I have a few questions. Mainly to see how others would grade the shop I work at.
The shop is a full bakery, doughnuts, muffins, cookies, pies, breads... I started last April and she opened July 2010, so it is just the owner and I. Now the doughnuts/muffins usually fit fine in the boxes, and the cookies work in the brown bags. But if we have someone that wants less then a dozen cupcakes the packaging is plastic deli style containers. Not very pretty and they slide around. Also with cakes 90% are to tall for the boxes. We've had several people smash the cake because they expect the lid to fit. Or we don't even have a box for it to fit in. I see this as bad presentation, sloppy, and unprofessional. My boss sees nothing wrong with it. She has said before "What did they expect they wanted X design, or to feed X amount of people."
A lot of why she buys the containers she does is cost, plus her husbands opinion/pushiness. She buys from the local restaurant warehouse. I know she has looked online, but obviously nothing floated her boat. How much do you think presentation brings people back? What made you pick the boxes and containers you did? Thanks for your opinions.
EVERYTHING has to be eye appealing. All the cupcake shops have proper boxes that fit, even the grocery store. No one wants a smashed cupcake.
Does she actually have return customers? She doesn't sound like someone who cares about her customers or her work. After spending time to bake & decorate a cake, I would want it to reach its destination in one piece and make sure that the customer would get their money's worth. I bake only for my family but if I ever do I will make sure to buy the proper boxes to accommodate the size/height of cake etc.
We often make cakes that extend past the top of the box, when this happens we tape up the top of the box and/or tape toothpicks to the side to make sure the lid doesn't come down.
You can definitely make plastic cupcake containers appealing -- we don't have any problems with the cupcakes sliding around inside the plastic clamshells, so she may be ordering the wrong size.
Check online at brpboxshop.com, they make great boxes and offer free shipping.
Does this shop have a page on Yelp? If so, and there are negative comments, it may be worthwhile showing the owner.
The cupcakes should be in cupcake clamshells or have the inserts. If she likes the plastic container she should invest in the clamshells...compare the price of singles to 1/2 dozen containers and it may be cheaper to just use the 6 count clamshell for any order 6 or under. If you sell a lot of singles then you may want to invest in single clamshells. I prefer the bakery boxes with inserts but if she is that concerned about cost at least invest in the boxes that won't have them sliding around or tipping over. Very few people have boxes tall enough for "custom cakes" so I do what the other person said and tape the boxes open.
Not on Yelp, but we do have feedback on Urbanspoon. We have 85% positive feedback.
I wish we would get the cupcake clamshells. We have one that holds 2 or 3 and one that could hold 4 or 5. They do slide around in them. They work fine for other items like bars, brownies, peanut clusters... I wondered how many other bakers had trouble fitting cakes in the boxes. Thanks for the toothpick idea! We had tried to tape the sides before. People would take it off.
I have been getting my bakery boxes from bake-a-box and love them! The prices are great - shipping is up there, but it still makes them the best priced boxes that I have found. They even have boxes for tiered cakes and individual cupcakes. Hope this info helps!
This suggestion may not be ok for commercial use but why not take a cupcake pan and mold (regular aluminum) foil to fit in the boxes/clam shell box she is using? It would stop the product from moving around as each cuppie would have it's own cup to fit in.
I think presentation is hugely important. The nicer the boxes that the goods are in - the better I believe your goods are perceived to be. At the end of the day you could have the most tasty cupcakes in town, but if you fail to display them nicely in a manner that people appreciate and wish to return to again and again - you are cutting corners in your packaging - and possibly damaging future business. I would always recommend get the nicest packaging to suit the product that you can afford.