Long time lurker, rare poster....
I've been working out a deal with local caterer where they'll contract their cakes out to me, because their pastry chef runs the pastry department for their storefront and she doesn't want to do the event pastries as well. We've been finalizing the details of this for over six months and now the orders are starting to come in.
I have my first large scale order this weekend and I'm kind of freaking out a little. I just scaled up all my recipes and it's intimidating to see my 16 cupcake recipe scaled up to 300 cupcakes! I feel like I'm swimming in a sea of sugar and butter!! I'm also cooking in a professional kitchen for the first time (kind of my second time but I don't really count the first), so that's wracking my brain too. I'm really nervous but I've worked really hard to get here so I'm trying to calm myself down and keep my head on straight.
Also, the bride for this event keeps changing what she wants, sugar flowers one minute (for a small slicing cake) and icing flowers the next. Basketweave today, smooth buttercream tomorrow. I feel like I'm going to arrive to their kitchen and have to change my game plan!
How do you guys deal with the pressures of first-time events like this?
Any words or anecdotes of advice?
First thing that comes to mind is why is the bride changing or rather being allowed to change plans this late. I know you are experienced as I have seen you occasionally lurking , but details for cakes we have for this weekend are already agreed and signed off. No way would we accept changes for such a large order this close to the function and brides (or birthday people etc) are told very clearly when the cut off date for changes is.
The only other word of advice I have is allow yourself time, it is surprising how long it takes to do 300 cupcakes. I remember the first time I had a large order I felt like I had cupcakes everywhere and it seemed to take forever. You will learn a lot and be much more organised next time.
Well done for arranging the deal and good luck!
I've been working out a deal with local caterer where they'll contract their cakes out to me... I have my first large scale order this weekend... I'm also cooking in a professional kitchen for the first time...
Also, the bride for this event keeps changing what she wants...
How do you guys deal with the pressures of first-time events like this? .. Any words or anecdotes of advice?
First time for everything! You'll get through it and have stories to tell. Most important is to be organized with a detailed to-do list. And leave lots of extra time.
The customer should not be allowed to change an order after a certain date. Since you have worked out an unusual business relationship with the caterer I can see how this detail slipped through. It's your responsibility to revise your contract and include a cut-off date for any changes.
I add this last point because you posted in the business forum: Your relationship with the caterer is regulated by law so I hope you have looked into this. There are specifics about sub-contractors and who qualifies.
Best of luck with your first order!!!
in my experience, caterers expect last minute changes from clients so that atmosphere is one you might need to focus on -- a 50 serving difference in fried chicken or filet can be presto change-o'd much closer to the last minute than decorated cake can be --
so how are these changes being communicated to you? through the caterer? or does the bride come right to you-- i mean i don't need to know i'm just saying that you need a different control than the caterer has -- and i hope you're not just getting messages from her --
i like this story that illustrates this -- one of henry ford's sons was inspecting a prototype of a car and he climbed out of the back seat and said something like, 'add 12 inches of legroom here' -- sometimes i use that in a consult to explain why changes aren't allowed -- they basically had to go back to square one in order to facilitate that change -- at the last minute more cake can be ordered in 24 serving increments but at a certain point in time no more changes -- and that certain point is much earlier than the caterer's deadline for head count --
best to you
AMy contract states no changes can be made to an order once we are 30 days out from the event. That way I can start ordering things and preping. Do you have anything like that?
Just thought I'd check in and see how you were doing and to assure you that obsessively counting cupcakes and then having someone else also check your count, is completely normal lol.