Charging For Cake Tasting

Decorating By eatCakes Updated 26 Apr 2008 , 8:00pm by vixterfsu

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eatCakes Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:47am
post #1 of 14

I'm sure this has been asked a billion times before, but my search turned up with nothing. If you know of a previous thread that would help, please direct me that way icon_smile.gif

Anyway- how much is standard for a cake tasting, and what occasions do you usually do tastings for? (example: just weddings, a new flavor cake, etc)

The reason I ask is this. I have been asked twice in the past few months to make cakes I have not previously made, in order for the potential customer to try it and see if they wanted it. The first one was a pistachio cake. I made an order of cupcakes, the potential customer (known from here on as PC) picked them up, loved them, wanted them for her wedding... then I never heard from her again, even though her MOH got 3 dozen of the same cupcakes for PC's bridal shower. So obviously, had she ordered for her wedding I would've included the tasting cost in there, but since she didn't, I am out the money. And just recently, a PC "definitely" wanted 35 Tiffany box cakes with a delicious pound cake type cake, but wanted to try them first since I hadn't made them before(please see the pic in my pictures, I think they came out awesome thanks to help from some CC members!). Anyway, I went out and bought the ingredients, made the cake from scratch and it was DELICIOUS. Took quite a bit of time decorating 4 boxes (so PC and her husband, plus her sister who was throwing her baby shower could taste them and then a little extra) that I was planning on charging $6/each for (and I think a lot of you would tell me I was nuts for charging so little). Delivered them, PC husband told me they were beautiful.... then nothing. Didn't hear anything, not even "these suck, we hate them". So I figured I'd contact them. PC says they were wonderful, but "too fancy" for her outdoor baby shower, so now they want cupcakes (which are substantially cheaper than these individual mini cakes, obviously). So again, I'm pretty much out the money it cost me to make the sample cakes. I can't have this happen again! Cake baking is by far a passion and a hobby, but I really can't afford to keep losing money on it, unless it's MY choice to do so (like when I give a cake as a gift- to me that's different, and costs a lot less than it would to buy a gift most times).

So... what would you do in this situation? And sorry for being long-winded!!!

13 replies
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Marci Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:20am
post #2 of 14

I only do tastings for people who are deciding on flavors for the wedding (or other large cake) that they have agreed to pay for. I never do a tasting of decorated cake. I just give them a wedge of white cake, yellow cake and chocolate cake (or some specific flavor) and 4 fillings and white and chocolate icing. If they don't trust your decorating ability then they aren't worth your time and effort. If they want a "sample" cake then they have to pay for it. I would have said..."I would be happy to make 4 sample cakes for you, it will be $24". You just have to lay down the law. For all you know... they froze the cakes and then served them at the party. Hope this helps...

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eatCakes Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:28am
post #3 of 14
Originally Posted by Marci

For all you know... they froze the cakes and then served them at the party.

Well, I'm actually invited to her shower, so I don't think that's the case... and I was told by a guy the husband works with (who I'm also friends with) that he tried some and it was awesome. But I do understand them wanting to know if what they wanted could actually be done, I was honest about never having done them before. icon_smile.gif

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Misdawn Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:28am
post #4 of 14

Here is how I do mine... before I will do a tasting, the PC has to pay a $25 fee to reserve her date. I use this to purchase the tasting ingredients. If she books with me, the $25 comes off her total cost and she is informed when she reserves her date that if she doesn't book with me, the money will be used to cover the tasting cost. So I'm not out any money.

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playingwithsugar Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:34am
post #5 of 14

Misdawn -

I want to turn this into l learning thread for me. What if the PC books the cake, then cancels in time to get back their deposit? Do you take your $25 off the top, or do you give them back their whole deposit?

I would take the tasting fee off the top.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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FromScratch Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:36am
post #6 of 14

I do the same this as misdawn.. Pay BEFORE your tasting.. if you book it comes off the price of your cake.

Normally I only do tastings for larger cakes.

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Misdawn Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:38am
post #7 of 14

Well...first, I only do tastings for cakes $100 or more. I also go by a refund schedule outlined in my contract:
"A 50% deposit is also required at the time of reservation. In the event of cancellation, your full deposit will be returned if cancelled more than 120 days before the event, 75% of the deposit will be returned if cancelled 90-119 days before the date. 50% will be returned if cancelled within 60-89 days prior to event. 25% will be returned if cancelled 30-59 days before event. Any cancellation less than 30 days prior to event voids all responsibilities and deposit becomes non-refundable. "

This usually covers any costs I'm out.

