Please Calm Me Down Before I Write Something I Regret...

Business By FrostedMoon Updated 15 Oct 2014 , 10:48pm by quinncakes

FrostedMoon Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 3:52am
post #1 of 47

I got emails today that included both the infamous "can you make the frosting less sweet" and the "I've been able to get specialty cakes for my children every year to server 30+ people and have been able to pay $70 or less"   The latter especially pisses me off because it's a friend of a friend, I spent time working on an estimate with 3 different pricing options, she told me what her budget was and asked me what I could do within her budget.  I wrote back with a very simple buttercream option that stayed within her price range and she wrote me back stating that was too simple, and giving me the above line.

 

I'm trying very hard to stay calm and write an appropriate and business-like response, but I really want to scream "go back to your cheap baker and get a damn cake there if what I'm offering isn't good enough!"  I don't want nor do I need her business, but I really want to tell her off.  Or at a minimum tell her how ridiculous it is to expect me to make her a cake for barely more than $2 a serving when I'm sure she goes in to a restaurant and pays $5-10 for a slice and doesn't think twice about it!

 

The less sweet frosting thing is another straw on the camel's back, but it's a long time customer and she's ordered enough cakes to know my products.

 

GRRRRRRRRR!!!

46 replies
johnson6ofus Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 4:32am
post #2 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 

 "I've been able to get specialty cakes for my children every year to server 30+ people and have been able to pay $70 or less"   

 

And I weighed 135 pounds before I gave birth to four sons in 5 years... 

 

Keep the reply simple and and just say, "I am so sorry I was unable to accommodate your request."  No discussion, no haggling, period... 

 

But yeah, it does piss you off...

FrostedMoon Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 12:52pm
post #3 of 47

Thanks.  It is probably what I will do, but I just wish I could help her see the light in a calm way

kkmcmahan Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 1:04pm
post #4 of 47

Stay polite and professional.  As the poster said above, apologize for not being able to provide her with her request and move on. 

 

The only way she is going to 'see the light' is by going to other bakers with her request and seeing what she gets for the money.  Sounds like she has ordered cakes from you on many occasions so she will have a good comparison.  Brush it off and move on without giving it a second thought.  Good luck.

MsGF Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 1:11pm
post #5 of 47

I would keep the reply simple as stated by johnson6ofus, then I'd attach this to the email.

 

 

 

Good Luck!

maisie73 Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 1:37pm
post #6 of 47

AIf she's a long time customer she should know your prices. Also if she's a long time customer where has she been going for her cheap kids cakes in between ordering from you? I'd tell her politely you can't accommodate her and suggest she returns to the cheap baker she usually gets them from. I bet she comes back to you saying they're no longer in business. If she does and you explain why they're probably no longer in business she might see the light. :-)

kakeladi Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 1:38pm
post #7 of 47

Ooohhhhh I *love!* what MsGF posted :)

cakegrandma Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 2:24pm
post #8 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by MsGF 
 

I would keep the reply simple as stated by johnson6ofus, then I'd attach this to the email.

 

 

 

Good Luck!


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAmen ! ;-D

Apti Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 3:04pm
post #9 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnson6ofus 
 

 

 

Keep the reply simple and and just say, "I am so sorry I was unable to accommodate your request."  No discussion, no haggling, period... 

 

 

Johnson6ofus~~Perfect professional response.

 

 

 

johnson6ofus Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 3:19pm
post #10 of 47

Thanks. Sometime you just CAN'T fix stupid or ignorant.

 

Basic expanded Muggle knowledge is great, but sometimes it just ain't worth the aggravation. Heck, even the famous "dollar menu" has gone up in price. And my granny paid 15 cents for a bakery loaf of bread....

ellavanilla Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 3:46pm
post #11 of 47

Your prices are your prices. You don't have to apologize for it. You don't have to educate her about it. 

 

I know you're irritated. Just move onto your next customer and forget about this one, who is not a customer. Not worth your aggravation, I agree. 

 

Jen

ugcjill Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 4:02pm
post #12 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apti 
 

Johnson6ofus~~Perfect professional response.

 

 

 

Agreed.

 

...And don't actually attach the "custom cake" gif to the email. :cool:

 

OP: I'm about to use the word "you" a lot, but I'm generalizing about this common issue, not lecturing you specifically...

 

For the less-sweet frosting question, don't be upset by it, let it work for you. Most adults don't like the greasy, grainy, cloying icing on their cakes, but it's what they're used to getting. Learn to describe your frosting to your customers - is it delicate? smooth? buttery? light with a wisp of vanilla? As soon as someone asks for less-sweet, be excited. They are opening that door and letting you in.

