This week I had a rare episode of the raging fever without vacation in sight. Luckily, it was on Monday and Tuesday, so it's not like I had to deal with a wedding cake while simultaneously trying not to get dizzy and fall over, but it made me think about what people should do if they do have an illness when a cake is due.
This is something that you should plan for before it happens. Have a plan in place so that if you do get sick and are unable to either finish a cake or deliver it, you'll have your bases covered.
First, line up some backup. This means that you'll need to find some people in your area who would be willing to take the work and finish it for you. Network with other bakers to see if they'd be interested in acting as backup for each other in case of emergency. You'd be surprised how open people are to this, since a lot of home-based bakers have the same fears of not being able to fill an order if an emergency arises.
Second, decide what you can and can't do if you're sick. You shouldn't be handling food at all if you're coughing and hacking up germs all over the place. If you have a headache that's one thing, but if you have something contagious don't even try to work through it.
|Thank God for Nyquil|
If you're sick at the beginning of the week with something that looks like it's going to linger for a while, call your backup bakers and see if they would be able to handle your orders. Once you have someone lined up you can either call the client and tell them or leave it alone and just wait to see if you recover in time to do the cake yourself.
If you CAN'T find a replacement decorator, you have a different decision to make. You can either assume that you'll be well enough to do the cake, or you can call your client and tell them that you're not sure you're going to be healthy enough to do their cake for them. I'd err on the side of telling them early, since that would give them time to possibly arrange another baker, as opposed to waiting until the last minute. Most people will appreciate being given the option of NOT getting a cake from someone who might be infectious.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com