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Depressing reaction from customer...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

So I had a birthday cake order due today.  Fairly large serving (75-100 servings).  I don't have the capabilities to do a full sheet so instead, I did a 16-8-6 (square-square-round).  When the customer arrived for pick-up, I could see it all over her face that it was NOT what she was expecting.  It was an 80th birthday so I figure it deserves to be special-- I did intricate piping/scrollwork on the bottom and top tiers.  Cornelli lace on the middle.  Silk roses/FBCT birds carrying scrolls/pearl airbrush finish etc....And she looks at me and says--"I was expecting a sheet cake".  I was only charging $50-60 for it.  Now I feel like I should offer a discount because it wasn't what she wanted???  I think I'm floored because I can't imagine expecting a sheet and being presented with a 3 tier and not being happy with it.  I mean she got a better cake for less money.  :(

On the upside-- Even though I was only running on 3 hours of sleep, I didn't cry!  I still have to fix the color of the birds (wasn't what she wanted-- but didn't specify that in her order) and re-deliver tomorrow.  I know you can't make everyone happy all the time but to put that kind of work into a cake and lose money on it and they still aren't happy...GAH!  Makes me want to quit!

post #2 of 29

OMG!!! did you say you only charged $50-$60 for those three tiers? well, lady I'd get mad at you for UNDERCHARGING!!! It may not be what the customer ordered, but she definitely got way more than she paid for! 

 

You will be in trouble if you keep doing this- you probably are at a loss considering the amount would probably not even cover the cost. If I were you, I'd stop and think long and hard. 

 

But well done to you for having the heart to make something special for the birthday celebrant.

post #3 of 29

Sorry if this is abrubt but sounds like she needs to pull her head out of her A** and learn to appreciate the time and effort that went into this cake, And you need to start to appreciate your own talents and know what your time and abilities are worth. $60 for a three tier is undercharging by ALOT!! and you will end up resenting the work if its not worth the money you get paid. xxx 

post #4 of 29
She ordered a sheetcake and you substituted something else without discussing it with her. Now she has the added stress of transporting and serving a tiered cake. "Better" is not all about your time/effort, but what suits the customers needs.
Plank.
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Plank.
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post #5 of 29
She's probably thinking, "how do I cut that?" Cake civilians always know how to cut a sheet cake.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #6 of 29
Did she tell you to make whatever design and shape you wanted?
post #7 of 29

50 cents a serving???  Please promise you won't do that again.  And you are "fixing" something on it???  Your customer should have hurried out the door with it, mis-colored birds and all, for that steal of a price.

 

You are keeping prices artificially low for all the other talented bakers out there in your area - help your community out and start charging realistic prices.  You can't be cheaper than the grocery store!

 

Liz

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #8 of 29

Can you show us pictures of the cake? It sounds really nice!

 

I can see your disappointment. I guess its a hard lesson learned to only make what the customer asked and not "upgrade." 

 

Did you realize when you accepted the job you couldn't do the sheet cake?

post #9 of 29

Sorry you're upset.  I'm confused. The customer wanted a sheet cake. You said you didn't have the capabilities to make that. Why not? Did you not have the right pan?

 

Did the customer know you were making a tiered cake? It just sounds like you gave her something she wasn't expecting or didn't want.

 

Even though your cake was nice, depending on the situation, maybe a sheet cake was exactly what the customer needed for her event.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cake Shoppe View Post

Fairly large serving (75-100 servings).  I don't have the capabilities to do a full sheet so instead, I did a 16-8-6 (square-square-round).  

 

I was only charging $50-60 for it.  Now I feel like I should offer a discount because it wasn't what she wanted???

A 14" square would have been enough (similar to full sheet), and 16" square by itself is too many servings.  What you made serves 172... at $50 - $60, you only charged .29 - .38 per serving!  Yes, she probably wanted something easy to transport and serve.  No discount -- although it wasn't what was ordered.

post #11 of 29

I post on my fb page that I do not make sheet cakes because the pans don't fit in my ovens.   It eliminates a lot of questions from people.

post #12 of 29
Wow! So sorry to hear she reacted like that! But sadly I'm not totally surprised since I've had quite a few balk just at the prices I charge.... However, I just wanted to contribute that while a full sheet cake pan won't fit in my home oven, a half a sheet will and you can bake each half sheet one a time in the oven and then put them together on a full sheet sized cake board and ice the whole thing to look like one full sheet. I've been able to accommodate requests for half chocolate and half vanilla like that too! I agree that you should rethink your prices too because while some will balk at your prices others may find such low prices suspicious and may think you're hiding something. Other people take cues from you on how to value your services and if you charge reflective of your supplies AND your labor they will put a value on your services accordingly. I've told quite a few that I'm not the grocery store so I don't charge like one and that I understand budgets and that I won't be offended if they need to go to the grocery store but when they want something custom and special they know where to find me. And a lot of them do! Best wishes to you and happy baking!!!
post #13 of 29

Yep, that's the usual solution. Full sheet cake pans don't fit most home ovens (been there, done that) . Baking two half sheet  cakes solves the problem. Live and learn.

post #14 of 29

I feel bad for you because I can imagine the time and work you put into it. No one wants to see a disappointed customer. On the other hand you did not make what she ordered. Was there not any discussion, sketch or explanation of what you would be doing for her BEFORE you did all the work?

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

I should clarify...she just said how many servings she wanted (75-100) and that she wanted it 1/2 vanilla/1/2 chocolate.  She ASSUMED I was doing a sheet.  We are in a rural area and literally the only game in town is the grocery store.  Sheets are all they do.  :-/  I quoted that price to her with a sheet in mind.  After studying about buying the 1/2 sheet pan and doing two to make the full (would have had to order the new pan PLUS a board- and then HOPE it made here in time) it was easier to just use what I already had.  And I did a SINGLE layer 16".  TWO layer 8".  And SINGLE layer 6".  So no, it wasn't an overage on servings.

I totally admit that I should have been more clear on EXACTLY what I was making her.  I take responsibility for that.

And on pricing...believe me, I KNOW how rediculously low it is.  The grocery store does a sheet that serves 80 for $48 and change.  I can't compete with that!

I only know of one other caker in the area and her prices are in line with mine.  So I'm not undercutting her.  ;-)

I put the extra effort into this cake because we knew the family.  When I made the changes and re-delivered today everyone was in good spirits, and I got the stamp of approval from the birthday girl herself!

I appreciate the comments everyone--   :-)

 

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