Monday, April 16, 2012

Should You Work With Bad Venues?

Let's say that a venue is a bad venue for whatever reason. They might have a reputation for taking kickbacks, or piling extra charges on their clients, or whatever. Should you work with them?

I've run into a couple of places that other people have problems with, but that I don't have any first-hand bad experiences with myself. My opinion on that is that if I hear it from a bride, I'll keep my eyes open for more evidence. If I hear it from another business, I'll take the source into account and maybe pay attention or maybe not.

If something happens directly to me, though, I do pay attention.

I once had a venue do something during the cake cutting to ruin an entire tier of the cake, and they tried to blame me for it. The mother of the bride called me to tell me what they had said to her, so I called the venue directly.

Turns out that after talking to her, it was obvious that they were trying to cover themselves. Let's just say that she must not have known that I work alone and see everything that goes out of my kitchen on a very detailed level, so I knew that what she was telling me about the cake wasn't true. She was basically hoping that I'd blame it on one of my employees, when it was obvious that she knew her own employees were at fault.

If something like that happens it tells me a couple of things about that venue itself. First, they have a lot of liars on staff, and second, they're willing to try to blame other people for their poor work standards.

So what did I do? I crossed that venue off of my list of places that I'll deliver to. Luckily, I don't have to deal with it often because it's out of town, but I have had brides call me and ask about having a cake delivered there.

I don't beat around the bush. I tell them that I don't deliver there because they ruined one of my cakes then tried to blame it on me.

Whether you choose to continue to work with a venue that's "less than excellent" is up to you. But I'd suggest that you shouldn't lower your standards. It's never a good idea to sink to a lower level.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA


Jenniffer said...

Luckily, I haven't ran across this problem with a venue yet, but I did have a wedding planner that sold a bride her home baked "awful" cake and told them it was made by me. I didn't sue her (I should have) but I refuse to do business with any of her brides now. She has an awful reputation in the area , so it doesn't come up very often.

Kara Buntin said...

WOW!!! That's some bad stuff there. Why would she do that?

Jenniffer said...

Best I can piece together, the bride wanted my cake, but I was booked. The coordinator said she could pull strings and get it in. She never even called me! I didn't even know it happened until the MOB called wanting a full refund!

Eva Farragher said...

Jenniffer, that is extraordinary. Touch wood, I have never had a horror story with venues. Well...there was one last year which bears mentioning.
The venue was right on the lake, open doors right onto a deck over the water. The weather was sticky hot and humid. The cake was buttercream filled and covered. This is not that typical; we don't get many orders for BC cakes in Oz. I followed the weather forecasts for a week, and spoke to the 'wedding co-ordinator' at least three times that week to advise of the cake sitch. ie with it being warm, it must be put in an A/C room, or cooler until the event. Sure, sure... Come the day of the wedding, not only does the loopy restaurant owner insist "even our food refrigerators aren't cooling properly (hello? seafood restaurant?!?!), but she had 'no room to put it in the cooler or the fridges', and she was 'NOT going to close the doors to the waterfront and put the A/C on'. Then she directs me to the cake table which is in FULL westering sun, in the hottest part of the decked area. WTH? It was 2 1/2 hours till the reception began! 'But there are guests who will be here having drinks and they will want to see the cake', she insisted.
My husband and I surreptitiously moved the table out of the direct sun, and I made sure the owner signed a delivery receipt which stated I had advised the cake be refrigerated/stored in an AC room until the reception commenced. CMA.
I will be warning future guests of this venue if they want anything similar again.