What To Do About A Customer's Demands

Decorating By tguegirl Updated 13 Jul 2010 , 2:44am by tguegirl

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tguegirl Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:10pm
post #1 of 17

I recently donated a gift certificate for a custom-made cake to a local auction, design and flavors of your choice, to feed up to 50 people. The customer who bought it paid $200 and wants a cake for her wedding. She wants a sculpted design of two stuffed animals hugging each other. I told her it wouldn't be a problem. Today, I get an email from her checking to see if the cake would be able to feed 100-150 people.

I am inclined to email her and just tell her 50 max. However, I wanted to double-check with you guys. I've made lots of sculpted cakes before, but was planning on making the cake partially out of rice krispie treats, etc. How hard it is to make a sculpted cake that feeds 100-150--especially considering it's an intricate design that I'll have to shave a lot of cake off of? Should I charge her for the extra or just tell her that she's getting 50 servings max? She had mentioned to me that the catering hall was providing a buttercream tiered cake, so I'm not especially concerned that there won't be enough cake.

16 replies
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sherry_lyn Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:20pm
post #2 of 17

If she wants 100-150 servings, she pays for the extra. PERIOD. And for me, scuplted cakes START much higher per serving than tiered cakes. Tiered starts $2.50/serv, sculpted starts at $5/serv. As long as she's willing to pay the difference, I'd do it.

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Auryn Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:22pm
post #3 of 17

The thing is it doesnt matter how much she paid for the gift certificate. It was a charity auction.
Did you put a maximum dollar value on the certificate?? I know you said 50 servings max but a plain frosting and ribbon 50 serving cake is very different from a very detailed sculpted cake for 50.

I would tell her that the certificate she donated money for (which is what she did at the charity auction) covers servings for 50- if she needs more servings she is going to have to pay for them at your regular rate.

I can't help you with the sculpting part, but the whole thing doesnt have to be sculpted- it could have a cake base it sits on to make up the other servings.

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cakesbycathy Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:36pm
post #4 of 17

What do you normally charge for a cake for 50 servings? Give her the price for what you would charge for the cake normally and then tell her she can use her gift certificate to take that amount off the price you would normally charge for that kind of cake. Or just decline her request telling her that her certificate does not cover sculpted cakes.

It's completely irrelevant what she paid. The certificate is worth what it's worth.

In the future you are better off making the gift certificate for a dollar amount rather than a serving amount.

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tguegirl Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:37pm
post #5 of 17

I didn't put a money value on it. I'm fine with making a sculpted cake even though I know it'll be more of my time, etc. It was for charity and so I really didn't mind. It's the extra servings that gets me. I guess I will go ahead and tell her 50 serves or $5/serving extra. Although I personally think just 50 servings will create less of a headache for me.

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cutthecake Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:15pm
post #6 of 17

The charity got the $200. EVERYTHING else is out of your pocket. The bride is only entitled to 50 servings of cake, and unless you specified "sculpted cake" as part of the deal, it's no deal on sculpted cake.

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catlharper Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:21pm
post #7 of 17

Call her back and set up a meeting to discuss how you can make the cake feed that many people and say "of course you can use your gift certificate towards the final price!" It says 50 servings then that's how many she gets...period. If she wants another 100 then she has to pay for the 100. If you go into Macy's with a $50 gift card but the shoes you want are $150 they don't give it to you for the $50, they take the $50 off the final total, right? Do this with her too.

As for the cake...set it on a cake base making it a tiered cake...I wouldn't try to make a sculpted bear cake that big...not to mention how they would go about cutting it! LOL!


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tguegirl Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:23pm
post #8 of 17

Thanks for all of your replies. Let me clarify a few things.

I am totally fine with making a sculpted cake. In fact, the certificate advertised, "design of your choice" and noted that sculpted cakes was an option. The reason I don't care about sculpted v. non-sculpted is that the materials cost for both is basically the same. The only difference is time and I don't mind giving that up because I love doing cakes and enjoy the time I spend doing cakes. Also, I would love to have more sculpted cakes for my portfolio and enjoy doing them more than tiered cakes.

Also, I didn't put a number amount because I am not licensed and so do not sell cakes. This was fine because it was a donation. In the future, I will probably find a market cost and put it with the certificate.

