CakeGeekUk Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 2:51pm
post #1 of

I got a call from one of my cake buddies this morning (we're in the UK) to tell me that a wedding venue about 2 hrs drive away from her (not one of her regular wedding venues) called her yesterday to see if they could buy a display wedding cake from her.

 

They said that they had a lot of requests from wedding couples for a dummy display cake for photographs only, with couples preferring to have cheaper sheet cakes (un-iced) left in the kitchen for serving later.

 

Needless to say, my friend was shocked, as I am.  The worst part is the venue is a good 4 star with a huge wedding business, and not a budget wedding venue. They obviously didn't want to approach a local bakery (since they were effectively going to collapse their wedding cake business) and thought someone a little farther afield might aid and abet them.

 

Has anybody else had this experience? I've had wedding couples ring occasionally looking to hire a display cake, which I refuse.  But a wedding venue that caters 100+ weddings per year is a request on a different scale.

30 replies
anaelisabethlee Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:41pm
post #2 of

AWorrying if it catches on, but would a lot of brides want the "same" cake? I would imagine (though I just wanted a tower of Krispy Kreme donuts) most couples would want to chose a theme and have pictures actually cutting in to it?

jason_kraft Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:46pm
post #3 of

AWhy would you worry about this trend? If the venue wants to buy a dummy cake and your friend is willing to provide it, just charge however much a dummy cake would normally charge (usually 80-100% of a real cake).

BatterUpCake Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:49pm
post #4 of

The point is that if people start wanting fake cakes it would put a lot of bakers out of business Jason

jason_kraft Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:53pm
post #5 of

A

Original message sent by BatterUpCake

The point is that if people start wanting fake cakes it would put a lot of bakers out of business Jason

If someone can only afford to rent a display cake along with a cheap sheet cake, they wouldn't be a customer of a custom cake shop anyway.

BatterUpCake Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:53pm
post #6 of

Who said they couldn't afford it??

jason_kraft Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:58pm
post #7 of

A

Original message sent by BatterUpCake

Who said they couldn't afford it??

If a bride is willing to settle for a rented generic display cake with no customization available, it is more than likely for budgetary reasons, since lower cost is the only advantage to such a product.

Onome Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 5:17pm
post #8 of

Do not worry. The trend will not catch on. Why you say? Most women turn into different creatures when they are getting married. They want their stuff to be special and unique. How do I know? A lot of brides I know seem to say the same thing. "I want my cake/wedding dress/wedding décor to be different". There will always be business. So charge a nice price for the dummy cakes and who knows, you might be supplying more dummies for them, because the dummy will eventually get old and tired too and they will need fresh dummies with new designs.

CakeGeekUk Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 4:28pm
post #9 of

Thanks everybody for your input. My friend has refused  to supply a display/dummy cake to the venue (maybe renting display cakes is more common in the US?)on the basis that it's damaging the tradition of the wedding cake and cheapening weddings. I agree with her wholeheartedly and think it was offensive for a venue to contact a wedding cake maker with such a request, i.e. clearly putting her and her colleagues out of business.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 4:49pm

ALol, she lost more work by refusing the order than she would have by taking it. Like it was already stated, the people wanting to rent a dummy cake will unlikely be a custom cake makers target market. Obviously cake is not important enough to them to pay $500 for, its a nice alternative for those people. Otherwise they are probably going to turn to their local grocery store or an undercutter they find online. Btw, this 'trend' has been around for years, if anything it is dying off because of brides who want to be unique.

Stitches Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 5:10pm

I have a different take on that situation. Having worked at a large banquet hall as their pastry chef, my guess is it's all about the banquet hall wanting to cut it's costs, increase it's profits.

 

They sell wedding packages that include cakes into their prices. I doubt it really has anything to do with the brides at all! If a banquet hall doesn't include the wedding cake into their pricing package than they charge each bride a cutting fee for every cake brought in.

