Wedding Venue Issues

Business By kisamarie Updated 21 Jul 2014 , 8:49pm by cai0311

kisamarie Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 5:59pm
post #1 of 20

This is a bit of a rant but I would really like to see what other business owners would do in my shoes....

  Okay, so I am a really small business and I am CFL.  I had a wedding venue owner contact me and ask me to bring her samples and interview with her to see if she wanted to use me as her exclusive cake designer.  After a month of hee hawing over a contract, that I had to explain the pricing tier to her over and over again, which I agreed to pretty low prices to get my foot in the door, lower than what I offer my private brides.  She told me I could control the upgrade pricing and that 90% of her brides would upgrade.  

   We finally pounded out the details.  One of which was that she would pay me each month for the months upcoming weddings.  Also that I could do my cake consults for her brides once a month at her venue.   This contract was changeable or terminable (if that is the right word) at any time by either party.  SO.... after 5 months of work for her, the checks were coming in later in the month than I expected, which wasn't giving me time to order supplies, especially when I had a wedding, or 3, the first weekend of the month.  So I asked her if she could please have the checks here by the first and the reason why I was requesting them, time, gas, cost of supplies and me driving all over tarnation to find what I needed for the cakes at the beginning of the month.

   Needless to say, she got really mad.  Like my request was ridiculous.  I explained that my private brides had to have their cakes paid for completely 30 days in advance of the event so that I had time to order what I needed, so in our agreement I was already going against my personal policy.  I explained that this was no longer working out for me due to the rising costs of ingredients, gas etc.  I also note that less than 20% of her brides have upgraded.

  Then she sends me an email saying that she is bringing in 2 other cake vendors to offer her brides more options and that I am no longer allowed to do my consultations at her venue.

  I am at a loss, she knows that I don't have a space to do my consults and I feel like she is really trying to just faze me out.  I have done 38 Weddings so far this year and most have been for her.  Is this a blessing in disguise?

19 replies
-K8memphis Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 6:17pm
post #2 of 20

it was not a good deal for you -- do your consults at a coffee shop or restaurant -- making wedding cakes is so different of a job-- it's a hurry up and wait then bam get it set up with precision and freshness peaking -- if she's never done it -- she won't know how to appeal to her next cake people either 

 

dust off your shoes and move on

kisamarie Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 6:32pm
post #3 of 20

Thanks K8, yes I am going to do this weekends at a local coffee shop, and then I am going to take my samples to a local winery that does a few weddings and see if they will allow me to use a table in their main tasting room once a month.  Maybe it will give them more exposure and I can drink a bottle when Im done meeting with 8 brides in one day, lol ;)

-K8memphis Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 7:09pm
post #4 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by kisamarie 
 

Thanks K8, yes I am going to do this weekends at a local coffee shop, and then I am going to take my samples to a local winery that does a few weddings and see if they will allow me to use a table in their main tasting room once a month.  Maybe it will give them more exposure and I can drink a bottle when Im done meeting with 8 brides in one day, lol ;)

 

 

bwuwahahaha-- think i'll schedule a consult!

kisamarie Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 7:11pm
post #5 of 20

;) lol!

Auntie Frenchie Posted 11 Jul 2014 , 3:58pm
post #6 of 20

I know this isn't what you asked...but is she buying the cakes from you and then selling them to the brides? That may not be allowed under your CFL. It's not where I live.

kisamarie Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 4:34pm
post #7 of 20

AAs long as I don't exceed 50,000$ a year, it's still ok here in Texas, there isn't anything in the by laws about supplying to venues.

TheItalianBaker Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 5:47pm
post #8 of 20

AWell it's too late now, she kinda kicked you out.. But I can't really stand people like this, they are doing it wrong and they get mad if you try to take them back on track! That's ridiculous!

How much was your profit working with her? I hope you didn't lower your price too much! Also, coffee shops are always a good spot for your consultation, I would only make cake tastin to go so the brides can sample everything at home. It feels weird being at Starbucks and start eating your own slice of cake, isn't it?

MimiFix Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 6:34pm
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheItalianBaker 

It feels weird being at Starbucks and start eating your own slice of cake, isn't it?

 

Meeting for a consultation at a restaurant or coffee shop sounds great, it's a way to chat face-to-face. Order something to drink - a cup of tea or coffee. Your potential clients can take their samples home. If you need to watch them eat cake, there are other places to meet, such as a community center or town hall.

 

Sorry, but as a former bakery/cafe owner I find it unprofessional and rude to eat the samples while taking up seats in a business that sells food. 

Bluehue Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 6:34pm
post #10 of 20

Console yourself with the thought that what she has done to you she will do to the two new cakers....

and smile....for you have dodged a bullet.

 

Never would i accept less for my hours, hard work, utility costs, delivery and everything else that goes into creating a cake  - just so as someone else could take a slice of my pie.

 

I have read many a scenario like this here on CC and other forums over the years....where cakers think that beholding to a venue is a good thing - only to find out that after all the long hours and effort, they are being ripped off.

It is sad - it is cruel ......................................... and it causes more drama than what it is worth.

 

All the best with speaking to the Winery.  :)

Bluehue Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 6:37pm
post #11 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

 

 

Sorry, but as a former bakery/cafe owner I find it unprofessional and rude to eat the samples while taking up seats in a business that sells food. 

   People do that?  :o

   Good grief - that is indeed rude .............................and as you say - unprofessional

TheItalianBaker Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 7:14pm
post #12 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluehue 
 

   People do that?  :o

   Good grief - that is indeed rude .............................and as you say - unprofessional

mmmmhh.. yes I saw it last year in Colorado!

