just need some advice on how to handle this issue. I know the value of requesting that deposits be paid , but I am a home baker and once in a while get those customers,who are friends of a friend .
long story short . customer is a return client who placed an order for 7 baby block cakes each 3x3 with 5 dinosaur figures , the order came in late and I took it on without any extras charges as I wasn't too busy even though it meant having just 3 days to bake , model figures and decorate cake.
she requested vanilla cake and I gave her a price. I was almost starting the cake had butter and all ready to go, got a text saying she no longer wants vanilla , she wants a chocolate raspberry torte type cake . I didn't want to haggle over a price change and just let it go. I have made cake filled , cut out the blocks and ganached , colored the fondant and made figures, barely slept the last two days working on the cake. was getting ready to cover with fondant and decorate and another message , she no longer wants cake tomorrow, the baby who's birthday it will be is sick and has been taken to the ER she wants to move pickup date to next week saturday. this is less than 24 hours before she is supposed to pick up the cake.
I'd let her know that the cakes have already been made and give her the option:
a) take them now anyway
b) try and freeze them and hope they defrost ok still with the fondant on
c) freeze them and charge a supplement to recover them for when she actually needs them
I know it's awkward when people are sick but you need to try and reduce the chances of you being out of pocket. Worst case scenario, she doesn't want them at all and you will just have to treat it as a learning experience and be sure to get deposits in advance next time. You could always maybe donate them to a local charity and get some positive marketing that way so it's not a complete loss. For what it's worth, I charge for deposits and all cakes have to be paid for in full 4 weeks before the event. If they are booked last minute, they would have to be paid for in full at point of sale. If there are unforeseen/unavoidable circumstances, it is then up to me to decide if I want to refund anything and I can base that decision on anything I have already made which may now have to be chucked. HTH and Happy New Year :-)
Thanks for the advice Snowflakebunny23, I really appreciate your input.
I have sent an email to her to say the cake has been baked and let her know how far I had gone with everything . I told her she could pick them up and store until she need it or would have to pay 1/3 of the price charged for me to change the date as I have to cover the cost for things that have been used and will be baking her another cake she came back with a WOW!!! thats so expensive .I just feel awful about the whole thing .
I think you're being very reasonable considering it's less than 24 hours until scheduled pick-up. I'd be intrigued to know what any others would do in the same circumstance? A lot of people just simply don't understand what is involved in the process of making a cake!
Depending on your recipes, it may be possible to pop them in the freezer to save yourself from re-baking. I have never frozen a fondant-covered cake but there are a lot of threads on here with people claiming to have done it very successfully (I think it is more common place in the US than here in the UK). It may not be what you would do usually but may give your client an extra (and cheaper) option... Try not to feel too bad; I know it's no-ones fault if they are sick but at the same time, it shouldn't be your responsibility to pay for it.
when representing my personal baking business - i explain to my clients that i am a one woman show--there are no walk in freezers to store cakes in that are not used on time--that because i am not a full blown bakery i cannot absorb fluctuations like that--when they order--the commitment runs both ways--i'm gonna make a cake for the date and time we both agree on--and they are gonna pick it up whether their circumstances changed or not--that's how i've always done it--
it's not a piece of custom jewelry with a long shelf life--for it to all be right the cake is merely a moment in time--blink and it's over--
you have started a sculpture for them in good faith and they need to take possession imo--
1/3 is a gift--i understand that you feel bad but there is no real reason to feel bad about the cake--
everybody feels bad about a little sick baby though--hope all goes well
AThanks K8memphis, I got a message from client saying she was fine with 1/3 of the original price so I went ahead and made arrangement for cake to be picked up as a gift for some orphans . Couple of hours later my clients sends another text she wants to pick up the cake that had already been prepared tomorrow .I am really at my wits end with this . So she wants the scrapped cake for a 3rd .
i would just refuse to make her a cake. she cant keep changing her mind.
yes for sure
Thanks K8memphis, I got a message from client saying she was fine with 1/3 of the original price so I went ahead and made arrangement for cake to be picked up as a gift for some orphans . Couple of hours later my clients sends another text she wants to pick up the cake that had already been prepared tomorrow .I am really at my wits end with this . So she wants the scrapped cake for a 3rd .
i'm gonna say a bad word twice--too effin late--no effin way--the scrapped cake was not for sale at that price--that price was to get her another cake on her new date period end of story--
tell her about the orphans and i'd tell her good bye
hope you have stopped feeling bad about this
AI am quickly moving from feeling bad to being angry. I still can't believe it. As it is I may never get anything for the cake so it's better off as a gift .i ount my losses and move on. I just need to get her off my customer list . I don't want to bake for her anymore
In the future, if you have a fully baked and decorated cake, it can be frozen if something happens. I made a huge cake for a friend's son and he ended up getting sick so they had to postpone the party until the next weekend. They froze the whole cake in the box after wrapping the box with a couple layers of plastic wrap and foil. They thawed it completely and said it tasted like it was totally fresh. The cake was decorated in fondant, too. Freezing FTW!
AThanks everyone. I told the customer the scrapped cake was not available any longer as I have given it away and was not for sale at a 3rd of the price of the ordered cake. She wrote back to say she wants to cancel the order. I told her no problem. Lesson learnt the hard way that's all I can say.
AI think you did the right thing, and you will certainly have made some children very happy in the process so draw on the positives :-D