ericaaiden Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 6:56pm
post #1 of

AHello- I have an order for a two tier fondant birthday cake- customer has requested a cake testing. Do you do this for customers? If they request to test different buttercreams & cake flavors- which I do not keep on hand- everything is made fresh to order- it would be out of pocket for me to make. Any suggestions & advice would be greatly appreciated - thank u!

83 replies
howsweet Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 7:05pm
post #2 of

The short answer is, no. I will make some extra cc's that they can pick up for free in a pack of 4 of whatever I'm baking on a given week. If someone just wants a $200-300 birthday cake, which is mostly what I do, it's not worth my while to do a formal tasting. My specialty is highly decorated cakes with simple flavors. If they want something beyond that, I recommend someone because I can't do it all. At least not for now.

cakealicious7 Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 7:07pm
post #3 of

AWell you could charge for the cake testing? I think a lot of people get customers by word of mouth and they usually dont request cake tests, also if you do end up doing it you might want to charge a deposit fee for the cake because it sounds like she might end up being a fussy customer.

therealmrsriley Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 7:19pm
post #4 of

I would recommend offering a cake tasting if you're providing a more expensive cake like a wedding cake, etc. When people purchase birthday cakes from the grocery store, they're not able to do a tasting before purchasing. If you're not sure how to respond, you can simply say that you don't currently offer tastings on birthday cakes "at this time". If you still feel like you should provide a tasting and are concerned about the expense you will incur, you could do as cakealicious recommended and offer a tasting for a price.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 7:21pm
post #5 of

ANo. I offer a consultation, which includes samples, for cakes expected to exceed $250.

I use extra batter to make sample cakes & keep them in the fridge.

Elcee Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 8:13pm
post #6 of

I also do consultations. Consultations for cakes of 100 servings or more (regardless of the occasion) include a complimentary tasting-to-go box. The box contains 3 flavors of cake and 3 flavors of buttercream, all my choice, depending on what I have on hand. For cakes of fewer than 100 servings, a box may be purchased for $25.

 

For some reason, I haven't been able to upload pictures into posts...here's a link to a picture of one of my boxes:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater

ericaaiden Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 8:22pm
post #7 of

AThank you all for your wonderful advice :D

JWinslow Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:41am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee 

I also do consultations. Consultations for cakes of 100 servings or more (regardless of the occasion) include a complimentary tasting-to-go box. The box contains 3 flavors of cake and 3 flavors of buttercream, all my choice, depending on what I have on hand. For cakes of fewer than 100 servings, a box may be purchased for $25.

 

For some reason, I haven't been able to upload pictures into posts...here's a link to a picture of one of my boxes:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater


Very Nice!  Love the idea. 

ellavanilla Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:53pm
post #9 of

i offer cupcakes and to apply the 1/2  price of the cuppies to their order if they purchase a wedding cake.

ColinLeger Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:26pm

Elcee, I like your 100 and up but what happens if they don't order from you, you're out the sample.

 

We charge for the samples but take off the samples off the order. If they don't order then we're not out, they get a quality product!

ericapraga Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:35pm

The tasting box is a great idea! I do tastings for wedding cakes and the more expensive/ larger specialty cakes. I am still trying out the best way to do so, but the last tasting I did, I made mini, un-frosted 2 layer cakes (cut out with a cookie cutter)

 

in the different basic flavors and fillings and a dollop of frosting on top. I charge a small fee ($25) for about 14 combinations and if they order, it comes off their final price.

 

I am thinking of switching to something more like the tasting box- a few cut up squares of cake and little cups of fillings and frosting. Then they can mix and match at will.
 

I offer 3 (well now 4) basic flavors of cake-vanilla, chocolate, marble (and now wedding) and I make a sheet pan of the cake. vanilla on one side, chocolate on the other and marbled in the middle. My basic filling flavors are all based on buttercream, so I make a vanilla batch, then separate it into vanilla, chocolate, raspberry and strawberry. I also offer chocolate mousse and strawberries with whipped cream,  so I make a batch of whipped cream, then add chocolate or strawberries. I have found that it costs me about $5 to make this, and I present it in a nice way, so it makes a good impression. I am also not making huge quantities, so there is really nothing left over!

 

If they want a specialty flavor, that costs extra, but I have a scaled down my recipe to only make a single 6" cake, so there is not too much waste.