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indydebi Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:41am
post #8 of 14

I don't charge for tastings and I don't do them for birthdays or showers for under 100 people. Sorry, but 35 people may be a big event for you, Ms. Potential Customer, but it's a gnat in my face that I'm trying to swat away.

I also will not do a fully decorated cake to show them I can make that cake. They can look at my photos to see examples of my work. As mentioned above, if they wanted a fully decorated cake, then that's an order I expect to be paid for, not a sample. I'd like to see them walk into Pizza Hut and tell them they are planning their kid's birthday party but they need 4 personal pan pizza's to sample first!

I view a tasting as a time when they determine if they like my baking or not so they can determine if they want to book with me or not.

It is NOT a time to sample every item on my menu .... "let's try THIS one! let's try THAT one! I want to see what that OTHER one tastes like!" You do that at Sears when you're trying to decide which blouse to buy. I'm not a cake-changing room. My lemon cake will taste just as good as my white cake except it will taste like lemon.

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Misdawn Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:44am
post #9 of 14

I agree indydebi! Here Here! Well said. My PC has to choose 3 flavors to try. She gets 3 6" cakes - UNDECORATED. Anything more is done at the expense of the PC.

"Cake Samplings will only be done for orders of $100 or more. Any additional samplings requested will be done for a $50 fee. Bride will select three cake flavors and three filling flavors from the lists below. Cake and fillings will be prepared and served on date decided upon between baker and bride.

Cake Flavors
Filling Flavors

Sampling Date ________________ Time ____________"

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cocorum21 Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 11:07am
post #10 of 14

Let's say someone does a tasting with you (under the understanding that tastings are for 100 servings or more) and pays the $25 that it cost and later changes the order for a cake for 50 people. Do you explain that the tasting fee will not come off the balance of their order because the cake is under 100 servings?

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Misdawn Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:26pm
post #11 of 14

OOPS! icon_redface.gif

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Misdawn Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:27pm
post #12 of 14

Yes although that hasn't actually happened to me yet.

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costumeczar Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 4:38pm
post #13 of 14

I wouldn't do samples for smaller cakes, only wedding cakes...I don't charge for tastings because it isn't commonly done that way where I am. What I do is make some extras of the cakes that I'm making that week for wedding cakes anyway, so I'm not mixing up separate cakes for tastings specifically. If someone tells me that they are interested in some specific flavor I tell them that I'll make it if I can, then if I do I just add it to whatever I'm serving to everybody that day. I usually do a chocolate, almond, yellow, and one other flavor that's either a fruit or citrus, so that way there's a range of flavors. At the tasting, I tell people that IF THEY HIRE ME, I can do some more samples if there's something they specifically want to try, but I will work it into my schedule and let them know when it's available. Then, the next time I'm making that flavor I just make some extra and they come pick it up. I've had people send me a list of ten flavors with random fillings, but if that happens I just email them back and remind them that their cake only has 3 tiers icon_rolleyes.gif and they should narrow it down to three, then based on the list they sent I'll suggest what looks like combinations they'd like. I think that a lot of times people are overwhelmed when they have a whole list of flavors to choose from, but if you suggest some that are good they'll go with those to try.

Also, at tastings if they want to take some samples home with them I will happily wrap up the plate of whatever's left over that they tried, and they can go home with that. Unless someone has a good reason, I see no need to send people home with cake to feed their coworkers and friends, which is what is sounds like happened with your Tiffany box cakes.

Just for a point of comparison, I don't do individual cupcakes either, I just do a small cake and cut pieces off of it for the sampling. They get a plate of all the flavors I have that day set in front of them, and that's it. I wouldn't decorate anything for tastings. I did have one groom ask me when they could see the prototype of the cake, since I think he was expecting me to make a small version of it for his approval, but I just told him I don't do that! I also don't do samples of cheesecakes unless I have three or four people on the same day who have said specifically that they want a cheesecake wedding cake.

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vixterfsu Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 8:00pm
post #14 of 14

I don't charge for childrens cakes.
If the cake is over $125.00 I ask what they like and have 2 others on hand. The charge is $25.00.
I haven't had a problem with people asking why for the charge. Times are tough ladies and gents, you can't give it away for free.

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