 

Always remember what your real job is: You sell cakes. The cake itself is the product you are promoting and it should be fantastic, and the only reason the cake exists is so you can sell it to someone. Learn how to find where your customers are and sell them the cake they want and need. If you don't have a product for them, it's not a match and it's ok to let it go. With this in mind, it's easier to make professional choices with business matters - accurate pricing, pleasant and forthcoming customer service, and the level of product you offer. When you sell the right person the right cake, you really develop an appreciation for your customers.

MsGF Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 4:16pm
post #13 of 47

I wouldn't normally attach "Ordering A Custom Cake" info to an email.  I only suggested it because it is someone she knows.  Not really a stranger.

 

I try not to take these type of comments personally, for me this is business.  I know that not everyone can afford one of my cakes and that is fine, I say sorry I can't help you this time, but I hope to serve you in the future & have an awesome day.

 

I keep my replies to difficult people short and sweet, because you never know who they know. 

 

The poster I attached is not something I attach to emails of annoying inquires, it was posted for fun, nothing serious.  

Cevamal Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 5:26pm
post #14 of 47

AHaving read both this and the ENTIRE "what not to say to a baker" thread I have a question:

Why is asking for "less sweet" icing so offensive? Aren't SMBC & IBMC less sweet than American Buttercream?

Asking for one of those, even if the customer doesn't know the proper name, seems like a reasonable request.

johnson6ofus Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 5:33pm
post #15 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 

"... expect me to make her a cake for barely more than $2 a serving when I'm sure she goes in to a restaurant and pays $5-10 for a slice and doesn't think twice about it!

I support cake artist and the hours that goes in to it, I really do. But I don't get the argument above because the "standard wedding cake serving" is probably 1/2 the size of a "standard restaurant serving". Restaurant supply stores still sell the "8 wedge" cake slicer thing... yes, not 4 full layers, but still much larger than the standard wedding serving, IMHO.

Dayti Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 5:35pm
post #16 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cevamal 


Why is asking for "less sweet" icing so offensive? Aren't SMBC & IBMC less sweet than American Buttercream?

 

The heritage/cooked flour frosting is another alternative that is less sweet. All frostings have their advantages or disadvantages though. Some need to be fridged, others don't, some smooth nicely, others don't, some are greasy, others aren't etc. What your customer might want, and what you are willing to make, are sometimes completely different things, and it's ok to say no to people. I do it all the time - you either like my frosting, or you don't, but I ain't changing it.

ellavanilla Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 6:05pm
post #17 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cevamal 

Having read both this and the ENTIRE "what not to say to a baker" thread I have a question:

Why is asking for "less sweet" icing so offensive? Aren't SMBC & IBMC less sweet than American Buttercream?

Asking for one of those, even if the customer doesn't know the proper name, seems like a reasonable request.

 

 

because it's usually accompanied with unreasonable requests to make the chocolate less chocolatey and a fondant finish without using fondant.  The reality is that most of us make what we make, and rarely waver from that, and it gets frustrating when someone ignores your baking standards or insists that they know better than you do. 

FrostedMoon Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 6:13pm
post #18 of 47

Thanks all.  Truly, this was more of a vent.  No matter how much I wanted to, I would never be rude to a customer. I've never made a cake before for the person complaining about the price.  

 

A completely different customer is asking for the less sweet icing.  I'm only annoyed about the less sweet request because she knows my cakes (she has ordered, eaten, and raved over many), knows I am limited in what type of frosting I can make because I'm a licensed residential baker and we've had that conversation before, and I happen to have just found out I lost an order for a 3 tiered cake to a competitor who is willing to "illegally" use SMBC and put fresh fruit in cakes when that is clearly against the food laws in our state.  This particular cake is for her husband and she's requesting cream cheese frosting because he prefers less sweet.  If I make it as I've submitted it to the board of health it will be just as sweet because it needs to have enough sugar in it to not need refrigeration. I'm not supposed to make anything for a customer without having submitted it to the board of health anyway, so to just do something for this one customer is against the law.

 

And as for size:

 

Quote:
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrostedMoon View Post

"... expect me to make her a cake for barely more than $2 a serving when I'm sure she goes in to a restaurant and pays $5-10 for a slice and doesn't think twice about it!

I support cake artist and the hours that goes in to it, I really do. But I don't get the argument above because the "standard wedding cake serving" is probably 1/2 the size of a "standard restaurant serving". Restaurant supply stores still sell the "8 wedge" cake slicer thing... yes, not 4 full layers, but still much larger than the standard wedding serving

 

 

It's not for a wedding cake, and I wasn't going by wedding cake standards.  The woman wanted a 12" inch round cake to serve about 30.  My cakes are 4 layers of cake and 3 of filling and end up being between 4-5 inches tall.   She was annoyed when I offered a cake with a buttercream picture on it.  She wanted that 12" decorated with fondant details, and since I'm known for my 3D sculptures on my makes, maybe one of those too, all for less than $70.   You don't typically get edible sculptures with your restaurant cakes, now do you?  In custom designed cakes it's not just about serving size.