FullHouse Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 10:35pm

Rather than having to tell a client, "no" I don't offer a tasting, I let them know "Of course you may have a tasting, for order under 100 servings, there is a $35 fee for a bakers choice tasting."  Would you like to submit and online payment to schedule your tasting/consult appointment?  I've only had a few say yes, but they change their minds when I mention prepayment and decide to order w/o the tasting.   If ever it occurred that they did the tasting and then upped their order to over 100, I would apply that fee to their order.  There is also a line on my contract for the tasting fee of $35 and it will be added to an order if the client "estimated" 100 servings and then comes in way under, as I once had someone tell me 70, then change to 100 in the same conversation and ask for a free tasting - I let her know about that line in my contract.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 1:05am

I do tastings for wedding cakes over 60-70 servings, but not for birthday cakes or smaller wedding cakes. I've only had one bride get all mad that I wouldn't do a tasting for her 20-person reception, but it doesn't make sense financially to do that. People in this area are starting to charge for tastings, though.

Elcee Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 3:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinLeger 

Elcee, I like your 100 and up but what happens if they don't order from you, you're out the sample.

 

We charge for the samples but take off the samples off the order. If they don't order then we're not out, they get a quality product!

Yes, it happens, but they don't actually cost me all that much. I've also done some for no-shows, those kill me.

 

I did a consult with a tasting recently where, just by coincidence, I had extra cake batter and buttercream on hand so the wedding couple got to sample 4 flavors of cake and 5 buttercreams. A couple of days later she asked to sample yet another flavor. I gave her my spiel (learned here on CC thumbs_up.gif) about the tasting being to see if they like my style, texture, etc. and not about sampling a whole menu of flavors. They went elsewhere.

 

NO ONE in my area charges for samples. I would be shooting myself in the foot if I tried to do that. I've never had anyone ordering an under 100 serving cake purchase a tasting box, either. 

 

 

 

Quote:
There is also a line on my contract for the tasting fee of $35 and it will be added to an order if the client "estimated" 100 servings and then comes in way under,

FullHouse, I do, too. I tell them that if they received a complimentary tasting based upon the information that their event will be for 100 or more and then order a cake of fewer servings the $25 will be added to the final cost of their cake.

Elcee Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 3:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericapraga 

The tasting box is a great idea! I do tastings for wedding cakes and the more expensive/ larger specialty cakes. I am still trying out the best way to do so, but the last tasting I did, I made mini, un-frosted 2 layer cakes (cut out with a cookie cutter)

 

I am thinking of switching to something more like the tasting box- a few cut up squares of cake and little cups of fillings and frosting. Then they can mix and match at will.
 

 

ericapraga, I am putting together a box tomorrow. I'll take and post pictures of the components so you can see them. What I put in varies depending on what I've been baking.

Elcee Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:36am

OK, I just found this on my Facebook page. I've been focusing on networking with other wedding professionals in my area. As part of that, whenever I do a tasting I put together an extra box to give to a planner, photographer, etc. Well, the photographer I hit up yesterday wrote the nicest blog post about (and took amazing pictures of) one of my tasting-to-go boxes!

 

You can easily see how I package the boxes. The cake samples are 3" rounds. I can cut 4 of them from an 8". The buttercreams are in 1.5 ounce jello shot cups. I make it into a sweetheart box by adding 2 napkins and 2 little plastic forks.

 

http://meganhardrephotography.com/cake/

cj72 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:50am

For me I just explain that since I am a home baker I do not readily have several flavors available daily for them to taste. I have them give me 2-3 flavors they would be most interested in and then look at my orders.  If there is a week coming up soon where I have a couple of their options I make a "to go" cupcake box with different flavor combinations and then decorate them to mimic the colors or flowers, etc that we have discussed for their cake to help with the presentation.  It also gives them a chance to taste the MMF which many have not had and in general come with the knowledge that they don't like fondant.  It has always worked well for me with the larger specialty or wedding cakes.  Most others don't ask.  I am having trouble attaching a photo but there are a few in my profile.  (green/ white  and black/ white)

cj72 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:53am

A little package of sample for a wedding consultation in her colors and a few of the ideas thus far. Here is one.  It worked this time. The bride and groom were able to discuss various mediums used for the flowers for their cake as well with this option and see the difference between green on white and white on green, etc. 

Elcee Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cj72 

A little package of sample for a wedding consultation in her colors and a few of the ideas thus far. Here is one.  It worked this time. The bride and groom were able to discuss various mediums used for the flowers for their cake as well with this option and see the difference between green on white and white on green, etc. 

cj72, was this for a cupcake order? My cakes and cupcakes have very different textures so I never make cupcakes as samples for a cake order.

cj72 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:58pm

Elcee, No it was for a tiered wedding cake. I don't find that my cakes and cupcakes are extremely different flavor wise (which is what the taster is for).  It might not work for everyone but it works for me.  I can package them neatly and not have tons of wasted cake or worry about small pieces of unfrosted cake drying out, etc.  Just a suggestion.  I have only done "official" tasters about 5 times in my 3 years as most of my business if from referrals where they tasted cakes at someone elses event, etc but all 5 times they ordered and were happy with the final results.   Elcee your box is very fun but since I don't do them often I would spend too much time and money on printing up labels for each flavor.  I think it is great as your marketing tool with networking but for the random tester without knowing what flavors would be chosen each time it won't work for me at this time.  Great idea though.  Hope the OP finds something that works great for her individual need.

