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Brides flaking on my tastings.

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 

Ok, first, I am 8 months pregnant. I'm not on bedrest, but more like "take it easy" orders from the doctor. 

 

It is tasting season and I am trying something new (for me). 

 

I am offering 2 choices- Baker's Choice (free) and Custom ($ per flavor). 

 

So WHY is it so flippin hard for brides to get back to me with their Custom flavor requests? I am booking them weeks out, sending them a Tasting Guide with orders to get their requests to me. I am reminding them at least 1 week in advance that if I am doing Custom, I need their flavors. 

 

And then I'm hearing back from them with 1 day or next day requests. I am beginning to see a pattern and it's driving me nuts. 

 

I have 4 tastings on Saturday and just heard back from one bride with FIVE custom flavors. After telling her I needed it by yesterday. So I told her no, she didn't get me her flavors in time and she would have to settle for a Baker's Choice. 

 

And while in theory I'm staying firm, they aren't going to see that. They are going to see bad service and go with someone else. 

 

I finished baking today and I'm so sore I can't imagine spending another chunk of time tomorrow on my feet and sitting through 5 hours worth of tastings on Saturday. (and I'm feeling whiney....)

 

Competition is getting more fierce in this area and since I'm at the higher end price-wise, convenience is working against me. Other bakeries are cheaper and couples can just walk in and taste whatever they want. I am making them work for it. It's always been fine, but I'm noticing a real resistance to anything "inconvenient" for these people these past few months. 

 

Thoughts? 

life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #2 of 68

You are in a delicate state right now, you need to make things easier for you, don't give them a choice, make them pay for it. If they don't want to follow your rules, let them go somewhere else.

 

I posted on here somewhere this neat little tray style tasting with different cake, fillings and icing to choose from. Charge $25.00 or more for tastings and be done with it. Don't let them take advantage of you.

 

Here it is. hth

http://www.bridalbuds.com/wp-content/uploads/Tasting-re__water_1161100121.jpg

post #3 of 68

Maybe you could post a tasting schedule that works for you right now. And schedule your brides around that. Like on this date I will hold tasting for a, b, and c flavors and this date is d, e, and f. Have your brides pick times to come in for tasting or stop by and grab a tasting box. I dont know just a thought to make it easier on you right now.

post #4 of 68

I do a complimentary tasting.  It includes 4-8 flavors & 2-4 fillings depending on what is available.  That's it!  My consultation guide states "if there is something specific you would like to try I suggest ordering for an upcoming event or purchasing a sample cake.  Sample cakes are 2 layer 6" rounds and are available for $15."

 

This is an example of a recent sample:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=540396042674293&set=pb.207874222593145.-2207520000.1389929462.&type=3&theater

 

I make up 6" sample cakes and keep them wrapped in the freezer.  They are welcome to fillings which have been ordered that week.  I almost always have chocolate ganache.

 

I have never had anyone complain about not having enough to sample.  Almost everyone is shocked at how MUCH there is.

 

Simple, easy, no fuss.

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
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www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 68
That's a good idea having 6 inch cakes frozen and ready to go for brides. I usually make mini loaves for sample. This works well because if I have leftover batter I just pour into mini loaf pan and freeze for latter. Question have you had bride ask you to do this?? My bride has already decided on the cake she wants. The modifications are marzipan instead of fondant. Wedding is in May. The problem? She wants a mini version of her cake to sample instead of my traditional tasting cakes. Which I provide for free up to four little mini bundt cakes along side different flavors and fillings. If I make a mini cake using marzipan (which she knows I've never used before, but agreed to incorporate) on a 6 inch and 4 inch cake with one or two of the flowers I charged her $39 plus tax. I charge usually $3.25 per slice for wedding cakes with fondant and then additional charge for complex piping designs or decorations, But I've never charged for a mini version of a wedding cake. She's willing to pay for it but I think she's testing me to see if it can be done.
I totally get why your exhausted. Being pregnant and dealing with brides who try to make things complicated sucks. I'm doing this anyway just to prove can.
What do you think should I have charged more? I'll make it up when I do the whole cake in a few more months.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat View Post
 

 

 It's always been fine, but I'm noticing a real resistance to anything "inconvenient" for these people these past few months. 

