I Don't Get The Vents About Last Minute Orders

Decorating By erin2345 Updated 11 Jun 2011 , 2:41pm by YellowBrickRd

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erin2345 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 3:49pm
post #1 of 18

Yes, I know it is nicer to have lots of time to plan ahead and bake, but really, if you CAN do it, why don't you? Give them a quote (make it higher than normal if you'd like to), if they go for it, great! I got an order one Saturday morning (a friend of a friend who sent the email late the nite before) asking for a cake - I called her back and told her what I could do in that short time frame, and what it would cost. She happily agreed and I baked, cooled, iced and decorated the cake that morning and delivered it in the afternoon. She loved it, and has ordered another one since.

I don't understand the vents - yes, some of these people don't understand what it takes to make an 'ace of cakes cake', but if you have enough time to make the darn cake, then make it! Don't just not do it b/c 'they should know better'.

17 replies
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kristiemarie Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:06pm
post #2 of 18

Because you're setting yourself up for more last minute orders. They think "well, she did it last time..." and then they come to expect an unreasonable time frame. Yes, you can do it in a day one time. But if you get orders like that all the time, it can get overwhelming. And do you want her friends to call you with a days notice? Or their friends?

People will talk about it and then they will all expect it. Do you really want to deal with that?

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Melvira Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:07pm
post #3 of 18

I totally understand what you're saying, yett venting is a natural part of the human process. Think of it this way... you stub your toe... you cry out, possibly a curse word. Now, when the pain goes away you know that the curse or holler didn't really help anything, but it was your reaction to the situation. In a moment of emotion or frustration, you had to 'let it out' so to speak. Sometimes a last minute order can be a big pain, and you just have to give out a little yelp.

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erin2345 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:15pm
post #4 of 18

I guess I should add on - I get being annoyed that you have to all this work at the last minute - but not to take the order bc ' they should know better' - even if you have space in your schedule!? I don't get that. I like the money, and I like the business. I am not into cake decorating so I can school people on the ettiquette. Just tell them, 'this is very last minute, but I hate to turn anyone away! This is what I can do for you ...' Next time they won't leave it so long, bc they will immediately think of you, and how awesome your cake was, when they are having a party/birthday/anniversary etc.

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Bettyviolet101 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:24pm
post #5 of 18

Nah not interested in last min orders. Honestly not having time really really stresses me out and its not worth it. I am not interested in promising a cake in 2 days time, having something go horribly wrong, and then not having time to fix it. Thats just where I am though.

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Unlimited Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:36pm
post #6 of 18

I don't see anything wrong with being known as the baker/decorator that provides what their clients want when they need it.

If you provide this nearly unheard of service, it sets you apart from others that require numerous hoops to jump through just to get a spontaneous cake! They'll remember you the next time for the service they received, and who cares if it's last minute notice again as long as you can handle itit's more business. It's not "our" job to question why anyone needs a spontaneous cake, it's to provide. If you aren't able to provide, someone else gets the business.

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AnotherCaker Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:42pm
post #7 of 18

I'll evaluate what they are asking for, if the details can be prepared in time to allow for sufficient drying/setting/etc., and they are prepared to meet right away with cash in hand, AND it interferes with nothing I had planned, I do it. I don't vent about stuff like that either. If it can be done, fine, if not...I get to relax and enjoy my free time.

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jason_kraft Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:44pm
post #8 of 18

It's easier for home-based bakers to accommodate last-minute orders...here in CA we have to rent a commercial kitchen (since it's illegal to sell food made from home), and we usually need to reserve hours in advance since there are several tenants. If we get a last-minute order we cannot fill it if the kitchen is already booked up, even if we have free time.