 

Each pastry cook needed to produce 6 to 8 wedding cakes per week (4 to 6 tier cakes), plus bake and plate pastries and desserts for other banquet functions. Even using cake mixes I person was hard pressed to produce 6 LARGE wedding cakes per weekend. It was hard to find people with enough skill to decorate a decent wedding cake and even harder to find one that could bake a cake mix respectably. Than those people wanted to be paid according to their skill level and banquet halls want all min. wage kitchen employees (other than department heads). It would be a lot easier and more profitable for the kitchen to produce sheet cakes and the hall to rent out fake cakes.

 

It's never about lowering the cost for the brides (the average wholesale wedding cake sells for $1.65 p. serving in Chicago), it's always about the venue increasing their profit and lowering their overhead.

kikiandkyle Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 5:16pm

AActually I can see the potential for business in supplying the dummy cake, for the brides that say they don't want a real cake when they're at the planning stage and decide to rent the dummy, then change their mind over time - especially if they actually fall in love with the look of the dummy and want a cake from the same baker.

jason_kraft Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 5:24pm

A

Original message sent by Stitches

[U]it's always about the venue increasing their profit and lowering their overhead.[/U]

Doesn't that hold true for any for-profit business?

Stitches Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 6:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Doesn't that hold true for any for-profit business?

 

Of course it does. At some point a venue just like a cake decorator, has to decide what they want to be known for....cheap prices or quality work.

jason_kraft Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 6:23pm

A

Original message sent by Stitches

Of course it does. At some point a venue just like a cake decorator, has to decide what they want to be known for....cheap prices or quality work.

Very true...the trick is to reduce costs without impacting quality. Providing a fake cake as a rental to meet the requirements of brides with lower budgets seems like a pretty smart way of doing that.

just4fun26 Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 6:27pm

AI agree with Onome who said this won't catch on. I work with an event planner often and EVERY bride wants something different. Even when they have pics of what they want the bride wants it different.

howsweet Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 7:24pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Doesn't that hold true for any for-profit business?

I used to think so...

CakeGeekUk Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 8:14pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 

Lol, she lost more work by refusing the order than she would have by taking it.
Like it was already stated, the people wanting to rent a dummy cake will unlikely be a custom cake makers target market. Obviously cake is not important enough to them to pay $500 for, its a nice alternative for those people. Otherwise they are probably going to turn to their local grocery store or an undercutter they find online.
Btw, this 'trend' has been around for years, if anything it is dying off because of brides who want to be unique.

How could she possibly have lost more work by refusing a one-off dummy cake to a venue she doesn't work with anyway???

 

Also, this approach to wedding cakes might have been around in the low-rent wedding sector of the US market for years, but it's a new departure for the budget sector in the UK wedding market.  Occasionally, brides might have asked if it was possible to hire a display cake, but a venue requesting one to make available to all their wedding clients is a disappointment to hear for those in the wedding cake business.

jason_kraft Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 8:26pm

A

Original message sent by CakeGeekUk

How could she possibly have lost more work by refusing a one-off dummy cake to a venue she doesn't work with anyway???

Refusing the order = £0 revenue.

Accepting the order = revenue for the dummy cake, revenue for future dummy cakes in different styles, revenue for replacing dummy cakes that are damaged or wear out, and potential revenue from people who see the style of the dummy cake and want to order a real cake in that style.

kikiandkyle Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 8:51pm

APs I love that cheap brides in the UK are called 'budget' but in the US we're 'low rent'!

I'm British and had a cheap wedding in the UK. It was held in one of the most expensive hotels in the North of England, but they actually had some of cheapest wedding packages around. Nobody would have ever guessed you could get married at this venue for the low price we did.

CakeGeekUk Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 9:32pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Refusing the order = £0 revenue.

Accepting the order = revenue for the dummy cake, revenue for future dummy cakes in different styles, revenue for replacing dummy cakes that are damaged or wear out, and potential revenue from people who see the style of the dummy cake and want to order a real cake in that style.

 

Except you forgot to factor what economists refer to as "the opportunity cost" into your equation......

jason_kraft Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 9:48pm

A

Original message sent by CakeGeekUk

Except you forgot to factor what economists refer to as "the opportunity cost" into your equation......

How does opportunity cost figure in? The order from the venue would reflect the same pricing as if the order came from any other customer, so accepting this order instead of another customer's order should be revenue-neutral, assuming capacity is at 100% (if it's not there would be no need to decline another order).

