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How many flavors?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am in the beginning stages of starting a cake decorating business from home. Where I live there is only a couple people local and all other choices in bakers are about an hours drive away. The cakers here in town do your traditional white, yellow, chocolate with the specialty being along the line of coffee and carrott, and dreamsicle.

I would like to be known in this area as the caker who offers the more gourmet flavors (vanilla bean instead of white, etc.) as a norm. Even though it may cost a little more for my customers they come to me to have a gourmet cake.

What I am trying to figure out is how many cake and filling choices to offer as there are numerous possibilities. So I would like to ask how many choices do you offer to your customers and what do you find sells best for you?

Thanks In Advance! icon_biggrin.gif
post #2 of 15

3 flavor tiers, about 25 flavors. The best sellers are the simpler flavors. I've been steadily trimming down the flavor options in response to my clients' habits. I had a friend tell me she felt overwhelmed by my flavor options at some point. 

 

I had the privilege of taking a class with a top french chef and he said, simpler is often better. Customers easily get overwhelmed with 4000 fancy complicated combinations. Early in his career he did so much culinary acrobatics but as he grew he found they were mainly there to impress other chefs and not the customer. These days he keeps it uncomplicated, and clients appreciate that.

 

KISS.


Edited by vgcea - 11/12/12 at 1:38pm
post #3 of 15

I agree with vgcea in keeping it fairly simple. There's probably a reason why your competitors are offering mostly basic flavors.  

 

I also think you should only advertise flavors for which you have good recipes and that you feel comfortable making. I currently have 17 on my menu, all are "tried and true" recipes that I've made multiple times and feel I've mastered. I could probably narrow it down even more. Some of the flavors have NEVER been requested.

 

 https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=416251791773188#!/notes/iced-and-dazzle/menu/416251791773188

post #4 of 15

I offer 8 flavors of cake and  about 15 flavors of fillings.  And it's funny, but the most requested cake by far is white cake with vanilla filling.  Go figure.  ;)

post #5 of 15

I offer whatever flavor they want...The basics would probably be about 15 cake flavors?? i'd have to look it up.

post #6 of 15

I offer a total of 40 different cake flavors and fillings.  This really helps me stand out against my compitition.

 

The down side is I packed on 24 lbs. because of all the sampling while I perfected my recipes.

 

As for pricing, I hate feeling like I am being nickeled and dimed, so I offer all the cake flavors and fillings for the same base price.  I make more on some recipes and less on others, but in the end it evens out and customers like not having to figure out different price tiers with several different options.

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 View Post

I offer a total of 40 different cake flavors and fillings.  This really helps me stand out against my compitition.

 

The down side is I packed on 24 lbs. because of all the sampling while I perfected my recipes.

 

As for pricing, I hate feeling like I am being nickeled and dimed, so I offer all the cake flavors and fillings for the same base price.  I make more on some recipes and less on others, but in the end it evens out and customers like not having to figure out different price tiers with several different options.

I do the same thing.

post #8 of 15
We have 10 cake flavors and 26 filling choices. 15 of the filling choices are flavored buttercream, which for the most part consists of vanilla BC plus an extract. Our web site includes a list of recommended combinations sorted by flavor profile (vanilla, tropical, citrus, spice, etc.).

The most popular flavors by far are vanilla or chocolate cake with vanilla or chocolate buttercream. All cake flavors are the same price, and we have two tiers of prices for filling (standard and premium).
post #9 of 15

I suspect that people, when they're buying a cake that serves lots of other people, will buy something they think everyone will like - chocolate or vanilla. I know I'd do that, even if I would prefer the fancy combination to eat myself. You just don't want to spend $$$ on the chai latte cake with mousse etc if lots of picky eaters at your party will bin it after a bite. However, if I was buying myself a cupcake, I'd definitely give it a try.

post #10 of 15

I offer 7 or 8 flavours and the same amount of fillings. My most popular are Chocolate filled with Oreo buttercream (which is just plain bc with oreo crumbs sprinkled on), and Red Velvet with cream cheese bc. I do actually promote these as my best sellers, so more people choose them anyway. Vanilla is rarely chosen except by those terribly strange people who don't like chocolate. I also do flavours like carrot, or white or dark chocolate mud cake, but these are more expensive to produce so I don't actively sell them, but I sell them at the same price if people do want them. I don't do the whole premium pricing thing on flavours, I think people over here would just find it confusing.
 

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

I suspect that people, when they're buying a cake that serves lots of other people, will buy something they think everyone will like - chocolate or vanilla. I know I'd do that, even if I would prefer the fancy combination to eat myself. You just don't want to spend $$$ on the chai latte cake with mousse etc if lots of picky eaters at your party will bin it after a bite. However, if I was buying myself a cupcake, I'd definitely give it a try.

This is very true...I get a lot of wedding clients who get at least one tier of cake plain vanilla because they're afraid that people won't like exotic flavors like lemon icon_razz.gif


Edited by costumeczar - 11/16/12 at 3:36am
post #12 of 15

Ha! Yes, lemon is a bit wild!

 

I forgot to answer the OP. I do this as a hobby, and don't do fillings as such, and most of my cakes are mud cakes. However, chocolate and white chocolate are the ones people ask for, followed by cherry ripe mud cake.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

I suspect that people, when they're buying a cake that serves lots of other people, will buy something they think everyone will like - chocolate or vanilla. I know I'd do that, even if I would prefer the fancy combination to eat myself. You just don't want to spend $$$ on the chai latte cake with mousse etc if lots of picky eaters at your party will bin it after a bite. However, if I was buying myself a cupcake, I'd definitely give it a try.

 

I have found the exact opposite to be the case.  In 2012 I have made about 45 cakes (around 40 weddings and the rest other occasions).  I can only think of 2 brides that picked one of their tiers to be yellow cake; neither bride had regular buttercream filling (one had pineapple and one had cherry).  Now, chocolate is a regular option brides pick, but I haven't done any this year of a chocolate/regular buttercream combo.  I have had a lot of chocolate with raspberry, mint buttercream, or white chocolate ganache.

 

In my experience since I offer what could be considered "out side of the box" flavors/fillings most people want to try something different.  I always recommend to brides that they should have 2 or 3 options for guests when it comes to cake flavors and fillings (it depends on the guest count if I recommend 2 options or 3 options)(I don't charge extra for someone picking more than 1 cake flavor/filling per tier) so if someone doesn't like raspberry, for example, there is something else for them to pick.

 

At the consultation I hand out a 1 page list of suggested combos for cakes and cupcakes (they are interchangable).  The client does not have to pick anything from the list but because I offer so many options, it can feel overwhelming to pick what they want.  The list contains more "out side of the box" ideas - in other words, no yellow cake with buttercream filling.  To me, that isn't a very memorable combo and I want people to remember the cake they ate at their cousin's wedding and come find me for their wedding :)

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #14 of 15

I found my most popular flavor combination(s) was vanilla/strawberry/chocolate cake with prickly pear bc. Not really "out of the box" in this part of the world. The bc is a beautiful light fuschia color and has a really nice flavor.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank everyone for talking their time to respond. I'm sorry it took so long to get back here this week was more than a little crazy.

I agree with cai0311, I want the cakes I sell to people to be remembered thats how my wedding cake was. Four years after the wedding people still talking about it. Now I've moved back to my home town and the flavors are much more traditional/simple.

I would like to create a small cake boutique experience with an upgrade on the traditional flavors. Nothing so crazy that people would never order it but something unique enough that they will seek one out for themselves.

Jason, I like the idea of a flavor profile I think it would make it a lot easier on people trying to decide.
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