CoutureCake Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 9:33pm
post #13 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluehue 
 

Console yourself with the thought that what she has done to you she will do to the two new cakers....

and smile....for you have dodged a bullet.

 

Never would i accept less for my hours, hard work, utility costs, delivery and everything else that goes into creating a cake  - just so as someone else could take a slice of my pie.

 

I have read many a scenario like this here on CC and other forums over the years....where cakers think that beholding to a venue is a good thing - only to find out that after all the long hours and effort, they are being ripped off.

It is sad - it is cruel ......................................... and it causes more drama than what it is worth.

 

All the best with speaking to the Winery.  :)


THIS!!!!  Send a note saying that you are terminating the contract due to conditions not having been followed on her end, and RUN the he** away because she's going to be doing this to other vendors.  Heck, she probably was double-charging the brides what she was paying you for the cakes anyway, that's why they weren't doing the upgrades. 

 

But you say you "don't have room" - let me explain how you do...  You have an area to which you create cakes - two folding stools on the other side of the counter is all you need and is PLENTY to get the job done (cuts down on others wanting in on the consults).  Honestly, if your CFL allows it, have them meet with you where you have the space and don't need to ask permission to meet there.  One thing I've said MANY times, you're better to have 15 wedding cake orders that pay you a living wage than 38 ones that you lose money on!!!  You're in BUSINESS, and the reason to be in business is to MAKE MONEY, if you want to be the cheap baker, Walmart will hire you, pay you above minimum wage, take away any issues with overhead for your work, and you'll have a lot more flex in your schedule!

costumeczar Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 4:57pm
post #14 of 20

I would advise against bringing people to your house for consults. You don't know who they are, it's disruptive for other people who are at home, and depending on what's going on it can be distracting for the clients. A lot of states have rules against bringing clients to your house anyway. Just meet people at a local Starbucks or somewhere like that and package up some samples for them to take home.

 

I share an office space with another wedding pro who works form home, so we split the rent, we can leave our stuff there and not have to lug it back and forth, and it works out for both of us.That might be an option for some people.

costumeczar Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 4:58pm
post #15 of 20

Oh, and tell the woman at the venue to go pound sand.

cai0311 Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 7:26pm
post #16 of 20

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

I would advise against bringing people to your house for consults. You don't know who they are, it's disruptive for other people who are at home, and depending on what's going on it can be distracting for the clients. A lot of states have rules against bringing clients to your house anyway. Just meet people at a local Starbucks or somewhere like that and package up some samples for them to take home.

I disagree about not having consultations in your home. I operate a licensed home bakery and I hold all my consultations in my dining room. I schedule them in the evening so my husband is home (we don't have kids so no distractions or inconvience form kids) or on weekends depending on my delivery schedule.

In my experience people are glad to see the home conditions their cake is being baked in. I know the arguement that people can't see in a restaurant's kitchen so my home is none of their business. But restaurants are inspected regularly. My home was only inspected when I applied for my license. So for all the client knows I live like a pig and cleaned my home for the inspection.

This is also convient for me because I don't have to pack up samples, pictures, supplies... to take somewhere else. I know myself, I would forget something different each time!

I agree with Mimi that a coffee shop is not professional. That place is in the business of selling food stuff. You bringing in samples takes business away from them.

kisamarie Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 7:26pm
post #17 of 20

I don't do consults from the house, people sometimes come pick up cakes or drop off payments, but I no longer have a dining room and my kitchen is wall to wall cake stuff, dummies, tools, refrigerators, etc.  There's just no space, lol.  We are building a new house in the next two years, so trust me, I am going to make sure there is an out building with a commercial kitchen in it!!!

kisamarie Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 7:32pm
post #18 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 
 


I agree with Mimi that a coffee shop is not professional. That place is in the business of selling food stuff. You bringing in samples takes business away from them.

 

I would probably agree if Strabucks actually made their own food, but they dont, and I always buy coffee and so do my guests, while I am there.  If they sold wedding cake, I could see the issue, but they sell pastry and coffee cake, I have always looked at it as bringing them business by doing the consult there.  JMO

costumeczar Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 7:51pm
post #19 of 20

I still don't like bringing people to my house, and in VA they don't want you to do it anyway. There are rules about having clients come to pick things up, and having people come for consults is borderline. I'd assume that other states have regulations about bringing people to your house, but I'm sure it varies.

 

It's up to the individual to do what they're comfortable with, but I'd say that if you're going to do a lot of consults you should look into getting a dedicated office space, whether that's an attached office at your house, or a separate location. I know people who have come to consults with me who told me that they were going to a consult with another home-based baker but when they saw that it was at her house they drove away. I was sitting there thinking "well, I work from home" but I was sitting in my office, so I guess that met their standards for something.

cai0311 Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 8:49pm
post #20 of 20

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by kisamarie 

I would probably agree if Strabucks actually made their own food, but they dont, and I always buy coffee and so do my guests, while I am there.  If they sold wedding cake, I could see the issue, but they sell pastry and coffee cake, I have always looked at it as bringing them business by doing the consult there.  JMO

 

My local Ford car dealership doesn't build their own cars, but I don't think they would like to set up a Honda table in their lobby. I don't see how a restaurant (and Starbucks is considered a restaurant) would be okay with an outside source bringing in food.

In 7 years no one has said anything negative about my business being in my house. Now, when people leave - who knows what is said. But for 2014 I have a 94% booking rate, so I can't imagine most people care.

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