues here that only allow cakes from their preferred vendors and some of them won't allow from home bakers at all. That's completely OK, I get it, I can live with it. Two brides in the past year have wanted me to do their cakes (1 was a friend and would have been a gift) and couldn't because the venue they were using won't allow me to deliver there. Again, I'm OK with that, but when I see this on their Facebook page it just kills me. The 2 weddings that I couldn't do the cakes for had similar quality cakes.

 

https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10152754729695117.1073741827.440652370116&type=1

 

I'm in no way calling out this decorator; I have no idea who it is and I don't want to know. The cake isn't even bad, just mediocre (and crooked). It's just so frustrating to know (I'm not going to pretend a false modesty here) my cakes are so much better than this and I can barely make a go of it. icon_cry.gif 

 

Part 2 of why I'm feeling discouraged and probably why the pictures on Facebook bothered me today:

 

I did a few wedding cakes and then things kind of were at a standstill. Did a bridal fair a couple of weeks ago. It went great. The other vendors were RAVING over my cakes, with several saying they were the best they've seen or tasted, the attendees loved them, all good, all fun, all positive. I booked 5 consultations from it. So far 2 have cancelled (1 of them at the last minute) and have not rescheduled; 1 was a no show, she left me sitting in Panera with all my cake stuff, no response to email, call or text and I never did hear from her (it was a week ago); the one I had booked for tomorrow hasn't responded to my confirmation email or a text I sent today. Do I assume she's not going to show or assume that she is? I could be a loser either way. The 5th is next weekend so I don't know how that will go, I'm trying to stay optimistic.

 

Thanks for reading my long, rambling pity party. ouch.gif

34 replies
liz at sugar Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 9:55pm

Maybe you could talk to the venues now that the CFL law has passed, and ask to be added to their list.  Just go in confidently (with some exemplary samples) and let them know they should consider revising their policy in light of the new legislation.

 

We own a restaurant, and I can tell you that someone at the commercial kitchen you were referring to has to be certified in food safety, even though all their renters might not be.  I am certified for our restaurant, but our kitchen staff is not required to be by the state.  It is the job of the person who runs the kitchen and is certified to make sure the rest of the staff is following safe food handling procedures.

 

Liz

AZCouture Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:01pm

I would definitely have a word with those venues! Dress up, straighten that back up, go in with a copy of your insurance and business license, and whatever else. Show them what they're missing out on!

 

Now, me, on the other hand, I get frustrated because some of the venues here let anything in the door, when I know they're required to use licensed businesses. Ugh.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:10pm

AI agree with the other ladies, you have nothing to lose by approaching venues and adding to be put on their preferred list! Take all your legal papers, insurance, porrfolio and remind yourself just how awesome you are, and go in with confidence. I actually was just asked for legal proof for the first time ever by a venue. Ours also seem to be the opposite and let anyone do the cakes.

AZCouture Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:11pm

Oh hey, I have something to make you laugh. I have come to the conclusion that the human race is slowly but surely getting accustomed to, AND being impressed with mediocrity. I set this up last Friday at the art center for a fundraising event. I do it every year, it's fun. Now take a look at my cake. You wanna talk about false modesty, well shoot, this cake was BANGING and was the most awesome looking thing in that joint, ok?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuma_couture_cakes/8683068485/

 

There, I said it. Now. I had to share the table with platters of desserts that looked like they had been dumped out of boxes. Plain cookies, some sort of rolled cookie balls, and things that looked like this, but not nearly as pretty as this example:

 

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/tybmNrMTrpCc-hyujBoUQXmHHN0omcwb/promo107483353

 

I'll be danged if I didn't hear "wow, these are amazing looking, wow these are the most creative things I've ever seen, OMG who made THESE?!?" And of course most people thought I made them, so I had to repeat this phrase allllll night long. "I have no idea what those are, I didn't make them", with a pleasant smile of course.

 

icon_confused.gif Srsly? Really? I'm 2 feet from those, cutting slices out of the back (so the front was still pretty), and you're going gaga over some stupid sloppy looking tarts?!?!

 

Yeah. Mediocrity. It's an epidemic.

liz at sugar Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:30pm

Love that cake, AZCouture!  And yes, people are completely impressed by the smallest effort these days.