Elcee Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 6:55pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cj72 

Elcee, No it was for a tiered wedding cake. I don't find that my cakes and cupcakes are extremely different flavor wise (which is what the taster is for).  It might not work for everyone but it works for me.  I can package them neatly and not have tons of wasted cake or worry about small pieces of unfrosted cake drying out, etc.  Just a suggestion.  I have only done "official" tasters about 5 times in my 3 years as most of my business if from referrals where they tasted cakes at someone elses event, etc but all 5 times they ordered and were happy with the final results.   Elcee your box is very fun but since I don't do them often I would spend too much time and money on printing up labels for each flavor.  I think it is great as your marketing tool with networking but for the random tester without knowing what flavors would be chosen each time it won't work for me at this time.  Great idea though.  Hope the OP finds something that works great for her individual need.

I would love to get to a point where I'm not doing so many tastings but it goes with the wedding territory. I'm not as established and so need something that will be memorable to my wedding couples.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 1:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee 

OK, I just found this on my Facebook page. I've been focusing on networking with other wedding professionals in my area. As part of that, whenever I do a tasting I put together an extra box to give to a planner, photographer, etc. Well, the photographer I hit up yesterday wrote the nicest blog post about (and took amazing pictures of) one of my tasting-to-go boxes!

 

You can easily see how I package the boxes. The cake samples are 3" rounds. I can cut 4 of them from an 8". The buttercreams are in 1.5 ounce jello shot cups. I make it into a sweetheart box by adding 2 napkins and 2 little plastic forks.

 

http://meganhardrephotography.com/cake/

what do you estimate it costs you to put that box together?

Elcee Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 3:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 

what do you estimate it costs you to put that box together?

The actual cost of the supplies I use is less than $6, INCLUDING the cake and buttercreams. I rarely bake specifically for a tasting so that time isn't included in that. It's hard to tell how much time that would be but since I get 4 tasting servings from 1/2 batch of cake batter then I'd guess about 20 minutes per flavor (about 1 1/2 hours to mix, bake and clean up after 1 8" round).

 

I tend to just make a little extra batter and freeze it to bake for tastings. I also try to cluster the tastings to minimize waste.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 3:21am

I have only done one tasting and I had frozen batter that I used. I wish I had charged for the tasting though because they just decided they can't really afford a wedding and cancelled the order. We had just made their order smaller about a week ago....now they completely cancelled.....Boooooo! I was really looking forward to making the cake. I really like your kit...

daprincessnora Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 6:04am

A

Original message sent by Elcee

I also do consultations. Consultations for cakes of 100 servings or more (regardless of the occasion) include a complimentary tasting-to-go box. The box contains 3 flavors of cake and 3 flavors of buttercream, all my choice, depending on what I have on hand. For cakes of fewer than 100 servings, a box may be purchased for $25.

For some reason, I haven't been able to upload pictures into posts...here's a link to a picture of one of my boxes: [URL=https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater]https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater[/URL]

Thanks for your advice Elcee , I like your tasting to go boxes!

daprincessnora Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 6:30am

A

Original message sent by Elcee

I also do consultations. Consultations for cakes of 100 servings or more (regardless of the occasion) include a complimentary tasting-to-go box. The box contains 3 flavors of cake and 3 flavors of buttercream, all my choice, depending on what I have on hand. For cakes of fewer than 100 servings, a box may be purchased for $25.

For some reason, I haven't been able to upload pictures into posts...here's a link to a picture of one of my boxes: [URL=https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater]https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497737583624608&set=a.377050832359951.90561.368152219916479&type=3&theater[/URL]

Thanks for your advice Elcee , it looks that you're just a customer oriented person and that's why you came up with this lovely idea for your customers, if it was me a customer who buys a cake for a wedding I surely would like to taste the cake ! In my opinion even if the order was less than 100 servings i would do it and moreover free of charge, I call it customer service ! At the end if I'm confident enough of the quality of my cakes, frostings and decors I wouldnt be worrying too much about the number of clients who would drop out and cancel their order. Plus for beginners, this is something extra to get more footfalls into your little bakery, nowadays customers are not just focussing on the main product, but more on the services attached with it, they just feel more confident about their decision when having a trial, and it also can be taking from another side, if you've done like 10 tastings and 7 out of them didn't compelete the order it might be a clue for you to revise your recipes and flavours to make it more rich and tasty, so Im thinking that it worth the "loss" just to get a feedback from the customer that help you to improve. I understand how the blogger was amazed when she got the box from you as it's really something not common it shows how sweet and considerate person you are.

