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Being Honest

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

I recently called a local bake shop that is getting a name for having very good cupcakes.  I enjoy them as well.  They placed in the top ten for the cupcakes in the state.  Most of them have a very delightful filling and they are so light and fluffy and just plain good. 

 

I was in the shop recently while they were baking and I know I smelled the scent of a packaged mix(which is what I suspected because I bake a lot)  Anyway I called and asked if they used a base mix and she would not answer the question and stated that if the product is good what difference does it make and if someone has an allergy then she would identify if she used that item.  And that she would not answer the question.  Well that answer speaks for itself.

 

If it were my shop I completely understand the need for giving a good quality and good priced item that is consistent.  I get it.  So why not be honest?  I would have said,  "Yes I use a high quality base mix to which I add high quality fresh ingredients.  That I have wonderflul products and decorate very well."  I would have then made an invitation to view my website to see if there is something that is of interest.

 

But for goodness sake this charade of not answering gives the answer and makes the owner look like she is not proud of what she does.  Sad because she has a very good product line and sells out most days. 

 

I did not write this get into the mix vs scratch debate.  But, I will say this if I had a shop I would more than likely use a base mix, it just makes sense and I would be a proud owner.

 

cakemom

post #2 of 35

Yep.

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post #3 of 35
She has the right to not tell anybody about her business , its her business , she makes her best to let the shop work , so its naturally to not answer this kind of qs .
post #4 of 35

She gave you an honest answer, in a round about way...it's none of your beeswax. If you like her product, why should you care about what ingredients she uses. Also, like she stated, if there is an allergy question, she would inform you if a particular ingredient is use. No charade here that I see.

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post #5 of 35

Wait a minute here.  That's dishonest, and no, she didn't give a direct answer.  She skirted around the issue and got pissy which was totally inappropriate and unprofessional.  If you bake from a mix, you need to say so if someone asks.  There is no rhyme or reason to beating around the bush when it comes to that stuff. That is a quick way to lose customers.

 

FYI, and for what it's worth, you can almost 100% guarantee that if the baker doesn't advertise that she bakes from scratch, she usually doesn't.  That is a major advertising advantage for scratch bakers, especially since truthfully, most people are not good scratch bakers so they start from a mix.  In this day and age, people want to be educated consumers.  They want to know what they are paying for and eating, and they have that right.  Some people don't want to consume something that's not from scratch. 

 

At the end of the day, you need to stand by your product, no matter what.  And if you are ashamed of using a mix, or you feel like there is some stigma attached to it, then obviously you need to look at what you are doing and either change your attitude or change your recipes.
 

post #6 of 35

You got your answer, even though she didn't answer.

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post #7 of 35
I agree that the answer was not as professional as it could have been, but I don't feel that it was dishonest. It would have been dishonest if she told you she baked from scratch. I can understand why she refused to answer, given the stigma associated with mix baking.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Anyway I called and asked if they used a base mix and she would not answer the question and stated that if the product is good what difference does it make and if someone has an allergy then she would identify if she used that item.  And that she would not answer the question.

 

I meant dishonest because she was avoiding a truthful answer.  Purposely omitting facts, in my opinion, is the same as being dishonest. 

post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill View Post

I meant dishonest because she was avoiding a truthful answer.  Purposely omitting facts, in my opinion, is the same as being dishonest. 
So if a customer asks about confidential business information (whether it involves trade secret ingredients, process, or both) you are dishonest if you don't divulge that information?
post #10 of 35

No, that is considered good business practice because those specific details are privileged, and of no potential danger to the customer.  But ingredients, yes.  Even manufacturers have to put ingredients on packages, and most restaurants keep books which contain ingredient lists and other nutritional information if a customer asks.  OP wasn't asking for a recipe or process or anything that detailed, she was just asking what was in it, or rather, if they started from a mix.  

 

A few years ago I was watching an episode of Unwrapped, and they toured the Peeps factory.  There was a huge tarp over the machine so no one could see how the Peeps were being made.  But obviously if you go purchase a package of Peeps the ingredients will be on the label.  

 

I still think it comes down to the fact that bakers need to be up front if asked about ingredients.  People have a right to know what they are consuming.

post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill View Post

Even manufacturers have to put ingredients on packages, and most restaurants keep books which contain ingredient lists and other nutritional information if a customer asks.
That's why I said "trade secret ingredients". They are exempt from disclosure laws, which is why you sometimes see a generic listing for "spices" or "natural flavors" on an ingredients label.
Quote:
OP wasn't asking for a recipe or process or anything that detailed, she was just asking what was in it, or rather, if they started from a mix.
Scratch or mix is a question about the process. How much of the process to disclose to the public is a decision each business owner can and should make for themselves. If you don't like the answer you are free to not patronize that business, but it's a stretch to accuse someone of being dishonest because they choose to keep their process a secret.
Quote:
I still think it comes down to the fact that bakers need to be up front if asked about ingredients.  People have a right to know what they are consuming.
I agree, and if OP had asked for a list of ingredients the business probably would have provided that list, but that's not what she asked.
post #12 of 35

Yes I definitely get that about the trade secret ingredients.

 

To me, scratch or mix is just as much about the ingredients as the process.  When I think of scratch, I think of each individual component coming together, not commercial or box mixes to which you just add other stuff.  I think it's safe to assume that most people, especially those in the baking business, understand what someone means when asked if they bake from "scratch."  If not, that is error of assumption on my part.

post #13 of 35

 Quote:

"She skirted around the issue and got pissy which was totally inappropriate and unprofessional."

 

I dont think the op ever said she got pissy she just didint give a staight answer and she was dishonest . It is her business !! I agree if there is an allergy problem then ask about ingredients other than that its not anyones business but hers!! 

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post #14 of 35

The response the OP was given sounded pissy to me.  Refusal to answer, then basically saying what difference does it make, sounds a little pissy.  Then again, I wasn't privy to the conversation, so maybe it was said just as polite as can be.

post #15 of 35

You should call and tell her you're allergic to proylene glycol, and do her cupcakes have any of that in them? That would be your answer, even though you already know the answer.

 

And yes, it's a yes or no question. Answering whether you use a base mix or not doesn't give away your trade secret recipes.

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