Free Cakes Tastings? Central Florida Bakers -

Business By Danely81 Updated 9 Jul 2015 , 10:05pm by johnson6ofus

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:45pm
post #1 of 30

Hello! 

29 replies
Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:51pm
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Sorry my daughter hit the submit button...


I am a bit perplexed as I have have received 4 requests in the last week for cake tastings, for free?  I am based from home and really just starting.  I  have told each client that I'd charge for the tasting only one agreed to do so, two never called back and another told she has never had to pay for a taste ( she seemed upset).   I searched online and  some of the bakeries around this area charge and others don't.  I am hoping to get input from some bakers in my area. I don't want to scare away customers but I don't want to waste materials or time on cakes that may or may not result in profit. 


Thank you for your help 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 2:28pm
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Do you offset the cost of the tasting against a cake if they order?  May be something to consider if you don't - and if you do, make sure they are made aware of that.  I'm not in central Florida, I'm in the UK and generally (at least in my area) tastings are conducted for free BUT I know that many of my overseas colleagues do charge.  Hell, I think it's over 100 dollars for a consultation at many of the TV bakeries...and that's just for the consultation!  I'd say stick to your guns and weed out the clients who are not your target market.  Good luck x

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 2:57pm
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Thank you for replying ! 


I have considered several options -like charge but offer a discount. Or only offer tastings for orders that exeed xx amount of dollars. Or even just offer free tastings on certain days only.   I want to see if anyone has some advice on that. I'm willing to invest if it's going to get customers ...but the truth is that I fear people will eat the cake and go with a cheaper cake simply because it's cheaper. I've even seen some "quote" wars where people pretty much haggle prices until bakers send cakes very cheap! Bakers near my location tend to sell cakes very inexpensive. I know that I am starting out and have much to learn but my work is nice and detailed .  And I'm not willing to make these cakes for $2 a slice. 


Danely

ropalma Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:02pm
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I live in South Central Florida and I know what you mean.  I have not had any paying customer orders here.  I usually have to travel out of area.  That is where I have had a few paying customers.

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:32pm
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Really?


Wow that's kinda scary ... is it because people want free stuff or dirt cheap (basically the same)?

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:39pm
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I actually read a blog comment earlier on a wedding blog about how to get a 'cheap night out with your HTB'...by booking a cake testing session!!!!  I was soooo angry.  The bloody cheek of some people.  I had a similar dilemma - no one charges for tastings where I am but it was costing me too much in time and money to make samples for every bride/groom so I wanted a happy medium and now hold free cake testing afternoons every other month or so (subject to bookings).  They book an appointment for an hour and all come on the same day/weekend.  Yes, I have to pay for ingredients but it's a lot less time and effort and they get a free tasting.  I've had no complaints and when I explain to the brides that this enables them to try every flavour I offer (all 9!) then they are happy as larry to come along. x

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:46pm
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That is very upsetting !  My business is not catering for a cheap date .... some people have no consideration.   I have been contemplating that idea of holding one day of tastings. I just don't know if I have enough clients for that yet. Have you had good results as far as getting new clients?


That's it.  Not juts the money  but the time to get it all done. 

Wow so all of the cakes? Do you make cupcakes or cake slices ? And do you make all  your buttercream options as well?



ohash01 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:49pm
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Cupcakes are my solution to this.  I know it may not be perfectly ideal, but whenever I have an order with some leftover batter/frosting, I whip up cupcakes with it and freeze them just for tasting samples.  (Let's be honest - if it's a complicated project, there's a very good chance the wedding cake will be frozen, or atleast in the fridge for a little bit, any way, so they are truly getting to taste an accurate product).  It looks cute in single-serve cupcakes, it prevents me from spending money JUST to do tastings, 9 times out of 10 they're wanting to taste my "standard" flavors anyway, and it prevents me from either wasting product or adding to my waist-line.  :)

johnson6ofus Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:58pm
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"Weed out"

- some charge a flat fee similar to the retail price of about 6 cupcakes (low side) or cake + time (high side).

- some charge the fee and apply it to "orders placed within _____months and for no less than $_______"

- some charge a deposit only, just to weed out "no shows, and refund the tasting appointment deposit at the appointment or apply it to the cake order.


Yeah, the "free cake party" people suck. BTW, many limit the number of "tasters" as well, or charge extra for more people.