Popfizz Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 9:50pm

We got married over a decade ago, and the restaurant we had our function at had a fake three tier cake. It looked gorgeous, and as I was holding the knife with my partner, we were prevented from touching the cake with it by the staff! We had our photo op and then got hustled away. I remembered how disappointed I was at not being allowed to slice it!

 

To top it off, we went back to the same restaurant recently, you know old times sake, and that fake cake was still there, and off colour. These things last years!

Phamilymama Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 1:43am

AThis is pretty common practice in many parts of Asia. Wedding cakes are fakes and even have a "slice" precut for the bride and groom for photo purposes. Kitchen cakes are served if at all because most people don't eat cake after a 9 or 10 course banquet. Also a small wedding would be in the 200 guest range.

I had over 300 people at my wedding here in the states and ordered a cake to serve 300. I sent home almost two whole tiers of cake with friends.

just4fun26 Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 3:40am

AA small wedding is 200?! I don't know muchless like 200 people. My wedding will have 20 people max! I hope to get by with about 15.

Phamilymama Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 4:27am

AI didn't know even a quarter of the guests. The parents on both sides invited a gazillion guests. I didn't mind all that much because most of the guests gave cash for the present. The parents get invited to tons of weddings also so it all comes around.

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 12:41pm

AAs long as the parents on both sides paid for a gazillion guests! We paid for most of our wedding ourselves, with the caveat that we got to decide who came.

just4fun26 Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 3:03pm

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

As long as the parents on both sides paid for a gazillion guests! We paid for most of our wedding ourselves, with the caveat that we got to decide who came.

Agreed! My family is fine with 15-20 people, however, my fiance's mom is well known in my area as she is a chef and the executive director of an expensive grocery store chain's culinary school . She knows too many people to count. So the number of guests is an interesting topic.

cakedreamer101 Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 4:00pm

Here's a twist - make the dummy cake for display purposes, but don't sell it to the facility - rent it to them.  They can use it for as long as they like, and return it to you when they are done, less a deposit for damages.  Set up a fee structure such that if they want to change the decorations to match a particular season or theme, they can pay to have you do that. 

 

Keep it in your repertoire; and when the facility doesn't use it, you can rent it out to brides who may not have the means to cover an expensive masterpiece.  Part of that deal would need to be that if they want to rent the cake for display/picture purposes, it only goes out when you get the order for the sheet cake(s) to be served from the kitchen; and they have to oblige your business with the advertising.  My thinking is that when the client sees the caliber of work that goes into a real cake, they'll come over to the 'real cake' side anyway.

 

Or did I just give away another business idea? :oops:  (Why do I do that?)

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 20 Sep 2013 , 2:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedreamer101 
 

Here's a twist - make the dummy cake for display purposes, but don't sell it to the facility - rent it to them.  They can use it for as long as they like, and return it to you when they are done, less a deposit for damages.  Set up a fee structure such that if they want to change the decorations to match a particular season or theme, they can pay to have you do that. 

 

Keep it in your repertoire; and when the facility doesn't use it, you can rent it out to brides who may not have the means to cover an expensive masterpiece.  Part of that deal would need to be that if they want to rent the cake for display/picture purposes, it only goes out when you get the order for the sheet cake(s) to be served from the kitchen; and they have to oblige your business with the advertising.  My thinking is that when the client sees the caliber of work that goes into a real cake, they'll come over to the 'real cake' side anyway.

 

Or did I just give away another business idea? :oops:  (Why do I do that?)

That's an ingenious way of looking at it...and doesn't restrict future potential as much either...

 

Generally speaking though I'm with CakeGeek on this one.  Renting a dummy to one bride for her wedding is one thing but renting it to a venue where they could use it for several weddings could equate to a lot of lost revenue for local bakeries and potentially your own, especially if they are a large venue.  You may get the money in the short term, but in the long run you could lose out financially (and depending on how much you care, become very unpopular with local bakeries!).  I can understand this request coming from more budget venues but to come from a high-end hotel is slightly surprising...hmmm...

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%