FrostedMoon Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 6:38pm
post #19 of 47

The customer asking for less sweet just emailed me an apology and asked for the usual buttercream, and that was with a nice polite response from me explaining about the cream cheese frosting  :)

 

And thank you Ellavanilla for really getting it. I rarely get upset by this sort of stuff, but coming all at once it just irked the heck out of me. 

pastrypet Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 7:48pm
post #20 of 47

Adding a little salt to American buttercream makes it less sweet.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 7:51pm
post #21 of 47

and so does using buttermilk

jgifford Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 9:10pm
post #22 of 47

It's frosting, people.  The main ingredient, no matter which recipe you use, is usually powdered sugar.  I'm just saying . . .

embersmom Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 9:16pm
post #23 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgifford 
 

It's frosting, people.  The main ingredient, no matter which recipe you use, is usually powdered sugar.  I'm just saying . . .


True, but people's tastes are all over the place.  A lot of people like the Cool Whip-py taste/texture of Bettercreme, chemicals be damned.  I personally can't stand the stuff...if I want frosting, I want FROSTING :)

remnant3333 Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 9:26pm
post #24 of 47

I made the flour frosting one time and I thought it was fantastic!!! It is less sweet but yet tasted excellent. It will pipe on borders but not so good at making flowers unless they are easy ones like maybe daisies. A bakery store cake such as Walmart can not hold a candle to the homemade cakes that all of you make. There is no comparison at all. You basically get what you pay for. If the customer sent you an apology she must realize how really good your cakes are. I am glad she apologized!!!

madcobbler Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 9:56pm
post #25 of 47

I would reply by saying the cost of ingredients to make a cake have gone up significantly in the past 3 years as well as the hourly rate you pay yourself even if you only pay yourself minimum wage.

Bunny0410 Posted 27 Aug 2014 , 11:33pm
post #26 of 47

I feel your pain. People will say how wonderful your cakes are, but then baulk at the price.

 

This happened to me recently, someone who has recently seen my cakes. When I told them a price (Very cheap just covering costs), he quickly changed his mind.

 

Made up a story of how he has decided to make it himself. (I guess he thinks making a 2 teir mud cake with 3D superman is easy and of course he will nail it as he has never baked in his life.)

 

 

I just replied "No worries, enjoy your celebration"

 

He won't even be able to buy the ingredients at the price I quoted him. And I'm guessing he has no idea how hard red fondant can be to work with!

 

WIll watch his FB page for photos next week...just for a giggle.

maybenot Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 12:07am
post #27 of 47

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnson6ofus 
 

I support cake artist and the hours that goes in to it, I really do. But I don't get the argument above because the "standard wedding cake serving" is probably 1/2 the size of a "standard restaurant serving". Restaurant supply stores still sell the "8 wedge" cake slicer thing... yes, not 4 full layers, but still much larger than the standard wedding serving, IMHO.

 

I get it. 

 

Those restaurant slices are from [often] frozen, bulk produced cakes that can even be machine iced.  If iced by people, they take about 5 mins. to complete.  Restaurant cakes are, by no means, "custom cakes".  Time is money.

Faradaye Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 9:02am
post #28 of 47

AI had a potential client ask me today 'I'm worried about so much sugar, can you make the fondant with reduced sugar?'

This is for cupcakes for her son's birthday.

I clarified there were no food intolerances or allergies, just wanted 'healthier' fondant.

I just very kindly explained that fondant is sugar. No ifs or buts. It goes on a cake, it's not health food. But one cupcake at a birthday party - surely that's a reasonable treat for a child?

She hemmed and hawed and finally declared herself 'open' to the concept of fondant.

Then I asked her the date of the party.

And golly gee - I was not available to take a booking that day.

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 12:40pm
post #29 of 47

tell her she could offset the sugary cakes by serving the kids black coffee or tequila or something, unsweetened hot chocolate, metamucil maybe. golly gee for sure! 

 

:lol:

Cevamal Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 6:17pm
post #30 of 47

A

Original message sent by jgifford

It's frosting, people.  The main ingredient, no matter which recipe you use, is usually powdered sugar.  I'm just saying . . .

That was my point. There are other frostings that DON'T have powdered sugar as the first ingredient (or any ingredient). The first time I tasted a meringue Buttercream I saw no reason to ever eat American Buttercream again.

I prefer butter with a side of sugar, not the other way around. :-D

Now if you only work in American Buttercream or the design they want will only work in ABC I'm not saying you should acquiesce, just that "less sweet frosting" is not absurd in and of itself.

Original message sent by ellavanilla

because it's usually accompanied with unreasonable requests to make the chocolate less chocolatey and a fondant finish without using fondant.  The reality is that most of us make what we make, and rarely waver from that, and it gets frustrating when someone ignores your baking standards or insists that they know better than you do. 

Anyone asking for less chocolaty chocolate should probably be reported to the government.

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