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Venting Time-Customers go with "family friend" for

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK.. time for me to vent. I've been open for almost five months now and I've dealt with several customers who end up going with a family friend. I go through the process of pricing things out and giving them several options for what they need (one was for a graduation party, and two were for weddings). Then a few days later, they get back to me saying that they are going to have their family friend make their cupcakes/cake, who I'm assuming, will do it for free.

I understand that free is always better than paying me. I'm just irritated cause I know these people on a personal level so I feel like I invest more time by pricing things out and making it even more clear of what they are getting.

The only thing I don't understand, is how a wedding venue can serve something that was not baked out of a commercial kitchen (I'm in California, so no CFL). I did an order for a customer who was having a sweet 16 at a Moose Lodge and they required any food to be purchased from a licensed vendor. I'm even working with a local theater who recently got in trouble for selling cookies and other snacks that were purchased from Costco but weren't individually wrapped, and therefore, they couldn't sell them legally.

UGGGG I just wish people who take this more seriously when they contact me.
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post #2 of 8
In my experience it's been about 50/50, half the venues require food served to be from licensed, inspected, and insured businesses, and half don't. Generally more upscale venues will be more likely to require it.

The theater example sounds more like the theater is acting as a retailer rather than just serving food at an event.

This is pretty much a cost of doing business and I agree it can be annoying, the best you can do is use an advertising strategy that targets demographics that can afford your prices, but it's not an exact science.
post #3 of 8
I have gotten to the point where i actually prefer not to work with family and friends for big orders. I know it may not be expected, but i feel the obligation to offer a F&F discount, or I am worried that they will be uncomfortable with my retail prices and then things can always get weird when friends and money mix the wrong way. I had a school/mom friend who wanted puppy cupcakes for her daughter's birthday--the whole Martha project with chocolate ears, fondant two-tone faces, jelly bean eyes--when i added up what each topper would be on top of the cupcake order it was waaaaay more than she expected. She kinda avoided me for a week or two, then I finally had to break the ice and tell her that it was perfectly fine if she didn't want to place the order--the time involved with each step really did push the price up. And i offered her a lower price solution. She eventually told me she changed the theme of the party and didn't place an order....but boy was she ever uncomfortable!

Now, I just refer F&F requests to my website where I have basic pricing so that they can determine if they want to continue the conversation with details. For the F&F that I want to extend a discount or do some extra work for...I will tell them up front what their cost would be (i also let them know what the true order value of the cake is so that they can appreciate the deal they got and that they know not to expect that next time!)
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Glad I'm not the only one. My mom (and business partner) just said basically the same thing. F&F are great supporters, but sometimes they expect things for cheap or free. Just more reason to encourage strangers as customers. icon_biggrin.gif
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Birthday Cakes
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann

I have gotten to the point where i actually prefer not to work with family and friends for big orders. I know it may not be expected, but i feel the obligation to offer a F&F discount, or I am worried that they will be uncomfortable with my retail prices and then things can always get weird when friends and money mix the wrong way.

Now, I just refer F&F requests to my website where I have basic pricing so that they can determine if they want to continue the conversation with details. For the F&F that I want to extend a discount or do some extra work for...I will tell them up front what their cost would be (i also let them know what the true order value of the cake is so that they can appreciate the deal they got and that they know not to expect that next time!)



This.

I find it very awkward quoting prices to close friends or family because I wish I was in a position to give a free or deeply discounted cake. The bottom line is, every free/cheap cake I do means hours of my kids being told to let me be so I can work and having to turn down a paid order. If this were just a hobby and my kids were in school full time, there are certainly some people I would love to gift cake to. I find that I have to remind myself that I would not ask a friend to work 1-2 days unpaid for me and incur expenses on top of that and that I'm sure they probably wouldn't ask me to do so either. Typically those who are good enough friends I wish I could to give free cakes, are the ones who value my time and wouldn't expect one (still doesn't stop me from feeling awkward quoting prices to them though). I do always prefer it when we can set up a better system, if its someone I trust to be fair, then it is a win-win.
post #6 of 8
I have had this happen to me twice in this my first year of business. I think sometimes they aren't sure what they want and when we spend the time coming up with a design it all clicks. Then they can take it to their "Aunt Gertrude" and she can make the cake. I always go to Cake Wrecks and review the pictures of What the Wanted and What they Got and realize it doesn/t just happen to me!
Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
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Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
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post #7 of 8
When it comes to friends and family I have a rule that I let them all know up front. If I offer to do a cake for you, it is free, if you ask me to make a cake for you, I will quote it at price and give them a 20% discount. I struggled for a long time with F&F. After I decided to put a rule in place and let them all know, there is no expectations for more. If they can't afford the quote that I give them, like anyone else, I offer a similar but more cost affective idea. Some still go elsewhere for a cake, and I am fine with that now.

All that you see or seem, is but a dream within a dream... EAP

http://www.facebook.com/redlotuscakedesign


Http://www.redlotuscakes.com
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All that you see or seem, is but a dream within a dream... EAP

http://www.facebook.com/redlotuscakedesign


Http://www.redlotuscakes.com
Reply
post #8 of 8
I am mainly a hobby baker but I sometimes make cakes for some people not related to me. TWICE in the past week I have had parents of my students ask me to make these outrageous cakes for their kids--I do all the work of designing, planning, and deciding on flavors etc.--and then when I ask for some money for the cake--albeit very little for what they are asking for-- there is suddenly a "friend" who will do it for nothing. I mean--really! They think just because they kinda know me that I will freely work for days on a cake I will just give them even though our kids are not friends and we won't even be going to the party? Just because you talk to the lady in the bakery at Kroger does not mean that one day she will just give you cake!
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