Conducting a Cake Consultation
anxious and even nervous of the process when you are new or unprepared.
what they want so will expect you to show them everything, some clients are very new and will let you do most of the talking and asking, while some are very confident and will try to
lead the consultation making you feel unprepared.
So; what is a consultation?
A consultation is a meeting in which someone such as a doctor or lawyer or cake decorator talks to a person about a problem, question, project etc. : a discussion about something that is being decided, In this cake it’s cake. So quite simply it’s just a meeting.
Are consultations done for weddings only?
Does a Consultation involve tasting?
and tasting together for a wedding, it’s not necessary to have tasting for
every consultation, but the idea is that when you are selling a cake, you want
your customers to taste what you are selling. It’s a way of winning over your customer without having to say much with a great tasting cake.
I will discuss tasting in more detail on another post.
What do you discuss at a cake consultation?
1. Style and tone of the event.
2. Visions & design option, theme if any.
3. Number of guest.
4. Cake flavors, fillings and frosting options.
5. Inspiration – invitations, fabric, pictures.
7. Date, time of delivery/pick-up
8. Set up if necessary – Who will set up the cake etc.
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A Wedding Consultation has a bit more to discuss, because
A wedding consultation has more details to discuss
- Basic – Date of the event and number of
guest, how many servings do they plan to order, Will the top cake be frozen for
the anniversary, do they want all servings on the cake or some sheet cake in
- Design: most often the wedding has a theme or
color swatch. The bride may want to use a particular ribbon or match the brides
dress. Perhaps she prefers lace over flowers or both.
- Toppers: Sometime she may choose to have her
own wedding topper. Or may ask you to buy the one she likes. Or she may ask you
to make an edible one.
- Flowers: She may choose to have sugar flowers
and of course want to discuss these in more detail, or she may choose to have
fresh flowers, so may need you to arrange for those.
- Flavor combinations: when choosing
cake, filling and frosting it is important not just to consider their favorite
but also to consider the design, temperature and time from set up to cake cutting. For example
- If the design involves a ball cake then you might prefer
to have a cake that is more suitable to carve into a ball as well as be able to
travel to the venue.
- If the weather is hot and the cake is expected to set up
and stay out doors for a few hours you may choose not to use perishable
fillings OR may choose fondant covered over buttercream.
- If the cake has perishable filling and is expected to be
kept in the fridge then either plan to have no gum paste flowers on the cake or
arrange flowers set up close to the event. Gum paste flowers should not be kept
in the fridge.
- If the design involves a ball cake then you might prefer
- Pricing- Generally pricing should be discussed
once all the other elements of the consultation are taken care of. Having said
that I believe it is important to give the client your basic pricing to start
with so they know what is the minimum that would be charged? so based on that
they can then make additions. Some clients will have a small but
negotiable budget while some will have a decent and strict budget, occasionally you may find a customer whose budget may not even make it into your basic pricing and may need to either up their budget or find an alternate cake decorator.
- Venue: This is an important discussion and
the best time to get information and talk to your bride. After this the bride
and groom may not be available for more discussion as she will be bus with her
Ask all necessary questions such as:
1. Name and Address of the venue.
2. The name and number for the person (usually bride’s mother or sister) taking charge.
3. Where and when the cake will be delivered and set up (date and time).
4. Who will do the set up?
5. Who is the person to contact at the venue?
6. Who is going to take responsibility after the cake is set up?
7. How much time you will be given at the venue to set up your cake?
8. What you will need to set up your cake (a sturdy table, table cloth, flowers, cake topper etc.)
9. Discuss the best method to display the cake, some brides want the cake displayed in the center of the room while some venues have a dedicated space for it.
- Temperature – this is important to some places where the weather creates an issue for the cake.
For example here in Israel it’s really hot and humid in summer so taking a cake
and setting it up early to a venue that has no air-conditioning on can be a big
It is important that the venue put the air condition on; or have enough space
for the cake in their fridge or ask the cake to be delivered close to the time of
- Cutting the cake – Most venues have the caterer take care of the cake cutting. Reputed caterers know how to cut custom cakes and know the standard size cake slices, while some especially new ones do not.
It is important that this be discussed because if the caterer cuts dessert size slices of your custom cake then the cake will not have enough number of servings.
Some clients are ready to pay extra to have the cake decorator send a person to do the serving of the wedding cake. Let the bride know if this is something you offer.
- Back-up plan for Ifs and buts – some CD prefer to discuss the ifs and buts of things that may go wrong with the wedding cake in advance.
For example – should there be a problem with the cake after the cake is set up, who is responsible? What is expected of the cake decorator and who will pay for it.
Handling these ifs and buts is very critical and if not handled professionally could ruin someones special day as well as reflect on your reputation.
Next we will discuss the most important of all, preparing and conducting yourself at a consultation and even share what is the best way I approach the most dreaded issue – Pricing!. so., stay tuned…
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