 

Liz
 

Stitches Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:46pm

That reminds me of all the people that gather around the free samples at Costco (as if it's their last meal) oohing and ahhing over packaged bologna or whatever loaded with preservatives junk they are handing out for free. I'm pretty sure people eat anything that's free!

 

As a Chef you're often stuck standing out in front of a buffet table. They ALL make ohhing noises to you because you are unfortunately standing there, so they assume you made it......... and if they complimented how good something was, they could eat as many as they wanted with-out looking like a piggy. Free food and gluttony produces a lot of compliments.

 

I've never accepted compliments made to my face, for real. If I wanted the truth on anything I'd try to overhear the conversations people had to each other about the items they ate. I see them pig out on a buffet but as they walked past me going home.... I'd hear them converse spilling their true feelings (good, bad or whatever).

 

Seriously AZ that cake was WAY too sophisticated for the average joe to understand or appreciate!! But I'm glad you showed us cause I KNOW that cake was a KNOCK-OUT! .....and our compliments should mean more to you then a person off the streets.

 

Add me to the list of people discouraged with the lack of appreciation for quality from consumers...............the banquet halls don't care about the cake being served.....for some reason they don't think people judge their business by the lousy cake.

Elcee Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 10:52pm

You're all right. I've sold myself to wedding coordinators, I'm on the preferred vendor list at an even nicer venue than the one that made me cry today. (Not that I've had any business from them yet, but I will!) I should go and sell myself to them. I bet I can change their minds. I'll flatter them, tell them their beautiful place needs cakes that do the venue justice.

 

 

Quote:

We own a restaurant, and I can tell you that someone at the commercial kitchen you were referring to has to be certified in food safety, even though all their renters might not be.

Liz, I can see your point but shouldn't anyone selling food be certified? I don't mean employees of restaurants and bakeries, but people renting a commercial kitchen for their own business, in their own name. In the case of renters, wouldn't it be difficult, if not impossible, to supervise everyone to make sure they are following safe procedures?

 

 

Quote:

Now, me, on the other hand, I get frustrated because some of the venues here let anything in the door, when I know they're required to use licensed businesses. Ugh.

AZCouture, I'm actually with you on that one. A peeve of mine is the little coffee shops and boutiques that are selling stuff (cake pops, cake by the slice, etc.) made by home bakers (it's a no-no to resell under our law). That cake is jaw-droppingly beautiful! I'm so sorry you had to put it next to the sloppy little tartlets. (And thanks for the nice comment on my timeline icon_smile.gif).

liz at sugar Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 11:01pm

Elcee - Yes, I think that everyone should be certified, including the renters.  I am just guessing that that is what is happening - they are treating it the same as a restaurant kitchen or bakery.  We have a commercial kitchen and indoors farmer's market opening this winter in our city - I'll ask the director about how they will police that.

 

Liz
 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 11:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 

I agree with the other ladies, you have nothing to lose by approaching venues and adding to be put on their preferred list! Take all your legal papers, insurance, porrfolio and remind yourself just how awesome you are, and go in with confidence.
I actually was just asked for legal proof for the first time ever by a venue. Ours also seem to be the opposite and let anyone do the cakes.


Eesh, typos galore, I was on my phone, sorry.

 

It could also be that if the CFL is still quite new in your state, a lot of the venues don't understand it. I was talking to the event coordinator at one of the local hotels, and she had never heard of it, and she sees wedding cakes almost every weekend.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 11:51pm

AEvery commercial kitchen rental I've seen requires all tenants and any employees who work in the kitchen to have food handler certs on file with the kitchen manager. This is not a legal requirement, it's for liability. If management finds out someone has been working in the kitchen without food safety training that's usually grounds for terminating the rental contract.

If you own your own commercial kitchen space you control your own liability, so any reputable food business will probably require some kind of food safety training for its employees, again not because of legal requirements.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 11:52pm

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

Oh hey, I have something to make you laugh. I have come to the conclusion that the human race is slowly but surely getting accustomed to, AND being impressed with mediocrity.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

H. L. Mencken

AZCouture Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 12:12am

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

H. L. Mencken

Yep.

Norasmom Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 12:16am

Also, show the venue the cake they provided and point out the errors...some people have no idea what a beautifully done, well-executed cake looks like...they really don't...

Elcee Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 12:24am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

This is not a legal requirement, it's for liability.

My point, why isn't it a legal requirement?