HTH

Rita

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:59pm
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Quote by @Danely81 on 8 minutes ago

That is very upsetting !  My business is not catering for a cheap date .... some people have no consideration.   I have been contemplating that idea of holding one day of tastings. I just don't know if I have enough clients for that yet. Have you had good results as far as getting new clients?


That's it.  Not juts the money  but the time to get it all done. 

Wow so all of the cakes? Do you make cupcakes or cake slices ? And do you make all  your buttercream options as well?



I know, I couldn't believe it when I read it.  I tend to book about 5 couples in a day around January/March for the following summer.  I run my cake business in addition to my full-time job so that is more than enough for me!


In terms of flavours, yes I do but 3 of my chocolate flavours use the same sponge, just different fillings, the fruit cake is made in advance and it doesn't take long to whip up a single 8" round for each of the other flavours.  All my fillings are a buttercream base with additional jam layer or lemon zest etc.  It took ages the first time but now I can do it all fairly quickly.

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:16pm
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 I had considered this option as well.   I make my cakes as close to the event as I can  ( so I don't normally have to freeze) .  But I do know of people who do, as a matter of fact I know of a local bakery here that  pre-bakes and freezes  ( I mean many months in advance). I have had both their fresh and frozen cake and could only taste a slight difference. So this may be worth considering. Thank you for the idea.

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:21pm
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Quote by @johnson6ofus on 17 minutes ago

"Weed out"

- some charge a flat fee similar to the retail price of about 6 cupcakes (low side) or cake + time (high side).

- some charge the fee and apply it to "orders placed within _____months and for no less than $_______"

- some charge a deposit only, just to weed out "no shows, and refund the tasting appointment deposit at the appointment or apply it to the cake order.


Yeah, the "free cake party" people suck. BTW, many limit the number of "tasters" as well, or charge extra for more people.


HTH

Rita



Charging for cupcakes may not be too bad.  Honestly, I don't even think Publix (local supermarket) offers free cupcakes.  I'd love to charge a deposit or in advance for cake tasting but I feel only brides will be willing to do so. I think I am having most issues with people who order birthday/special occasion cakes.   I think most parents don't (can't) afford custom cakes sometimes so they aren't willing to spend the extra.


That is true! I don't want 20 people of same party getting free cake ...lol 

Danely


Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 30


Quote by @Snowflakebunny23 on 22 minutes ago


Quote by @Danely81 on 8 minutes ago

That is very upsetting !  My business is not catering for a cheap date .... some people have no consideration.   I have been contemplating that idea of holding one day of tastings. I just don't know if I have enough clients for that yet. Have you had good results as far as getting new clients?


That's it.  Not juts the money  but the time to get it all done. 

Wow so all of the cakes? Do you make cupcakes or cake slices ? And do you make all  your buttercream options as well?



I know, I couldn't believe it when I read it.  I tend to book about 5 couples in a day around January/March for the following summer.  I run my cake business in addition to my full-time job so that is more than enough for me!


In terms of flavours, yes I do but 3 of my chocolate flavours use the same sponge, just different fillings, the fruit cake is made in advance and it doesn't take long to whip up a single 8" round for each of the other flavours.  All my fillings are a buttercream base with additional jam layer or lemon zest etc.  It took ages the first time but now I can do it all fairly quickly.

 


This is a good point. Maybe I can offer popular cake combinations at the tastings  and additional servings of buttercream/fillings .  I think I saw that somewhere. They had cake rounds plain and the clients got to pair with the flavors they chose. I feel that may be not so hard to set up. 



johnson6ofus Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:30pm
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Danely---- you TIME is worth $$$ too. If they can't afford the tasting, what are they doing buying a custom cake? I read here how someone requested a free tasting for a 15 serving cake (BDay). So a $50- $75 cake now absorbs twice your TIME by messing with tastings.

Why don't you make and freeze some "try me" cakes? Offer them cheap, but limit it to one per family. Like maybe a 3 cupcake "sampler" pack for $5-$10. Baker's choice (leftover batter from other cakes, I hope), and you can share samples to hopefully gain customers.  It weeds out the people who will just grab anything for free, and still gets your sample out there in the hands of potential customers.  

Seems like you had a lot of calls for free cake.... at least this way you recoupe some $$$$, and keep people from abusing you too much.

