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Do I let them serve their own cupcakes?!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I opened my own cake shop almost a year ago, and one issue that seems to keep arising is customers that want a small wedding cake topper from us, and then they, or their aunt, grandma, etc, will be making their own cupcakes in order to save money.

Now, I don't want to turn into a snobby baker that only allows my dessert served at the event, but at the same time, what if those cupcakes are terrible?

And everyone asks "Who made the Cake?"

"Oh, Sublime Cake Design made it. Its beautiful! Im gonna grab a cupcake....."
.....

"EWWW!!!"

Get my point?! Or even worse, if people get sick because maybe they were made in some cat lady's kitchen?!?!

How do I say, in a nice and professional way, that they cannot make their own "cake" type of dessert, when our name is on the job?

Any advice out there? Anyone have the same issue?! Any help would be great!!!

Thanks.....
Wiley Saccheri
Sublime Cake Design

Ultimate Cake Off Assistant Episodes 108 and 209!
Go Winbeckler Team!
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Wiley Saccheri
Sublime Cake Design

Ultimate Cake Off Assistant Episodes 108 and 209!
Go Winbeckler Team!
Reply
post #2 of 8
This is called a "sole source" clause, and you can include it in your contract with the customer. However, this clause is pretty much impossible to enforce, and your sole recourse (taking the cake away if you see another baked good at the venue) would do a lot of damage to your reputation, so it's basically a bluff.

If you do decide to include a sole source clause, make sure there is an exception for people with food allergies.
post #3 of 8
Your concern is valid.

I'm small potatoes and I will only supply cake/cake products if I'm the sole source. I carry liability insurance and I can't afford to have someone make a claim for a mouse in their cake when it's NOT my cake.

I'm very clear about being a sole source provider and that I WILL walk with a cake, if necessary. I can't predict how everyone will handle it, but if I get the sense that the cake requested is much too small for the event, I may even contact the venue to verify the menu and guest numbers.

Food is a touchy subject when it comes to liability. In some areas, an outside cake vendor isn't even welcomed by the caterer because of liability issues. It can be the result of the way someone's policy is written, or, of course, it can also be a $$$$ issue where they're trying to keep all of the $$$ in-house.

I do know that in my area, many caterers and venues absolutely prohibit someone bringing in "Aunt Mary's Deviled Eggs" or "Uncle John's BB-Q'd Pigs Feet" because their contract cites them as the sole provider for the plated foods or buffet offerings.

Fortunately, I haven't run into this issue with venues.

I find that 90% of people are very understanding. I don't have to go against my own policies, or even gut feeling, if I don't want to--and they can either have the same person make a small cutting cake (fresh or silk flowers can make most cakes look just fine for a photo), they can purchase a grocery store cake, or they can find another baker who isn't invested in being a sole provider.

Do what allows you to sleep best at night.
Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Your concern is valid.

I'm small potatoes and I will only supply cake/cake products if I'm the sole source. I carry liability insurance and I can't afford to have someone make a claim for a mouse in their cake when it's NOT my cake.

I'm very clear about being a sole source provider and that I WILL walk with a cake, if necessary. I can't predict how everyone will handle it, but if I get the sense that the cake requested is much too small for the event, I may even contact the venue to verify the menu and guest numbers.

Food is a touchy subject when it comes to liability. In some areas, an outside cake vendor isn't even welcomed by the caterer because of liability issues. It can be the result of the way someone's policy is written, or, of course, it can also be a $$$$ issue where they're trying to keep all of the $$$ in-house.

I do know that in my area, many caterers and venues absolutely prohibit someone bringing in "Aunt Mary's Deviled Eggs" or "Uncle John's BB-Q'd Pigs Feet" because their contract cites them as the sole provider for the plated foods or buffet offerings.

Fortunately, I haven't run into this issue with venues.

I find that 90% of people are very understanding. I don't have to go against my own policies, or even gut feeling, if I don't want to--and they can either have the same person make a small cutting cake (fresh or silk flowers can make most cakes look just fine for a photo), they can purchase a grocery store cake, or they can find another baker who isn't invested in being a sole provider.

Do what allows you to sleep best at night.
Rae



THIS!!!
About ten times over!

What about not even offering the small cutting cake in the first place? That way it's not even an option and something you have to worry about.
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #5 of 8
True story: I did a small cake for a my 1st dessert buffet. Initially they were going to order a small cake for cutting and a bunch of mini cupcakes from me. I even came up with 3 custom flavors. The coordinator called me a few days later to cancel the cupcakes, she said the "caterer was going to make some other non-cake desserts". She even gave me some song and dance about them deciding on "traditional Mexican" desserts and no cake, but they wanted something to cut.

I show up to the wedding and guess what? Caterer went to Brand X Super Crappy Dry Disgusting Mini Cupcake Shop and got a ton of minis - 1/2 the price then what I charge for mine, of course. I didn't know what to do. At the time, I had no sole source clause in my contract. With a really bad feeling in my gut I left the cake.

Big surprise, about 2 weeks later I get my 1st negative Yelp review from a wedding guest that "couldn't believe I was in business selling such disgusting cupcakes" and that I should "go out of business immediately after refunding the poor bride her money and issuing an apology for ruining the wedding". I was livid. I called the bride and demanded she contact her guest to have the review removed ASAP.

Took about 2 weeks but the review was removed - and to my disgust the same outraged guest didn't leave any negative comments on the caterer, coordinator or Brand X Super Crappy Dry Disgusting Mini Cupcake Shop. But oh well.

Anyway, that was my lesson learned. I have it in big bold letters on my contract. All cake must come from me. Period.
post #6 of 8
But Jason's right, there's absolutely no way to enforce this. If they want to buy a little cake from you, pick it up at your shop, then set it up themselves along with their walmart cupcakes, you'll be none the wiser. Put the clause in, but don't expect that it will work every time. I don't do smaller cakes in general, so I don't run into this issue too much, but I don't do groom's cakes at receptions if I haven't done the wedding cake too. Same reason, I don't want to be blamed for a crappy wedding cake if I didn't make it. I had one groom say that he wanted a groom's cake for the rehearsal, then in the course of emails tell me that they weren't going to serve it at the rehearsal, they were going to take it to the reception. So I said I wouldn't do it, but if he hadn't slipped and told me I wouldn't have known.
post #7 of 8
You have to trust your instincts when you meet with poeple. One of my early consults was a "difficult" young bride who invited 500 people and was only going to order a cake for 75 because that's all she could afford. She was only in this thing for the gifts. I declined the contract. She was livid.

I can't even tell you how many inquiries I declined over the years for groom's cakes only. Nope, I won't make the groom's cake if I'm not making the wedding cake. My favorite response was, "Well, your cakes are so much better than X's cake." uhh, yeah.

I always had a policy of not selling a small cutting cake unless you also bought the cupcakes form me. Period. For all the reasons mentioned above. The small amount of income you get from that little cake is not worth even the risk of a bad online review.

And it's not being snobby. It's being a smart business person.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the good responses guys.... I know what I have to do, its just a bit tough to make the leap. I better sit down and type out that contract.....
Wiley Saccheri
Sublime Cake Design

Ultimate Cake Off Assistant Episodes 108 and 209!
Go Winbeckler Team!
Reply
Wiley Saccheri
Sublime Cake Design

Ultimate Cake Off Assistant Episodes 108 and 209!
Go Winbeckler Team!
Reply
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