Saturday, November 27, 2010

Budget Wedding Cake Plans

This time of year is usually so slow in terms of booking wedding cake business, it makes bakers start thinking that they need to start some kind of a coupon, sale, or budget wedding cake plan. Last year this kind of thing was more common because of "the economy" and the fear that custom bakers had of losing business to cheaper bakeries.

The budget cake plans that I've seen are generally structured so that the bride gets no tasting appointment and has a limited number of flavor and design choices. The top tier of the cake is usually included in the serving count, and the bride generally has to pay in full online, without talking to the baker. Delivery may or may not be included, and refunds aren't usually allowed if the event is cancelled.

This is moderately cheaper for the baker, obviously, because it eliminates tasting appointments, and limits the time necessary for assembling the cake because the flavor and decoration options are usually pretty basic. The prices that are usually associated with these cakes are pretty low, so for a bride who isn't really concerned with a specific look to her cake, it's a good deal.

I have mixed feelings about these plans. First, I've seen a lot of bakers say that they specifically use these plans to get brides in so that they can then sell them something at the regular price. That smells like a bait and switch to me, so I don't like that aspect of it.

Even if the baker doesn't plan on upselling the bride, and many don't, this just feels very assembly-line to me. Now, I fully understand that we're in business to make money, but the idea of churning out discount cakes really doesn't thrill me. Some people limit the number of discount cakes they'll do per week, but if you have two brides who order the same simple style cake but one gets it at a discount and the other doesn't, how does that make sense?

For me personally, I can't think of a structure for a discounted cake plan that would make sense for my business. I do custom cakes, I work one-on-one with clients, and I don't have a catalog for brides to order a cake from. I don't see how I could set up a plan that would work for my business model.

Has anyone done this type of plan, and how do you feel about them? If you haven't offered one, have you thought about it?

Just remember, booking wedding cakes slows down this time of year. People are busy with the holidays, and have their minds on other things. Engagement season is coming up, though, so don't worry, the phone will start ringing again after the New Year!


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

3 comments:

Ruth H. said...

I had a discount cake offering and not a single bride ordered it. It was a 3 tier (either 6/8/10 or 6/9/12), one cake flavor (white, chocolate or lemon), buttercream with the same buttercream as filling (could be flavored, but no specialty fillings). The bride would supply ribbon for the base of each tier and either silk or fresh flowers for me to put on the cake. Local delivery was included. I couldn't price them any lower than 25 cents less per serving, so it didn't amount to much. I'm just not a production baker. I had a wedding planner trying to press me for a discount price for her brides and I told her the same thing. Not everyone can afford a custom cake. Send me your brides who can, but I'm not giving my cakes away for the sake of volume. I have all the business I need right now, so I just don't need to appeal to that audience.

Kara said...

That's kind of my thought, too, Ruth. For the pricing that I've seen on most of the bargain cakes I'd rather just take the time off. I'd be interested to see if anyone does have a plan like this that works for them and why they like it, though.

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