Working With A Caterer...

Business By HappyCake10609 Updated 1 Mar 2013 , 4:48am by -K8memphis

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HappyCake10609 Posted 28 Feb 2013 , 5:02pm
post #1 of 6

I haven't been on CC much since the new format (I don't like it!)... but now that I have a cake business-y question, I'm hoping I can get some advice from my fellow CCers!

I just recently agreed to start doing cakes for a popular catering/event planning company, they do not do their own cakes.  I had a friend start working there, and she got me a meeting.  I will be billing them directly,working with them and not directly with the couples- the caterer is my client.  They will be adding a mark up to my prices... I don't have a problem with it, I'm still charging what I would charge anyway. 


They do not give out their bakers information (so that the clients don't go look at my website and see what I charge), but I made sure that I still retain the rights to my designs/photos and can use them for whatever purpose I'd like.  This is where it makes me a little uneasy.  I think I can live with the clients not having my info, it won't do much for "word of mouth" advertising, and it won't "get my name out there", but I'm pretty much guaranteed business from the caterer. It will bring in more volume (without advertising fees) and I can grow my wedding cake portfolio- which in turn will help me prove myself to my own clients.


I should also mention, that their client base is NOT my client base.  They are definitely a very well known & popular caterer, have won awards, bring in higher paying clients (which is good for me because these clients will want the "extras" that I want to do & can charge for!).  They are also in a different area... I've given them delivery prices and minimums to make it worth my while to deliver to their venues.  But all this to say, we wouldn't really be competition.


Now, I've thought about it a lot before agreeing... and thought I had considered all parts of the arrangement...  BUT, I didn't consider that this caterer has their events published with some regularity.  Well, I knew it... but didn't think about what it would mean to me.  Until, they just posted a link to their event published in Martha Stewart.  Now, I didn't make the cake for that event... but I know that they did not and the credit for catering AND cake goes to them.  So now, I'm thrown.  I know it makes good business sense, for them.  But, as an artist, if one of my cakes were included in a national publication with credit going to someone else, I would be devastated!  I don't think they lie to their clients, claiming they make the cakes... but they are vague and talk about "their baker."  I also don't know who submitted the wedding for publication, the bride, the photographer, or the cater/event planner.  So, it could have been someone unaware of the fact that they didn't make the cake.

So now, I don't know what to do.  I'm a doormat by nature, so starting a business has already put me outside of my comfort zone (I rely on my husband to keep me business minded).  I haven't talked to them about it, should I?  Does it have nothing to do with me?  Should I come up with some sort of waiver or agreement that my name appear with my cakes, should any of them be published?  I find it hard to believe that their other bakers wouldn't take issue with it, so I'm not sure if maybe there is nothing I can do.  We don't have any kind of long term contract, I agree to work with them on a cake by cake basis.  I've only accepted 4 orders so far.  Should I just stop working with them?

Sorry this got so long... and I know this is really something only I can make a decision about.... But I know that Cake Central has a great group of artists and business minded people... so I'm just asking, "what would you do?"



5 replies
jason_kraft Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jason_kraft Posted 28 Feb 2013 , 11:28pm
post #2 of 6

AWhen you create a work for hire, your employer owns the rights to your creation and does not have to credit you unless your contract says otherwise. You can certainly ask for credit, but if I were the caterer I would decline, since if I advertised that XYZ cake company made the cake customers would be able to contact XYZ directly and I would lose my markup.

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HappyCake10609 Posted 1 Mar 2013 , 3:00am
post #3 of 6

Thank you, Jason, for the response... that is what I figured, but it helps to hear it from someone else. 


I guess I'll just have to decide if their potential extra business is worth my potential disappointment if they got credit for one of my creations in a publication...

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 1 Mar 2013 , 3:53am
post #4 of 6

jason is right


and what you said is one way to look at it


another way is to be happy and proud that you are associated with such a great company 


that gets outstanding national (and isn't ms world wide?)  fantastic exposure--it certainly can't hurt you


you are going to get regular work and not have to go outside of your comfort zone


still get to build up your own work on the side


that's a pretty sweet deal


you can certainly take credit within your own circles that your creations for xyz catering got in the spotlight


you just work for them--"it's a very good thing"!!!!

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Stitches Posted 1 Mar 2013 , 4:14am
post #5 of 6

I'd focus only on doing the best work I could possibly do! Opportunities like this don't happen often. People behind the scenes will figure out who's doing the work (if you do good work, people always notice). You could gain even more work from other vendors through this contact. Get over the small minded stuff that people get bogged down over in these cake forums. Focus on making a living doing what you love. Be professional, step out of your box, grab the reins and GO BIG.

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-K8memphis Posted 1 Mar 2013 , 4:48am
post #6 of 6

you still have huge bragging rights!!!

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