Has anybody ever held a cake tasting party or event? If so, how did you do it? Was it free or did people have to pay?
We did a cake tasting party when we wanted to try out flavors and combinations of flavors. We made mini cupcakes, filled and frosted them, then invited friends and customers. We gave them questionaires to fill out and asked them to be honest with us so we'd know what worked and what didn't. The questionaires were annonymous. We found that with the mini cupcakes people could taste lots of different flavor combinations. We had other food available, but no one wanted anything but cupcakes and coffee. We did make a pina colada cake, but only because filling a mini with pineapple filling was hard, so we made that one cake and sliced it. But everyone had more fun with the cupcakes. There was also alot of lively discussion over the different flavors and combinations. At the end of the questionairre we also had a place for people to write down flavors and combinations they would like to try another time. We had a ball too.
cownsj - did you charge? How did you advertise this if I may ask? I like the cupcakes idea, but thought that presenting several different cakes with fillings woul work better.
I just don't know if this should all be free, charge by the slice, or a basic admission for a taste of each.
This is a great way to try new ideas!
We did it by word of mouth to people we wanted to specifically invite. It was very informal, and no, we didn't charge for it. Mini's go so far the cost wasn't that much for us to do this. We did 8 different flavor combinations of mini's plus the cake. We felt that we wanted the atmosphere of a "personal" party. I don't see anything wrong with charging for it, depending on exactly what you are looking to do by having the party. We felt, for us, it was a way to get people tasting who hadn't tasted before, and for people who may have tried us but we wanted to just nudge a bit by stepping into flavors that may have been out of their comfort zone before. Plus we had friends of ours there too which made the whole thing more relaxed and they helped make people feel like "part of the family". Our goal was mostly to try out recipes and flavor combinations. We found that with the simpleness of eating a mini cupcake, and it being a "fun" way to eat, it was much more popular and we had to coax people to try the slice of cake. Plus, it seems people fill up more by eating a slice than in a mini cupcake. They had no trouble trying all the different flavor combinations this way. If you want a bit more formal, go for the cakes and let them choose slices. We just wanted to be sure everyone tried every flavor.
Again depending on what you are looking to accomplish (maybe I should have asked you that first), selling by the slice might just feel no different than walking in off the street and buying a slice of cake. So, after all that, I will now finally ask you, what are looking for by doing a party? For us it was:
1. Show our appreciation to those around us
2. Get honest input about recipes and flavor combinations
3. Get some people out of their comfort zone of what they "think" are the flavors and combinations they "should" get
4. Have a fun, relaxed, party.
5. Build a more solid customer base, have them feel more connected to us
A lot of good information..thank you. I am looking to introduce myself to the area, get them out of their flavor comfort zone, and customer base. I am a new (and legal) biz. I have had a few people suggest having a tasting party (and put it on the back burner) so they can taste how good it is and know about me. Since I rent kitchen space at a restaurant, I am trying to figure out the best way to go about this and to also try to bring biz to them so I wouldn't have to pay for space to hold this event. I know its being cheap, but I am trying not to spend too much $ if I don't have to.
Did you put filling in the minis or did you put the filling on the top? Did they have to RSVP? I want anybody to be able to come and taste. I would get the word out and let friends/family know as well, but I want new people. There is one main person here that everyone goes to and although I do custom cake art, she is what everyone knows - along with the standard flavor rut.
We put the filling inside the mini's then frosted as usual. People were very surprised to find the filling in them, and it made a big impression, plus they got to have the entire taste experience. It was definitely worth doing because then the filling and frosting really were the main attraction, then when you added in something like peanut butter cake, that flavor really came through and made it's own impression.
If you know what flavors your competition makes, I'd try to be sure to do flavor combinations they DON'T offer. Then they can't taste yours and go back to the "usual" source for their cakes.
If you make it a Grand Opening Event, or just "open to everyone", then yes, I think I might charge maybe $5.00 per person to eat all they want, plus coffee. And if you think it's in your budget, maybe send them home with a 6 pack sampler (or not...lol). If it's a "private" party, then I think I'd try to do it for free. but for your situation, I'd lean more toward the "Grand Opening Party" type thing. We did have people RSVP so we had an idea of how many mini's we'd have to bake, but that's harder with a Grand Opening, though you could also do something where you say that it's open to the first (pick a number.....) to reserve their spot. It could be a private party, very large, and even set different times for people to arrive if you wanted, but make it a closed party unless they have a reservation. But, if you are welcoming everyone in, charging them would help to cut down on those people who just want free samples and not give any thought to what you are trying to do.
hmmmm, trying to figure a spot for it. I know the churches in our area always have a member who supplies cake and makes the coffee for everyone after services. I don't know if you would want to consider something like that...... Of course that would be a non-charge type thing. If you have a township event where you can rent a booth or space, you could do something there. We support our local dog park and bake for them as a fundraiser, but are there serving and have books there for people to view. We are helping raise money for a great cause, plus we are there when people are sampling our cakes.
Glad I could help. Any other questions just ask away. Can't say I'll have the answers, but I'll sure as heck do my best. Please be sure to tell us what you come up with, and how it goes.