I am new to posting in the forum and apologize if I have overlooked this topic from the past but I would appreciate anyone and everyone's opinion about how they handle a taste-test. I also plan to attend 3 Bridal Expo's in 2015 and I need advice if you offer the opportunity to tease them with a little sample at that time or just leave that part out and focus on the appearance and options you have to offer the bride. I have done cakes for many years but it wasn't until this past year that I decided to make it an "actual" business. My clients before were family, friends and word of mouth so I never had to deal with taste-test and as far as the Bridal Expo's.......I figure if you are going to jump in the pool, do a cannonball and make a big splash LOL. Jokes aside any advise, good or bad, is greatly appreciated.
Original message sent by mksmccomas
I have done cakes for many years but it wasn't until this past year that I decided to make it an "actual" business. My clients before were family, friends and word of mouth so I never had to deal with taste-test and as far as the Bridal Expo's.......I figure if you are going to jump in the pool, do a cannonball and make a big splash LOL.
Hahaha! Love it! I'm a wader myself, but rooting for you, splash away!
You need to find out what your local health dept regulations are. Many HDs will only allow completely enclosed items meaning you will have to cut pieces to put into lidded cups.
I just did a bridal expo and the person in charge made it very clear you had to have a permit from the health department so check with them and also check with the health department. I did a show a few years ago and it wasn't an issue then but it is now. I did do samples a few years ago and that is why I chose not to do it this time. My reason, the show with samples I was mobbed with people, just wanting the free samples. To try to have a conversation with any of the brides, impossible. I was so glad I didn't do samples this time. I did a display cake and then had the 3 fold poster boards with my pictures on them around the display cake. I put a book out with a sign saying that I offered a free tasting and consultation that was set up individually and anyone interested could leave their name in the book and I would contact them. I had a great response to that. I also had a chance to talk to almost everyone that came up to my booth individually. There were some times I had too many people to talk to each one but I had my cards and brochures out for people to grab. It seems like it would make sense to have samples, but I found it worked in my advantage not to. The show was only 2 weeks ago. I've booked 2 and have several people setting up consults now. Good luck. It was a really fun day to get out and talk to the brides.
CBM, I imagine everybody and their family would try to get free samples who were not even interested in buying anything . I guess it worked out to your advantage not to do samples!! Sounds like great advice to others who are doing bridal expos. Good luck with your business. I am sure you will do fine!!
Good luck on your bridal show! They can be daunting, but for someone looking to get into the wedding cake game, they are all but essential. I have written several articles on my bridal show experiences, feel free to check out my blog:
AI would like to thank all of you. It's nice to have a place you can turn to when you are weighing the pros and cons.
AI attend a large bridal show in my area every year (about 600 brides attend). I make mini cupcakes with a small swirl of icing on top. They are displayed on my giant cupcake stand. The stand is build on a lazy susan so it spins which makes it really easy to refill. Anyway... for the 600 brides I make about 1300 mini cupcakes. Some people want one, some two, some none. By the end of the day I usually have about 100 leftover to pass out to vendors as we pack up.
My advice is to make flavors that stand out. Most bakeries come with a white and chocolate option. Don't do that. Make something that will make you stand out. I bring 3 flavors of cupcakes with me. They are the same three every year because they are always a huge hit. One is chocolate but I do a fun buttercream flavor with it so it is different than the other bakeries at the show.
You are not using the format to full advantage if you're not offering cake. You probably shouldn't be advertising your wares at a bridal show if you can't get a temporary food permit based on your food handling license. It won't be a problem to get one if you're properly licensed. Sometimes there are weird contingencies, I know.
Yes, a lot of people who aren't in the market for cake will want a sample of cake. But those who are looking to book their cake want to compare the taste of the cake among the cake vendors.
If you have average tasting cake, or cake very similar to the other vendors, it's probably not going to make people more inclined to book a consultation.
Personally, I love any marketing where people can taste the cakes because my cake stands out taste-wise. I only do one major bridal show each year and I book about 20 cakes from it. I also want all the vendors to taste the cake. I do other small shows as well, always bringing samples.
I put a 1x1" square of cake with filling in a 2 oz condiment cup with lid. I put a round sticker on the lid with my logo and website info. Then if people don't want to taste it at that moment, they can take it home, or bring it to the groom, or mom, or whomever. I offer 3 flavors and they can try all 3 if they like.
It gets crazy and busy at times. I don't do a lot of booking at the show, but I hand them a postcard sized advertisement at the same time as the sample. I will do consultations pretty steady the next couple months. Even up to a year later, brides call me when they're ready to book a consultation. AND my booking percentage has been 80-85% of brides who come for consultations. They know the quality of the cakes, they've seen my work, I'm very up front about pricing, so it's just a matter of choosing flavors and talking about their cake design specifically.
I try to do what's best for me, and this is what works.. I put a lot into the baking as well as the decorating, so I love people to taste.
That's my opinion! Good luck!
AThank you everyone it is really giving me an idea of how I will work the show.
..........lot of people who aren't in the market for cake will want a sample............
...........put a 1x1" square of cake with filling in a 2 oz condiment cup with lid....put a round sticker on the lid with my logo and website info...........if people don't want to taste it at that moment, they can take it home, or bring it to the groom, or mom, or whomever.....want all the vendors to taste the cake.........
Yes what she ^^^ said here.
You never know who will order a cake from those samples or when. I have often gotten b'day & shower etc. orders as much as a yr later from sampling at those shows.