I like your tasting to go boxes! And one day if I went and established a cake business I will consider this idea.

Best of luck always!

FullHouse Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by daprincessnora 


Thanks for your advice Elcee , it looks that you're just a customer oriented person and that's why you came up with this lovely idea for your customers, if it was me a customer who buys a cake for a wedding I surely would like to taste the cake ! In my opinion even if the order was less than 100 servings i would do it and moreover free of charge, I call it customer service ! At the end if I'm confident enough of the quality of my cakes, frostings and decors I wouldnt be worrying too much about the number of clients who would drop out and cancel their order. Plus for beginners, this is something extra to get more footfalls into your little bakery, nowadays customers are not just focussing on the main product, but more on the services attached with it, they just feel more confident about their decision when having a trial, and it also can be taking from another side, if you've done like 10 tastings and 7 out of them didn't compelete the order it might be a clue for you to revise your recipes and flavours to make it more rich and tasty, so Im thinking that it worth the "loss" just to get a feedback from the customer that help you to improve.
I understand how the blogger was amazed when she got the box from you as it's really something not common it shows how sweet and considerate person you are.

I like your tasting to go boxes! And one day if I went and established a cake business I will consider this idea.

Best of luck always!

The concern is not losing the order because a customer does not like the taste of the cakes- in fact, tasting the cakes is what should make them fall in love with your product and book with you.  I also feel that the goal of a tasting is not obtain feedback from the customer regarding your product.  Of course, it makes sense to note clients preferences, but by the time you are selling cakes professionally, you should have done your research and be confident in your product.  Testing your flavors is best on family and friends, not potential clients.

 

The issue is time, which is an expense.  It takes time to package the tasting box, time to prep for the consult and time to spend at the consult.  In business, time is also worth $ and is an expense.  If you calculate the cost of the time when offering a tasting, you will see that providing tastings for smaller orders does not make financial sense.  To-go tastings are a bit more affordable, but still not worth it from a business standpoint.  If the customer feels they really want that tasting, they should feel it is worth their money to have one, if it's not worth it to them to pay the fee, then it is not worth the businesses expense in time and product.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 3:12pm

Hmmmm...if you do a lot of large cakes I wonder how logistically difficult it would be do offer a group tasting? Good or bad idea?

daprincessnora Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:00am

A

Original message sent by FullHouse

The concern is not losing the order because a customer does not like the taste of the cakes- in fact, tasting the cakes is what should make them fall in love with your product and book with you.  I also feel that the goal of a tasting is not obtain feedback from the customer regarding your product.  Of course, it makes sense to note clients preferences, but by the time you are selling cakes professionally, you should have done your research and be confident in your product.  Testing your flavors is best on family and friends, not potential clients.

The issue is time, which is an expense.  It takes time to package the tasting box, time to prep for the consult and time to spend at the consult.  In business, time is also worth $ and is an expense.  If you calculate the cost of the time when offering a tasting, you will see that providing tastings for smaller orders does not make financial sense.  To-go tastings are a bit more affordable, but still not worth it from a business standpoint.  If the customer feels they really want that tasting, they should feel it is worth their money to have one, if it's not worth it to them to pay the fee, then it is not worth the businesses expense in time and product.

Hello, You made a very good point at "time" consumed at all of the tasting process, which is really valuable and I haven't thought about it this way, however, I still think that feedback would be always required and having a great tasting flavours on hand doesn't meen they wouldn't need revision for years, if its that way, why some bakeries have tastiest cakes than others ? I also think that a feedback of family and friends might be a slightly biased (I'm saying that based on a personal experience only) being exposed to more diverse opinions is always healthy and insightful. I believe that Elcee had your point in mind plus she want also more exposure as she mentioned before that's why she came up with the brilliant idea of To-go boxes.

Thanks for stopping by and enriching this thread !

costumeczar Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 10:31am

A

Original message sent by BatterUpCake

Hmmmm...if you do a lot of large cakes I wonder how logistically difficult it would be do offer a group tasting? Good or bad idea?

I tried that a couple of times and people around he do NOT like it. They want an individual appointment.

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