I tried the tasting events and it went over like a lead balloon. It just isn't something that people do here, but I have heard of people who do the to-go boxes. I do about 20 individual tasting appointments a month, usually on two or three days a month, and about 100-120 wedding cakes a year. People here expect an individual tasting and they don't like the group events, unfortunately. It would be easier to do them all in groups, but I schedule them all on one day, back to back half-hour appointments, and that works well for me. I have them bring in photos of cakes they like, I have the contracts all filled out with their wedding info beforehand so I don't have to do that while they're sitting there, and in that half hour I have time to design their cake with the caveat that things could be changed if they choose to, and they then eat the cake. Unless it's someone super chatty it shouldn't take longer than that, so I usually don't have to meet with them a second time. If someone comes late I send the cake home with them if it's going to back the next appointment up too much, but it usually doesn't happen that way.
See, I am worried about that aspect. I do know there is another baker south of me that does tasting events and has enormous success with them. I am hoping I can be a successful copycat! I don't have near the competition you do either though. I have put people off for 2 months for tastings and they almost always wait. I'm in the same boat you are though- I'm booking into mid- September for tastings and I had 5 emails about bookings for next June this morning.
Ugh, sometimes I find myself turning orders down just because I don't feel like scheduling another tasting!!!
Costumeczar- what day per week do you do the back-to-back? It must be Sundays? I'm in the bakery Mon-Sat and am REALLY trying to keep Sundays for family and rest. I need to recharge or the creativity will begin leaking out my ears and I won't be able to get it back!