The main problem I have with the bride is that she is asking for 2-3 times the amount of servings I agreed to. That means 2-3 times the amount of fondant, cake, icing, etc. That means a lot of out-of-pocket costs for me that, as a student, I can't really afford to absorb.

I think I will probably just say 50 servings max. Since I am not licensed, I don't want to accept money for the additional servings.

Thanks for all of your replies! I probably should have clarified things more originally. icon_redface.gif

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cakesbycathy Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:32pm
post #9 of 17

Since you are not licensed I agree - you are better off telling her you can only make a cake for 50 servings which is what the certificate entitles her to. If you allowed her to pay for the extra servings then it could come back to bite you.

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dchockeyguy Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 8:41pm
post #10 of 17

Personally, I'd do what one of the above posters metnioned. Tell her that the certificate specified 50 servings. If she wants more, you'd be glad to deduct the price for 50 servings from the total price. So if the 50 servings would normally cost someone $150, deduct that from the total of doing 150.

What she paid for this certificate should have no bearing on the pricing. That's a charity donation, that she's actually able to write off. You aren't so lucky.

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BlakesCakes Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 8:57pm
post #11 of 17

All of my cakes are for charities or donations to charities, so I do a lot of certificates. They all specify a # of servings and I rarely know what the winning bid was on the certificates.

I allow for someone redeeming a certificate to request additional servings--for an addtional donation to the charity at $x/serving, depending on the type of cake requested. For a sculpted cake, that would at least $4/serving. They have to give me the additional $$ in cash and I give them a money order made out to the charity that they send in. Knock wood, this works extremely well.

If you WANT to make a 100-150 serving cake (and have the charity get extra $$), it's up to you. I would personally never consider making all of those servings in a sculpted cake, as I don't have an option to store a 3-D cake of that size.

Another consideration is that if the venue provides a buttercream wedding cake, then you might want your cake to be as different from that as possible so that there is no confusion over the (possibly) "lesser" wedding cake and yours.

Your certificate for 50 servings could provide a nice "grooms" cake for the couple thumbs_up.gif


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bakingpw Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 12:07am
post #12 of 17

"Also, I didn't put a number amount because I am not licensed and so do not sell cakes. This was fine because it was a donation."

Not licensed? Do you have insurance? This is NOT fine! You must be licensed to be insured ~ if you are not insured, you are inviting a lawsuit. Even if the cake is free if someone gets sick, they ARE going to sue you. You could lose your home. I know a caterer who food poisoned 60 people at a wedding reception because he forgot to wash the raspberries.

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BlakesCakes Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 12:28am
post #13 of 17

Well............the "must" part may be the case in some states, but not in all.

Here in OH, you don't need to be licensed to sell baked goods. As long as you don't provide perishable goods that require refrigeration, like cheesecakes, you can operate as a cottage provider without oversight from any agency.

I carry a large umbrella policy as part of my homeowner's insurance in case an issue should arise and follow that simple rule to only make shelf stable products.

I would hope that the organizers who asked for and accepted the certificate as part of their auction would know whether or not an unlicensed baker can offer a product. Obviously here in OH, it's a non issue, for the most part.


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bakingpw Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 12:36am
post #14 of 17

BlakesCakes: I had a licensed kitchen in Ohio for 10 years - it was separate from my family space and was insured. I was using the term MUST because if you are baking and do not have insurance, you are asking for trouble. If your health Dept./Dept. of Agriculture allows you to have a large umbrella policy with your homeowners insurance, then that is sufficient, (though it might jeopardize your home if you are sued) but my point is: home bakers, make sure you have insurance. Also, I wouldn't assume the organization who ran the auction knew this baker was unlicensed.

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Kitagrl Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 12:57am
post #15 of 17

50 servings, period...its what the certificate said.

The certificate did NOT say "Free cake...as much as you want...whatever you want."

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Cindy619 Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 2:25am
post #16 of 17

So let's summarize your options - because you can not legally sell cake, it leaves you with three options:

1.) Make a cake for 150 for free

2.) Make a cake for 150 and have the client donate the additional cost to the charity (oops, you're still making a cake for free)

3.) Make a cake for 50 - Tell her that unfortunately you have to stay with the original servings as indicated on the gift certificate. I like what someone mentioned earlier about having it as the "groom's cake".

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tguegirl Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 2:44am
post #17 of 17

Cake for 50 it is! Thanks, everyone.

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