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:47pm
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That is what my husband tell me all the time.  And that is exactly what has been happening to me -- the people requesting free cake samples are wanting cakes for 15-20 servings. Which for my customers these normally don't exceed 80$.   This is the reason for my hesitation. 


I think that I am going to give that a try -make small batches and have them ready for potential inquiries.  That way I am not loosing any material or time since its already part of order.  Thank you for the advice!


Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 4:52pm
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Sorry, I didn't realise that this was samples for 15-20 serving cakes!   That's mad.  I only do samples for wedding cakes and so far, I haven't had a bride requesting a cake with less than 70 servings.

x

Danely81 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 5:31pm
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Quote by @Snowflakebunny23 on 33 minutes ago

Sorry, I didn't realise that this was samples for 15-20 serving cakes!   That's mad.  I only do samples for wedding cakes and so far, I haven't had a bride requesting a cake with less than 70 servings.

x


Thank you!!  I am so happy to be the only person to think this is crazy.  I don't mind making samples for large orders like that.  It only makes sense , if you are spending that kind of money. But to go through all that for a small cake it seems like a lot of work and expense...





Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:03pm
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Not at all.  The only exception would be if they were ordering a HUGE birthday cake but thus far, I haven't been lucky enough to come across one of them.  If they want them for a diddy birthday cake then they either pay for them or just pick a flavour and hope for the best.

Momof5kiddos Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:35pm
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My problem is the my neighborhood....brides schedule and then dont show up or email or call ever again. I think they are afraid even during daylight--which is ridiculous. So i had to start charging ahead for tastings. It is a bum deal to do consults, so much to consider.

denetteb Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:46pm
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You definitely need to set a limit for cake tastings, 100 servings or whatever you decide.  I would suggest you base it on the number of cake servings they will need, regardless of if it is for a birthday or wedding.  If you say you only do tastings for wedding cakes, what if they want a wedding cake to serve 15?  You are stuck again.  If they say they want a tasting for a smaller cake, just say no.  Or they can buy cupcakes or whatever other options are on your menu.  Just say no.  It doesn't make any financial sense to make special accommodations for tastings for small cakes

Faora Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 7:20pm
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You should charge for them. It doesn't have to be a lot of money, but you need to value your time. You're taking time away from baking and cake decorating, to do cake tasting consultations. Time that could have otherwise been spent making money! You need to be professional and project that image to customers. It is standard in my area to charge for cake tastings, and if the customer makes an order, you can apply the tasting fee towards their balance, so it becomes free if they place an order. If they don't place an order, then at least you were paid for your time to do the consultation, and to give out free samples. 

There are customers in every area that want a whole lot for very little, some want the impossible or are impossible to please. You don't want to cater to this type of customer and have that be your market. You will get a lot of word of mouth referrals from clients, so choose clients that are respectful of your time, skills and expertise, because you will keep getting more of the same type of customers.

jgifford Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 8:38pm
post #23 of 30

Of course, it's your business and you have to do what you think is right, but I have never understood nor agreed with doing tastings for birthday cakes.  Most of my birthday cake customers had already tasted my cakes so it was totally unnecessary. 

I did tastings ONLY for wedding cakes of over 100 servings and ONLY for a maximum of 4 people. I suggested the bride, the groom and their mothers.  Children were NOT allowed.  I charged $15 which would be deducted from the final cost of the cake if they went with me.

I made mini cupcakes with leftover batter and kept them in the freezer and froze different flavors of leftover buttercream in the 2-oz. condiment cups.  They got a small assortment of whatever I had.  If they had a problem getting everyone together, I would package up 1 dozen mini cupcakes and 2-3 different flavors of frosting for them to pick up. Since I use modeling chocolate instead of fondant, I would include a small piece for them to try. One thing I read here (I think it was costumeczar):  they are there for a tasting, not dessert.  I was horrified when someone posted a pic of 6" cakes she had done for a tasting.  OMG!

If you can find it, read indydeb's post about tastings.  It's a hoot!