 

 

Quote:

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

H. L. Mencken

thumbs_up.gif

Elcee Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 12:27am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom 

Also, show the venue the cake they provided and point out the errors...some people have no idea what a beautifully done, well-executed cake looks like...they really don't...

Interesting thought. I'd love to do that but I'd be afraid of coming across as **tchy or snarky.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 12:32am

A

Original message sent by Elcee

My point, why isn't it a legal requirement?

The legal requirement for a business run out of a commercial kitchen is successfully passing a health inspection. If the business provides internal food safety training for employees (e.g. no official cert) and that's enough to pass inspection that's really all the health dept cares about. If there's no training at all and they continually mess up, they get shut down.

Of course you can argue that food inspections are not as frequent or comprehensive as they should be, but that's more of a government funding issue.

lorieleann Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 1:01am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee 

Interesting thought. I'd love to do that but I'd be afraid of coming across as **tchy or snarky.

 

 

i actually think that pointing out the problems with their current cake preferred vendors would be a misstep. You never know that nepotism that is going on on the preferred list...you could burn a major bridge if you trash talked someone's best friend's cakes!  And there might also be some other angle of the business deal that is more complicated than 'our venue thinks these bakers are the best!'  It may be "our venue thinks this baker is the best...because we funnel all our business to them and they give us a free birthday cake for each of our seven kids every year!" 

 

You cal always present yourself and your work and talk about what you can bring to the table without talking anyone else down in the process.  

cycakes Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 1:03am

I certainly agree with a lot of what the others have said and suggested.  If it hasn't already been put out there.......get in with a catering business, wedding photographer, event planner, etc.  They can recommend your business and if you choose to you could give them an incentive plan. For each referral they get a free dozen cupcakes (flavor of your choice that way you can add on to a recipe for a paid order). In return maybe you could recommend thier businesses. If you have a great quality product, it will sell itself!

 

Don't get hung up on flighty brides and no shows. Some of these women are young, they don't know the importance of keeping an appointment nor the respect nor courtesy of canceling if they can't make it. We had 6 appointments this past Saturday a.m. to show our rental unit. 4 no shows, 1 called to cancel her 11a.m. appt at ummmm 11:05 (thanks for nothing) & 1 showed up! All of the appointments were set by females, all sounded nice, responsible and interested. Most neglected to answer their phones or had their cell off when I called at 15 min late marker so I could resume what I was doing and no longer wait for them.  Only 1 actually answered and it was the boyfriend making excuses as to why she forgot her appt. I just say thank you and move on, my time is valuable so I really don't care why you're not here.

 

Develop a way to make consultations more convenient for you. Do all the back and forth you can via email (date, # of servings, venue, color pallate, etc.), save the actual consultation for reviewing their design only.  For tastings pack it up to go and they can pick it up.  You can charge for tastings if you choose.  Remember your time is valuable! If you feel the desire, charge for consultations $50 for 1 hour, with a clause in their contract they will receive a $50 credit on their deposit when they book with you. This will weed out the I only want to pick your brain and not really pay for your service junkies! This will also put a value on your time, so the $50 is paid 2 wks prior to the consultation, it is non-refundable.  Appointments can only be rescheduled with a minimum of 72 hours notice......you can make any rules you want! This is your business!

 

Remember what they say great cake isn't cheap and cheap cake isn't great!!!

Elcee Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 2:29am
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann 

 

 

i actually think that pointing out the problems with their current cake preferred vendors would be a misstep. .  

I agree for all the reasons you stated and more including that that kind of "helpfulness" always does come across as snarky. It sure is fun to think about doing it though icon_wink.gif.

Elcee Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 2:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycakes 

 

Don't get hung up on flighty brides and no shows. Some of these women are young, they don't know the importance of keeping an appointment nor the respect nor courtesy of canceling if they can't make it. We had 6 appointments this past Saturday a.m. to show our rental unit. 4 no shows, 1 called to cancel her 11a.m. appt at ummmm 11:05 (thanks for nothing) & 1 showed up! All of the appointments were set by females, all sounded nice, responsible and interested. Most neglected to answer their phones or had their cell off when I called at 15 min late marker so I could resume what I was doing and no longer wait for them.  Only 1 actually answered and it was the boyfriend making excuses as to why she forgot her appt. I just say thank you and move on, my time is valuable so I really don't care why you're not here.

