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So steaming mad at a customer - Page 2

post #16 of 24
For the majority of the flavors we make, no, the specifics are not discussed - it would be silly as you mentioned. But there are several flavors that we make where it does need to be asked if they want alcohol or not, for me that's black forest (kirchwasser), tiramisu (kahlua), pina colada (rum), and margarita (tequila) would apply here too. It's all about giving the customer the opportunity to be specific about what they are expecting BEFORE they are potentially unhappy with what you assumed. The tequila may not make it taste "better" (matter of opinion) but it does make it taste more like a real margarita.

For your example of the champagne martini, I'd bet it was listed on the menu that it included it OR it was a place with only a beer/wine license. We have a lot of places like that here where you know going in that the alcohol in your margarita is going to be sake or something.
post #17 of 24
I second the post by spc1127-- I too would be disappointed with a margarita cake that had no salt or tequila essence in it. There is a reason that margaritas are special ordered "without salt" or labeled as a "strawberry margarita"-- because those are deviations on what is considered a classic margarita: sweet and sour ( ideally a combination of fresh squeezed lime, lemon, and orange juice), an orange liqueur, tequila and salt. When you are in 'margarita country' like I am, you don't even have to specify on the rocks, because blender margaritas aren't taken seriously. Because i appreciate a well rafted margarita, a mix margarita made with jose cuervo gold won't cut it for me. It's like trying to serve a wine snob a Boonesfarm strawberry wine. Both drinks have fans, but it just shows different folks will have different expectations of what you call a glass of wine.

No one likes criticism, but I hope this can at least be a learning experience that you could benefit by managing your customer's expectations by giving a more complete description of flavors that could have more than one interpretation.

As for the refund, personally I think I would have to weigh how much I wanted to save the business relationship and what her word of mouth is worth to me. If the price of the cake was something I could easily refund fully, I would (it's what a higher end restaurant would do, though not after they had an opportunity to replace your meal with one to your liking, and since there isn't an opportunity to redo a party just for a cake, a refund is easiest). If I couldn't do a full refund, then a partial or credit for a future cake. Unless it is a clear scam on a perfectly fine cake, then as much as it sucks, sucking it up to make the customer happy is a small price to pay (ie refund) .
post #18 of 24
If the customer did not like the flavor and it wasn't what she was expecting, then basically to me she should have specified what she WAS expecting! If I am ordering a cake like a Margarita cake I will ask what's in it! I wouldn't assume there would be tequilla in's a cake with Margarita flavoring...NOT a margarita. What if you put tequilla in it and then got the complaint that it was served at a kid's party and all the parents were upset because it had liquor in it! To me it's better to err on the no-liquor side.

Unless you do a tasting or have experience with a baker, then you take a chance with any specialty flavor they produce. Not everyone's chocolate cake tastes the same, nor does every vanilla. Nor should you assume a margarita cake that you've eaten at one cake shop is going to taste the same as another.

I would be sure from now on to either label your ingredients somewhere or discuss with clients any specialty cake that may or may not call for liquor just so they know and you know what expectations they have.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!


If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

post #19 of 24
To the OP, yes, as others who agree have already stated, on these specific cakes, it is YOUR job to describe the cake, not, have a "Let the buyer beware" cake policy.

Sorry, but again, a premium price calls for premium quality. And when I referred to "premium", I meant a cake decorator who calls themselves a professional and charges accordingly. Walmart can add a margarita mix.

When someone asks for these flavors, you had better be sure of what the customer wants of be prepared to refund. These cakes require detailed information. And yes, you can be catty and reason why by posting that you do not describe your chocolate, but in some cases, this is also needed. Do you think I would sell my $89.00 German Chocolate Cake over my $50.00 traditional without explanation? No, but I do describe, and I have only sold one traditional. The other is a best-seller.

If you are going to make a cake based on a drink, you should specify if it is a mix or the real deal. And by the way, I have never made a margarita with a mix, and maybe you don't know this, but many places do not use mixes. They are the low price, bottom quality margaritas. They are nasty in a drink and I can't imagine adding it to a cake.

And you, yourself mentioned variations and that people ask for them. But with no instructions, a margarita will come to you with salt.

I don't drink a drop, but I have bartended at a casino at the high roller bar, so I have extensive experience with how people ask for their drinks. We didn't have a mix anywhere in site.

So to all but the OP, be sure to detail these specialty cakes not only on your site, including the process and the ingredients, reiterate this when talking to your client. Anyone interested can look on my site and read my descriptions. On specialty cakes, you want to allow them to taste the cake mentally and you need to deliver that exact cake. The accurate description will keep you from surprising the customer with something they don't like and will insure that you don't have an unhappy customer asking for a refund.

And no, I do not take the opposing side just for the fun of it. Other people besides the OP read these threads and this one, since I sell so many alcoholic cakes, is one that I happen to have experience. I have also shared the use of alcohol in cakes numerous times on CC and in multitudes of PM's.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure how you would know how a drink is suppose to taste if you don't drink a drop. Following a recipe, which varies from place to place, doesn't give you experience on how that drink will taste. I can read the ingredients in a drink and still not know how the different ingredients will come together to taste so if you don't drink how do you know how a certain drink is suppose to taste and then translate that into a cake? It actually does say on my website what I use in my margarita cake and that I don't use alcohol. I have the same thought about using alcohol in a cake as carmijok does which is why I try not to use alcohol when I can as well as extracts which actually have a lot of alcohol in them. If I had 2 variations on this cake, one that cost more and has alcohol or something different in it, then yes I would have let her know the differences between the 2 margarita cakes to let her choose which you would perfer. I think you would be surprised at how many restaurants do use mixes just as I was surprised to find out how many store front bakeries use box mixes. Yes the highend ones don't but most of the restaurants in my area are not high end and you would have to travel to the 2 major cities closest to my location to go to those types of restaurants. So the majority of people go to the restaurants that aren't considered high end and are more likely to use mixes in their drinks. I live in margarita country as well, being in Texas and all, and every place I have gone to and ordered a margarita will ask if you want salt or not. That may just be a cultural thing for my area compared to your area. I treated the customer according to what I thought appropriate. I always test out my flavors before I start selling them as well as always try a bit of cake that is cut off each cake I work on so I did not find that what she said was accurate to the cake she received. I believed she was trying to scam me out of a free cake, if there was something techniqually wrong with the cake, like it being dry or not looking like what it was suppose to then it would have been a different story. Again, if she was so upset about the cake flavor then she would have called the same day or even the next day but she waited 2 days to complain.
post #21 of 24
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

Again, if she was so upset about the cake flavor then she would have called the same day or even the next day but she waited 2 days to complain.

If this cake was for an important event like a wedding there were probably other higher priority items on her to-do list than complaining to a vendor.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
It was not a wedding but a birthday party cake.
post #23 of 24
Regina, I think she was trying to get money back. "Pictures of uneaten cake" is laughable in its lack of logic. All cake pictures are of uneaten cake, otherwise they would just be pictures of plates and air. :/

Whether or not you want to appease her by offering her something depends on 1) how much you think she could hurt you by bad-mouthing you, 2) how upset she really is, and 3) how much you want to keep her as a customer. But I don't think you automatically owe her anything.
post #24 of 24
Looks like you are happy with your cake and decision which is the main thing.

I personally would have like to taste and would have make it according to the flavours listed in a traditional Margarita as discussed above not from a mix. (unless the customer said otherwise)
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