lilmissbakesalot: You do not use the top plate unless you are doing a chandelier cake that has to be upside down or an upside down cake. They really look awesome!
However, I'm wondering if the caterers are taking it apart correctly if they find it complicated? When you are taking the cake apart, all you do is unscrew one piece and then you take the plate and pillars out in one section like any other pillar/plate system. Unless they are washing it? That is not fun and takes some time but as far as just taking the cake apart, it is simple.
The reason we wanted a sturdy cake structure is because we live in the "county" not the city. The closest city to me has only 700 people (if that). The roads to ANY venue around here has gravel, potholes, narrow, tight curves, and tons of hills. When you get to the next biggest city, you have all of the crazies who run lights, cut you off, blah blah blah..... On top of that, I deliver the tiered cakes finished because I can not do it at the venue. I work at night when everyone is closed.
The stacker has been a blessing for me. I don't use it for my small cakes because then I would agree, it is too much for a small (2 tier) cake. I am really thinking hard about other systems that are disposable. (The small cakes I do not deliver and use things that I don't have to retrieve) I do more small cakes that the large ones, but the piece of mind for those is a blessing! My husband (who is my driver, stacker, and all around great guy!) is a lot less nervous about deliveries with the stacker as well. Those cakes just don't move! Thus neither does my blood pressure!
Anyway, I just wanted to share how it works for us because I was surprised to read that caterers you know have such a hard time taking it apart. Even though the stacker looks menacing, it really is very easy to take apart. Perhaps nobody has shown them the proper way? We always go over the video AND leave a diagram of it. We ask them NOT to take the sections apart and just put it in the box that I provide. I take it apart myself and clean it.