 

 

Thank you for sharing this. It makes me not feel so badly about all the no shows and cancellations. My consult for tomorrow responded to my text (sent at 12:30) at 7:30 to say she can't make it and will call me to reschedule. I guess I should be grateful that she finally responded.

 

Thanks for all of your other advice too. Much of what you suggest, I'm already doing. For instance, networking and forming relationships with other wedding professionals. I really like your idea of an incentive for vendor referrals, I hadn't thought of that. I'm going to a networking event next month, maybe I'll make up little cards to that effect. A dozen free cupcakes in the flavors "their" bride selected, delivered to them on the wedding day.

 

There is no way I could get away with charging for consultations. NO ONE here does that so I wouldn't be able to even get them in the door. If I know the person (even indirectly, such as the friend of a co-worker or my neighbor's cousin) then I have the consultation at my home and lay everything out prettily like a tea party. Stranger meetings are in Panera or Starbucks or Keva Juice and they get a "Tasting-to-go box" and the consultation. My current policy for consultations is this: "Consultations for events of 100 or more guests include a complimentary tasting. For events of fewer than 100, a 'Tasting-to-go box' may be for purchased for $25. Tastings include three flavors of cake and three flavors of buttercream all my choice, depending on what's fresh that week." I've never had anyone buy a box but I've always brought them a little something to try, even if it's not a full box for free, regardless of their event size. I usually have something in the freezer I can pull out. Of course they don't know I'm going to do that until the meeting. 

 

Thanks again! icon_smile.gif

meriem Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 9:30am

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

Oh hey, I have something to make you laugh. I have come to the conclusion that the human race is slowly but surely getting accustomed to, AND being impressed with mediocrity. I set this up last Friday at the art center for a fundraising event. I do it every year, it's fun. Now take a look at my cake. You wanna talk about false modesty, well shoot, this cake was BANGING and was the most awesome looking thing in that joint, ok? [URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuma_couture_cakes/8683068485/]http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuma_couture_cakes/8683068485/[/URL]

There, I said it. Now. I had to share the table with platters of desserts that looked like they had been dumped out of boxes. Plain cookies, some sort of rolled cookie balls, and things that looked like this, but not nearly as pretty as this example:

[URL=http://ak.c.ooyala.com/tybmNrMTrpCc-hyujBoUQXmHHN0omcwb/promo107483353]http://ak.c.ooyala.com/tybmNrMTrpCc-hyujBoUQXmHHN0omcwb/promo107483353[/URL]

I'll be danged if I didn't hear "wow, these are amazing looking, wow these are the most creative things I've ever seen, OMG who made THESE?!?" And of course most people thought I made them, so I had to repeat this phrase allllll night long. "I have no idea what those are, I didn't make them", with a pleasant smile of course.

:?  Srsly? Really? I'm 2 feet from those, cutting slices out of the back (so the front was still pretty), and you're going gaga over some stupid sloppy looking tarts?!?!

Yeah. Mediocrity. It's an epidemic.

I just realised that you are The Yuma couture! Love your work! Beautiful cake as ever. Sorry had to express my little excitement :)

meriem Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 9:34am

ATo the OP I'm really sorry that your going through this, people are so inconsiderate, which is why I think that charging them for tastings will definitely weed them out, they wouldn't want to waste their money but they have no problem wasting your time. Although I understand your reasoning in not doing so. Keep your head up high, if they are so inconsiderate they are probably doing you a favour and saving you from their hassle. I hope you find others that appreciate your work to replace these orders. I'm just a hobby baker so I have no idea on business strategies as such, just wanted to try and make you feel a bit better :)

waffa Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 10:15am

AI feel for you I gave up but after a month I said no go back for the love it and things a looking up Don't give up . Oh if u think that's bad I went to a wedding were the cake was fake and the bride and groom pretends to cut the cake I was discusted but same people think its ok because it saves money

waffa Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 10:15am

AI feel for you I gave up but after a month I said no go back for the love it and things a looking up Don't give up . Oh if u think that's bad I went to a wedding were the cake was fake and the bride and groom pretends to cut the cake I was discusted but same people think its ok because it saves money

AZCouture Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 6:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by meriem 


I just realised that you are The Yuma couture! Love your work! Beautiful cake as ever.
Sorry had to express my little excitement icon_smile.gif

icon_lol.gif Thanks!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%