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Advice on new tasting format - Page 2

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

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!
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post #17 of 23
I'm a new business owner (our four month birthday is on the 16th) and I'm still trying to figure out how to do tastings. Right now, we are a made-to-order bakery without a store front so I'm not baking every day. I like the idea of doing tastings all in one day but we just don't have that much interest yet. I have received a few inquires about wedding cupcakes so I know the tasting/consultation will need to be a little different.

Any advice for how to set up the appointments in terms of format? I know I'll have to do individual appointments since that's what other bakeries do in our area.
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post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat

[
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!



Yes, there is the brains leaking out thing...I've been doing this for 16 years and I'm SERIOUSLY considering quitting. I've just about had it with the whole wedding politics, tasting appointment entitled brides, BS demands, blah blah blah. I much prefer selling flowers etc over my etsy shop and not having to do tasting appointments, I hate them!

I'd guess, though, that if someone else in your area is already doing the big one-day open house thing like you say, that you could do it too and get away with it. It's just not something that the brides here want, they expect a certain level of individual attention that you can't give them at that kind of event. They would all want to come back for an individual design consult, which makes doing the one-off event kind of pointless for me.

I schedule all of my tastings either on Saturday in the mornign if I have all afternoon deliveries, or on Sundays. I do cake work every single day, so even if I had a day off (what's that?) I'd still be doing something. This week I didn't schedule any cakes at all, and I spent all day yesterday on the computer doing contracts, sending bills, answering emails and just dealing with the usual BS. For a "week off" this pretty much sucks.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh, there are too many people around here waiting to pounce on people, you can't wait around here. I don't give them a choice of what they're going to be tasting, either, hahaha![/quote]

That has to be exhausting. I know we could move and make more money per serving in a bigger area, but it is things like this that make me grateful for a smaller market.

I also am sure I will still have to meet with most clients- once. My problem is that everyone books their cakes right after they book their venue. This means that it could be a year and a half before the wedding and they haven't even thought about design. So I would still have individual design consults, but I would MUCH rather do those than have to set a table and watch people eat knowing I will see them again in 6 months to design their cakes!

I really, really, really hope I can make this work. Last night I had a tasting turn up almost a half hour early. She was lucky I was dressed and didn't answer the door in my bathrobe!
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post #20 of 23
Wow. I have to say I really respect some of the people who responded & I am very surprised to be in disagreement.

I view my consultations as my opportunity to sell. I'm not just selling cake. I'm selling me.

My individual consultations take about an hour to 1 1/2. I send a consultation guide that tells them what all to bring & expect. I almost always design the cake right then & there. I warn brides that booking a consultation before they have larger elements planned may mean they need another consultation. Those are billed $25 & do not include samples.

I love the idea of a tasting event, but think I would really miss the personal nature of a consultation. Too many people at one time with too many questions.

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

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www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
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post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts

Wow. I have to say I really respect some of the people who responded & I am very surprised to be in disagreement.

I view my consultations as my opportunity to sell. I'm not just selling cake. I'm selling me.

My individual consultations take about an hour to 1 1/2. I send a consultation guide that tells them what all to bring & expect. I almost always design the cake right then & there. I warn brides that booking a consultation before they have larger elements planned may mean they need another consultation. Those are billed $25 & do not include samples.

I love the idea of a tasting event, but think I would really miss the personal nature of a consultation. Too many people at one time with too many questions.



I think you're missing a crucial part of the issue. I'm not eliminating consultations. My problem is that the culture in my area is such that brides book so far ahead that they are insisting on TWO consultations- one initial tasting, and then one design consult. I simply cannot do both or I'm going to go a little nuts. I have the capacity to do many more weddings than I am currently doing, and one of the big complaints is that I book so fast that many brides get turned away. If I can eliminate the one-on-one tastings, I can take more orders and give better service with my design consultations.
While I do like the idea for charging for additional meetings, I could see a big problem with brides trying to eliminate the design portion altogether to save $$ and trying to do it over email or phone. Sometimes that works, but I would much rather do a design sketch in front of them and finalize or tweek over email. Eliminates a lot of back and forth.
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post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat

[
I think you're missing a crucial part of the issue. I'm not eliminating consultations. My problem is that the culture in my area is such that brides book so far ahead that they are insisting on TWO consultations- one initial tasting, and then one design consult. I simply cannot do both or I'm going to go a little nuts.

Yep. I don't understand how someone thinks this method eliminates personal one on one time. Either way, I can't express how successful and popular this event is for me. *If* someone wants to work thru email/phone after the tasting event, great! Saves us all time. But most times I'm meeting with someone again, and that's to book the date.
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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post #23 of 23
Ahhh...now I see. I misunderstood.

Here in Charelston, we too book about a year in advance. Well...the popular bakeries book that far in advance. I'm still starting so I'm not yet in that boat.

I do understand completely what you are saying. Many of the brides at the bakery where I used to work would try to get past the second consultation by using email or phone but it always took For-Ev-Er!

Jenmat, I didn't see your last post before mine. We must have been composing at the same time. A year and a half?!! Wow. My policy is not to book more than a year in advance. I do that for a few reasons...brides change minds too much in that amount of time (which means more drawing etc.) & price increases. The deposit not only ensures the date but also the price per serving.

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply
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