 

Thoughts? 

 

It may be partially related to the holidays. Many customers don't want to think about ordering cake until the last minute over the holidays and through mid January. it may improve from here.

post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone. You're right, I'm probably just being oversensitive right now and they've always been like this! 

 

I've vacillated between all sorts of kinds of tastings in the years I've been in business and I really like the idea of just pulling samples from the freezer for these Baker's Choice tastings. So far I am surprised they aren't more popular and brides are still wanting to pay for custom. I always try to offer a free option so if they decide to pay for it that's on them (since the majority of the competition is complimentary). But if they can't even get their act together and tell me what they want, I don't know how much more I can babysit.  

 

Normally I'm a hard and fast person when it comes to tastings- my rules, my way. But I'm starting to encounter pushback from couples and it stinks. Being in pain most days doesn't help either.....

life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #8 of 68
How much are you charging for your custom tastings? What is your typical utilization (100% = you are working at max efficiency during your designated working hours with zero downtime)?
post #9 of 68
Have you thought about doing group tastings a couple times a month (or something similar)? You can designate certain hours and switch your flavors up that way you can still offer free tastings.

Karlay-I have never had someone request that. Do you have a portfolio? Is your business newer?

If she's willing to pay then I'd make it-Definitley get paid in advance but treat it like a regular order (otherwise you're going to make a 3tiered cake for someone who might not book with you)! I make mini tiered cakes often, for birthdays and other events. Making mini versions of the flowers might be more challenging. Under no circumstances would I make one for free though, maybe that's just me
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlay Cakes View Post

That's a good idea having 6 inch cakes frozen and ready to go for brides. I usually make mini loaves for sample. This works well because if I have leftover batter I just pour into mini loaf pan and freeze for latter. Question have you had bride ask you to do this?? My bride has already decided on the cake she wants. The modifications are marzipan instead of fondant. Wedding is in May. The problem? She wants a mini version of her cake to sample instead of my traditional tasting cakes. Which I provide for free up to four little mini bundt cakes along side different flavors and fillings. If I make a mini cake using marzipan (which she knows I've never used before, but agreed to incorporate) on a 6 inch and 4 inch cake with one or two of the flowers I charged her $39 plus tax. I charge usually $3.25 per slice for wedding cakes with fondant and then additional charge for complex piping designs or decorations, But I've never charged for a mini version of a wedding cake. She's willing to pay for it but I think she's testing me to see if it can be done.
I totally get why your exhausted. Being pregnant and dealing with brides who try to make things complicated sucks. I'm doing this anyway just to prove can.
What do you think should I have charged more? I'll make it up when I do the whole cake in a few more months.


Are you sure she's getting married and didn't just con you into making a cheap birthday/baby shower/fill in any other occasion where you would only need about 20 servings of a custom cake for less than $40? I would get her non refundable wedding deposit first, or charge full price for that sample cake.
I'll never fit in a size 6 if I keep having cake for breakfast.
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I'll never fit in a size 6 if I keep having cake for breakfast.
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post #11 of 68
We bought our wedding cake at Publix (this was way before I started caking and before I had even tried "real" cake lol). I did really like the way they handled the tasting. I plan to implement their idea if I ever start doing wedding cakes (I am not planning to do those just yet). Here is how my tasting went:

I called my local store ahead of time and requested a tasting. There was no charge, but I did have to set an "appointment" time to pick up my tasting package.

I went to pick up my package. This took less than 5 minutes. I ended up taking it to my best friends' house, where my fiancé (now husband), best friend and her mom were able to do the tasting together. I really liked the fact that we could do this, on our own terms, in the location of our choosing, and with whomever we chose. There was no one telling us we had too many people or we were taking too long deciding, etc. I am guessing this was more convenient for Publix because they did not have to pay someone to stand around and watch over us.