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CakewardHo Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:06pm
post #9 of 18

I will do them for long-time customers because I want to keep them long time customers. And in some cases, if it is an emergency I will do it for others (like they have unexpected people coming in expecting to celebrate a birthday). I NEVER have people come to my home--I always meet them somewhere. I have had people leave me "stranded" in my own home for hours while they were getting their party supplies.
I have done 1 anniversary cake on 3 days notice, because their daughter was supposed to make the cake and had a disaster on her "practice" cake and then had some school thing she had to attend. I will always take a last minute fondant cake--I am just learning fondant and I will take any opportunity to get another under my belt. I have a BIG wedding cake in October for my best friend's daughter and want to be pretty proficient by then. I have friends of friends text me and I have no idea who they are, to order celebration cakes, but I have never had anyone not show up. If they were late notice (like 2 days ahead) they always give me a good tip.
To make a short story long, if I can fit it into my schedule and it is a fairly simple cake, I will do it. Money is money and I only have 1 client that habitually does it, but after 2 simple layered cakes delivered that the top went "wonky" because the layers were not cooled long enough, she has learned to give me a few days notice. She was grateful to have a cake NOT from a grocery store "wonky" or not.

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Melvira Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:13pm
post #10 of 18

I always evaluate what they want, and if it's possible, I do it. It's pretty dang rare that I say no. Only if I'm overbooked. BUT... I make it very clear to my customers that the more 'last minute' it is, the less sure they should be about getting a cake. They know if they call me the day before, I might be booked. And they are cool with that. I set realistic expectations in advance. thumbs_up.gif

I do have to shake my head and laugh at some of the requests though. Obviously they don't know what you've got on your plate, so it's not that they are stupid, it's just that their timing is AWFUL! Last weekend I was in the middle of a four tiered wedding, groom's with sugar bottle, several cupcake orders, decorated cookies, lemon bars, enough work for a full staff, but I am a one lady operation. Someone called and wondered if they could get a cake for the following day. I just chuckled and said, "I WISH I could do that... unfortunately...". She was very nice about it. But I agree 100% that I hate saying no if there is any way I can do it. I like to be seen as that reliable chick who always comes through, and YES... I DO like the extra money! icon_lol.gif

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Melvira Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:16pm
post #11 of 18

I also want to add... and I am NOT referencing anyone in particular (Ok... my Aunt. I will admit to that) some people are NOT happy unless they're bitching. That's just how some people operate. They just like to crab about everything. I guess they think it impresses people?? And then some people are just having a poop-stain of a day, and someone just rubbed them wrong. My grandparents are whiners. At their age (91 and 95) it's a little expected, but nothing is right. They just complain about everything. Even the fact that they woke up alive this morning, KWIM?

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TexasSugar Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:24pm
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by erin2345

Just tell them, 'this is very last minute, but I hate to turn anyone away! This is what I can do for you ...' Next time they won't leave it so long, bc they will immediately think of you, and how awesome your cake was, when they are having a party/birthday/anniversary etc.

You teach people how to treat you. And actions speak a lot louder than words. What they will remember, is that you did do a cake for them in a days notice, so really why do they need you to do it in more?

When I was first getting into cakes, I had a lot of family wanting a cake for the next day, and it was possible then. Because I wanted to do every cake I could, and because I didn't work so I had all morning to bake and could bring them a cake before 3pm. This went on until I finally put my foot down and was like seriously guys, I need more time to plan, to bake, and so one.

Because I know work a full time job and a part time job now, I need to know several weeks ahead of time what you want, and if I have enough time to do it when you need it by.

I totally understand some people aren't big planners, or last minute things do come up. But if someone comes to you the day before their kids party for every kid they have, this isn't because something came up. It is because of conditioning. They were taught they could ask for a last minute cake and get it, so why should they plan ahead.

And some of this comes from everyone being able to run to Walmart or what ever local grocery store they go to, after work on their way home, the night of the party. So yes, if a person wants more time to offer custom made cakes (especially larger ones) they need to be taught 'the rules of the game' from the person they are buying their cakes from.

