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Topsy Turvy Cake FELL!!!!

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Saturday we had a wedding... 6 tier topsy turvy with cascading chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered strawberries in between the spaces on the tiers (does that make sense?) Delivery and set up was supposed to be between 3 and 5 so that I could stack the cakes and dip and add the strawberries. Got a call last Thursday saying I would not be able to set up the cake until 6:30 when the hall turned the air conditioners on (reception started at 6:30.) Long story short, we do the cake in sections in the shop.... bottom three tiers topsy turvy with strawberries already on, next two tiers with strawberries, and then top tier with strawberries, so that it just has to be stacked at the hall and we're out the door. I don't like this because it's not as sturdy as I would normally make it, but as Ican see it that's the only option there is. Which is exactly what we did. Stacked it, took some pics, smiled at the bride and groom who said it was beautiful and exactly what they wanted, and left.
Twenty minutes later I get a call from the groom saying the cake fell. So we turn around and haul butt back to the reception to see what happened. Their event planner (who I really think was just a friend of the bride seeing as how in the past 8 months I've never once dealt with her) says that there was no one near or around the cake table at all and it just fell over on its own. She volunteered this info before I even asked. Thing is, there was no cake on the floor, no "busted" cakes, just smushed cakes, a hand print on one, and some chocolate covered strawberries missing from near the second to the bottom tier..... She starts demanding money right then and there, to which I calm her down and get her to let me take the tiers back to the shop and see what I can do, and worst case scenario we bring in a dummy cake and keep this one in the back to serve.
Well, I was able to fix the cakes. Had to use a dummy tier for one that was too badly smushed (we were able to save 3/4 of that tier and still serve it) but all the rest I was able to re-ice, cover, and decorate (all in the span of an hour... talk about icing FLYING!!! My shop looked like a tornado ran through it!) It was no longer a topsy turvy, but it was saved. Took it back to the reception hall, and the bride and groom were happy. Even had left over cake.
So... now the question I truly hate dealing with. When I call them tomorrow (I'm closed Mondays), what do I say, and what else do I offer them? Our refund policy is explicit and clear, and says all refunds are issued as store credit. Our contract also CLEARLY states both that a minimum of two hours for set up and delivery is required, AND that once the cake is set up and we have left we cannot be help liable for any damage. Do I offer them a certain percentage of the cake cost as a store credit? What exactly do I say to these people when I call them tomorrow?
post #2 of 58
Did they know about the two hours needed to assemble them and that you are not responsible for any liabilities?
post #3 of 58
I would start off with just an apology, let them make the first offer as to what compensation they would like and go from there. If they don't bring up compensation I would consider the matter closed.
post #4 of 58
Thread Starter 
Absolutely they were aware of the two hour set up and the no fault damage clause...
@Jason... That's how I planned to start the conversation. I just got an email from the sister of the groom ranting about what reimbursements and compensations they will be receiving. Seeing as how the contract isn't with her, I'm not going to reply to her. I'll be calling the bride and groom in the morning, but I guess I'm just thinking I should prepare for the worst, and hope for the best? lol. What do you think would be fair? 30% of cake cost as a credit?
post #5 of 58
If they knew about it, maybe you should explain to them that following that two hour rule might have avoided this ( in diplomatic manner) and that the most you could offer for damages is... ( fill in the blanks with a reasonable plan for you).
post #6 of 58
You fixed the cake for them so they shouldn t be the ones to fix a price. They can abuse it.
post #7 of 58
The max offer I would go with would be the difference between the price of what they ended up with and what they ordered as a cash refund, plus another 20% or so in store credit for the inconvenience.
post #8 of 58
Oh Dear, firstly I would not offer an apology as this suggests you did something wrong. I would politely but firmly reiterate your terms and conditions about once the cake is left in a good condition you are not responsible for it after you leave. As to the damage, the missing strawberries and hand-print would have to be explained as this becomes a "my word against yours" argument, you can't prove someone did touch it and equally they can't prove to you (despite the evidence) that someone didn't.

As you returned and resolved the cake to their satisfaction on the day (at your expense), I would consider the matter closed. Until they prove you where at fault then offer no compensation as to do so suggests you where at fault, clearly you aren't.

The mere fact that they jumped down your throat upon your return and stated "no-one touched the cake" is a sure sign of guilt.

Be professional, be polite and stick to your guns, we ran a cake shop and had this happen a few times and without failure it was always someone touching the cake when damage occurred after we left a venue. Don't make accusations, just say no according to my terms and conditions it states................ if they get personal walk away!

Hope that helps
post #9 of 58
I agree milliemoo.
post #10 of 58
I just don't get calling them. They didn't give you the two hour access that you needed. ( Who turns the air conditioning on in a venue as the party starts?) It was perfect when you left. You took/spent the extra time, resources and made it good again and the bride and groom were satisfied. I think calling them opens the doors for compensation and you don't owe them anything. If anything, they owe you!
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
Reply
post #11 of 58
Yes please don t call them. They probably made the cake fall and lied about it. You spent extra money and labor to fix their mess because you couldn t prove that anyone touched it. That s way more than enough.
post #12 of 58
I have figured out what happened! Someone went for a strawberry and someone else started to swat that strawberry clutching hand and over shot and hit the cake!
Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
Reply
Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
Reply
post #13 of 58
I wouldn't call them, wait and see if they call you. Ignore the family emailing you, they have no say in it. It's the bride and grooms matter not theirs. Do you have pictures of the hand print? Was the information of the hand slap in an email that you saved?

I wouldn't offer anything to them at this point. They knew the time frame you needed to set up and they did not give you that. They signed the contract that states that as well. You even went back and fixed the cake...from what you said they were still happy. Why willingly call them and offer a refund?? Wait and see if you actually hear from them. Then bring up the contract and state that they violated by not allowing the time needed.
Jen

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.
Reply
Jen

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.
Reply
post #14 of 58
I agree that the OP does not owe this couple anything based on the contract they signed. However, the way you handle adverse events (even if they are not your fault) can set you apart from your competition and turn a negative experience into a positive, which can lead to more orders down the road.

That's why I recommended a proactive apology...it goes above and beyond what is expected, especially once the normal contract liability limitations are reiterated to the customer.
post #15 of 58
LKing 12, that s a great point. As for the family member that is demanding things, I don t get what their deal is.
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