Danely81 Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 1:11am
post #24 of 30


Quote by @denetteb on 6 hours ago

You definitely need to set a limit for cake tastings, 100 servings or whatever you decide.  I would suggest you base it on the number of cake servings they will need, regardless of if it is for a birthday or wedding.  If you say you only do tastings for wedding cakes, what if they want a wedding cake to serve 15?  You are stuck again.  If they say they want a tasting for a smaller cake, just say no.  Or they can buy cupcakes or whatever other options are on your menu.  Just say no.  It doesn't make any financial sense to make special accommodations for tastings for small cakes

 This is a great point I hadn't considered since I have never been asked to do such a small wedding cake , but hey it is a possibility.    I think I am going to stick to my original idea and  do tastings for larger orders (whatever the event ) and charge for small ones.  I mean most business for birthdays come from word of mouth anyway.   So if they want a try , it'd have to be paid for; even if its a  cupcake.  

Danely81 Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 1:14am
post #25 of 30


Mmm... maybe do meetings elsewhere? That's kind of tough but it sounds like you have a good back up set up :)

Danely81 Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 1:15am
post #26 of 30


Quote by @Danely81 on 18 seconds ago


Mmm... maybe do meetings elsewhere? That's kind of tough but it sounds like you have a good back up set up :)

@Momof5kiddos 

Danely81 Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 1:20am
post #27 of 30


Quote by @jgifford on 4 hours ago

Of course, it's your business and you have to do what you think is right, but I have never understood nor agreed with doing tastings for birthday cakes.  Most of my birthday cake customers had already tasted my cakes so it was totally unnecessary. 

I did tastings ONLY for wedding cakes of over 100 servings and ONLY for a maximum of 4 people. I suggested the bride, the groom and their mothers.  Children were NOT allowed.  I charged $15 which would be deducted from the final cost of the cake if they went with me.

I made mini cupcakes with leftover batter and kept them in the freezer and froze different flavors of leftover buttercream in the 2-oz. condiment cups.  They got a small assortment of whatever I had.  If they had a problem getting everyone together, I would package up 1 dozen mini cupcakes and 2-3 different flavors of frosting for them to pick up. Since I use modeling chocolate instead of fondant, I would include a small piece for them to try. One thing I read here (I think it was costumeczar):  they are there for a tasting, not dessert.  I was horrified when someone posted a pic of 6" cakes she had done for a tasting.  OMG!

If you can find it, read indydeb's post about tastings.  It's a hoot!

 It seems that a lot of people do the freezing thing... I guess I never tried it because I was afraid of change of taste. I may have to experiment :). I do like the idea of setting aside cupcakes.  Its no extra effort from me and if it makes people happy then I guess I can try.  

WHAT? A 6" round? I've seen bakeries charge 50$ for a cake that size.  No way! Its a taste not a buffet.  

I'll look for it ...lol


Danely81 Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 1:27am
post #28 of 30


Quote by @Faora on 5 hours ago

You should charge for them. It doesn't have to be a lot of money, but you need to value your time. You're taking time away from baking and cake decorating, to do cake tasting consultations. Time that could have otherwise been spent making money! You need to be professional and project that image to customers. It is standard in my area to charge for cake tastings, and if the customer makes an order, you can apply the tasting fee towards their balance, so it becomes free if they place an order. If they don't place an order, then at least you were paid for your time to do the consultation, and to give out free samples. 

There are customers in every area that want a whole lot for very little, some want the impossible or are impossible to please. You don't want to cater to this type of customer and have that be your market. You will get a lot of word of mouth referrals from clients, so choose clients that are respectful of your time, skills and expertise, because you will keep getting more of the same type of customers.

I have been thinking about this all afternoon.  I want to be smart for my market but I do not want to be abused.  Some people just want to take advantage of everyone.  I was kinda of upset earlier because one of the customers was kinda harsh and told me that they had never paid for a sample not even from cakes made by a professional chef.  I was so taken back. But just a bit a go the customer who chose to pay for a sample couldn't praise the cake enough. She was thrilled that I accommodated her requests.  I gave me a boost of confidence.   I know the customers I want to serve,  like you've said those who are respectful of my time, skills and care.  Thank you

Momof5kiddos Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 2:58pm
post #29 of 30

yeah i have tried to meeting in other locations, its ok but time consuming to take everything with me :)

johnson6ofus Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 10:05pm
post #30 of 30

Re tastings, I think this is important---

- some charge the fee and apply it to "orders placed within _____months and for no less than $_______


That way you don't have to argue what a "serving size" is, or if it is a wedding, anniversary, or landmark birthday. It IS reasonable to schedule a tasting if you are ordering a $1,000 cake, not a $75 one. Whether there is a bride on top, or a donkey shouldn't matter much.


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