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CakewardHo Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:29pm
post #13 of 18

Yes, I love my cake "texters" they are usually last-minute cupcake orderers, but they tip well. It's always fun to get to the meeting place and figure out who is who.
My other favorite thing is people who order cakes who want the same thing as last year. My 50 year old brain cannot process what happened yesterday, much less a cake order that was placed a year ago!
I LOVE, LOVE those who place orders via email and attach photos. That way if the name is spelled incorrectly or anything like that (trust me I have gotten some really strange names), it is in the email that THEY spelled it incorrectly. If the name is especially weird, I bring my icing bag just in case.

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scp1127 Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 8:52am
post #14 of 18

I have it on my home page to call with last minute orders. If we can fit it in, we will. Or we can offer an alternative that we can do. That works for us. I have no problem letting people know we can't and no problem doing it if we can.

I think the compromise is that they need to feed people. Working with the customer on what can be accomplished is a win for both... with the time available. They may want a red velvet cake for 30. I'm already baking vanilla cupcakes with chocolate FBC. If they can piggyback onto the order I am already going to bake, it will be simple to give them a cake or cupcakes. Their guests would rather have great choc/vanilla cupcakes vs. a Walmart Red Velvet.

My commercial kitchen is on the bottom floor of my home. Whipping up something if I have the time is easy. For others without this setup, it would be difficult.

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solascakes Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 10:41am
post #15 of 18

I and last minute don't mix, I don't have the time, if I've planned to sleep for the whole day, so be it. Their lack of planning is not my own emergency. They can go to Costco.

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indydebi Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 1:43pm
post #16 of 18

As others have said, it depends on what they are wanting and when. A small 2 tier (8/10) with cascading roses for tomorrow? Normally no problem. Unless they are calling on Friday and I had a Saturday catering for 200 people in a venue 50 miles away. Sorry my friday would be FULL with doing food prep, inventory checklisting, equpment staging, etc. Satuday is 100% dedicated to this catering. They call on Tuesday and want it on Wed? Easy.

But then there's the guy who called at 11:00 a.m. and wanted a cake carved like a Porsche .... for his 5:00 dinner party that night. I couldnt' help but laugh out loud and ask, 'Dude! do you know how many DAYS it takes to make a cake like that?" I recommended another bakery who MIGHT be able to do it and he said, "I already called them ... they said they needed more notice." Duh!

I think the vents are more for those over the top cakes that involve fondant figures, days-ahead-of-time preliminary work, etc., but the customer thinks they can be whipped up on an afternoon.

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LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 2:08pm
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by indydebi

I think the vents are more for those over the top cakes that involve fondant figures, days-ahead-of-time preliminary work, etc., but the customer thinks they can be whipped up on an afternoon.

Exactly. We get (and take) last minute cake orders all the time. We joke that "last-minute cakes" should be our name and business model. icon_wink.gif But we're still relatively new on the custom cake scene where we live, so we get a lot of either referrals from another well-established cake shop in town, or someone who needs a cake NOW and they have called around to all of the other places with no luck. Doing last-minute orders is how we end up getting a lot of repeat business.

BUT- what I tend to vent about is the kind of thing indydebi was saying- we had a girl call us wanting a cake in the shape of a very specific model and make of car (Can't remembr which one). She called at about 2:00 PM or so and wanted it it THE NEXT DAY. Are you kidding me??? Even if I didn't know what went into making a cake like that, logic says "I need to order this kind of cake farther in advance than 12 hours". Maybe that's just me though. icon_rolleyes.gif

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YellowBrickRd Posted 11 Jun 2011 , 2:41pm
post #18 of 18

I think people vent on here because they feel like they are among friends and others who TOTALLY understand what they are saying. I know my family (mom especially) have no true understanding of how time consuming some cakes can be (like Indydeb said-a car cake). heck yeah we can all whip out a sheet cake or simple 2 tier...but something larger..eh?? I agree with all of you. However, I would never vent about it because I would feel honored. If last minute cakes are done you could be setting yourself up for a dedicated client that remember the favor-not necesarily make it a habit. Just get the cake done if you can, thank them for the business and explain the possibilities if they can order atleast 2 weeks in advance! icon_razz.gif

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