The package consisted of a few plastic cupcake containers (the kind they sell their own cupcakes in). Inside one of the containers was one unfrosted cupcake of each flavor. These we cut into smaller pieces so we could each try some and mix and match with the fillings and frosting. Another container held the fillings. A good size "blob" of each type was each in its individual cupcake pocket so they stayed separated from each other. The frostings were in another container the same way as the fillings. The top of the (clear) cupcake container was labeled so we knew what each flavor was.

We took our time and had fun with the tasting. When we came up with a flavor combination we liked, we wrote it down. The next day, my fiancé and I took our selections to Publix and placed our order.

From a customer standpoint it was so easy and un-pressured and un-stressed and un-rushed.

From a baker standpoint, I think it would be an easier way to do tastings. Whenever I have extra cake batter I can make some cupcakes and throw them in the freezer so I don't have to scramble so much when I get a request for a tasting. If they don't show up or show up late or need to reschedule it's not a HUGE deal because I didn't have to set aside a large chunk of my day for them to begin with. I do, however, plan to charge for a tasting. There is too much time money and effort that goes into baking anything for me to just give it all away. I would consider charging something (like maybe $25- they don't get to pick the flavors but they will have multiple flavors to taste, if they want something special they can pay extra for that. I also may or may not subtract the tasting price from the final order if they book with me).

I am no expert on this subject since I don't even plan to do wedding cakes yet, but I hope this idea helps some of you!
post #12 of 68

As far as people not calling until the last minute goes, you do need to stand your ground on that. But I hear you with the "I want it and I want it now" mentality that's taken over. With everything so accessible online, to-go and fast these days, the brides who are in their 20's have been raised when they can get everything right away, and they don't like to be told they have to wait. I don't think it has anything to do with the time of year, it's just that these young'uns have different expectations than older people do. (and I include myself in the "older" category at the ripe old age of 48.)

 

And for the tastings, what I've started doing is giving people the option of a free open house appointment, where they can come and get samples between certain times, and only have one other person with them. So this weekend I'm doing from 2-4 on saturday for 6 people, and from 1-3 on sunday for 7 people. That's less time it will take for me, and I'll give them the option of having the samples at the office or sending them home with them. I got some little solo lidded containers to put the samples in.

 

Then I have paid individual appointments, which are $20 each and last half an hour. I've had three people schedule those already, so I guess it's not as off-putting as I thought it would be. There are a bunch of other people in this area who have started charging for appointments, though, so I think that people are starting to expect that.

 

I'll report back after tomorrow afternoon when I do the open house for the first time to see how it went. I'm hoping that they don't all show up at the same time, but if they do that will save me from having to go over the spiel multiple times, too.

post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by GGNK View Post

The package consisted of a few plastic cupcake containers (the kind they sell their own cupcakes in). Inside one of the containers was one unfrosted cupcake of each flavor. These we cut into smaller pieces so we could each try some and mix and match with the fillings and frosting. Another container held the fillings. A good size "blob" of each type was each in its individual cupcake pocket so they stayed separated from each other. The frostings were in another container the same way as the fillings. The top of the (clear) cupcake container was labeled so we knew what each flavor was.

We took our time and had fun with the tasting. When we came up with a flavor combination we liked, we wrote it down. The next day, my fiancé and I took our selections to Publix and placed our order.

From a customer standpoint it was so easy and un-pressured and un-stressed and un-rushed.

This is eventually what we started doing once we realized in-person tastings weren't adding a lot of value for us or for customers. Our "to-go" tasting package consisted of two cut up previously frozen unfrosted 6" rounds (cut using a round cookie cutter) in different flavors, and two plastic containers with different frosting/filling flavors. The cost was $30, with $10 additional for each additional flavor of cake or frosting/filling.
post #14 of 68
What you mentioned is what I do with the exception that the tasting is done with me. So my time is allocated. So I think I will change it up and let my brides do the tasting on their own, that way there's no pressure. So far I only charge $25 and add that money toward the deposit if they choose me.
I'm hoping my bride is not using me by asking for something different that my normal tasting.
post #15 of 68
If you offer a free tasting or apply the cost to the deposit, don't forget to add that cost back in to the price of the cake.
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