That Is NOT What I Ordered, I Want It Free!

Boy am I tired of hearing the phrase “That is not what I ordered, I want it free”. I follow the order form in front of me, if it is not written down I do not do it. Maybe you forgot to tell the sales girl properly what you ordered or maybe you think that if you complain you can get something for free? Yep that is it you want something for free. We know your trick everyone is doing it now. Here it is –

  • You place a order for exactly what you want
  •  than you come in to pickup your order, you act rushed the whole time
  • your order comes out just liked you wanted but you say it is wrong
  •  you ask for a manager who offers to fix it for you
  •  you say that your late and very unhappy with our bakery
  • you say that you will not be coming back
  •  you have not paid yet
  • so you say I shouldn’t have to pay for something that is not right
  •  so you say I should get this for free
  •  we do not want to lose business so we give in to your request

Now you walk out happy as a clam with your perfectly made cake that you just got for free.

Fake Cakes

fake cakesWhy would you want a fake cake when you can have a real one? I charge the same amount for both real and fake. I know that I have to do one less step when making a fake cake but the labor is just as hard. It does not take me any less time when I am decorating a fake cake compared to a real one. So why would I charge less? In fact it might actually cost me more, due to me having to buy materials and work with materials that will not go bad. Also what are you going to do with that 4 tired cake I make you? Do you have room for it in your home? Will you treasure it forever? Do you know that they get incredibly dusty and colors eventually fade? Why would you want to buy one fake cake and than buy sheet cakes to feed your guest? You probably are not even going to buy the sheet cakes from me. You will probably go to the closest or cheapest supermarket and buy subpar sheet cakes and pass them off as mine. This is one great reason that I do not offer fake cakes!

Labeling

How many times do I have to say  “Make sure to label that”? Labeling every product is essential to your business. There is nothing worse than not knowing what goo is in this bucket or how old it is.

One day in work I need cream cheese icing, we buy a base and add to it to make it our own. So I asked one of the guys to pull it out of the refrigerator for me. He pulled out the bucket with the original cream cheese label on it, we opened it up to see what was inside. It looked like our cream cheese icing and it had the original label on it, so off I went with it. A few hours later after I had use the “icing” I looked in the bucket only to see some melted cake batter. Now who’s fault was that? Mine, the guy who pulled it out, or the person who put cake batter in the bucket and did not label it. All of us should assume some blame for it, but it mainly fell on the baker who did not label the bucket. If the bucket would have been labeled properly we would have never had an issue.

So now I say, label and date everything that you do. There is no need for preventable mistakes.

My Kitchen Remodel

This post is not related to my usual Cake Design posts, but thought I’d post it anyway.  I moved recently and I realized that I needed to update my kitchen. My kitchen dates back to the 1950s and I do not think that anything has ever been updated since back then. I mean it took me ten minutes to cook two eggs! So I have decided to completely gut my kitchen! I got a new kitchen sink 43 x 22, appliances, counters, even down to new plates, large soup bowls, and my favorite luigibormioli white wine glasses. It took quite a while and alot of money but my new kitchen now looks great! It is so nice to come home to a new place and cook dinner in a kitchen that I designed myself! Now I keep coming across http://sparkleshinewindows.ca/  so power washing my house maybe next!

Who’s Fault Is it?

I am tired of having to take the blame for bad management. It is not always my fault. Maybe if you took the order right or filed it correctly we would not be having this problem now. I’m your decorator, not your secretary. I should not have to check email and write up orders for you. That is what your sales girls are for.

In my job I make orders that are written on order forms. If these orders are written up wrong, that is not my fault. How am I suppose to know that the customer wants chocolate fudge filling if it is not written down? The order takers are the ones that need to give me all the information I need to complete my tasks.

There needs to be a standard operating practice so everyone knows how to take a order correctly. The management needs to stand behind their rules and enforce them. This way it will be easier to prevent mistakes and asking the question “Who’s fault is this”?

Organization

Organization is a great key for success when running a business. If you have everything organized it makes your life much easier. You will know what time you need product by, where product is going, and who is making the product.

I like to be organized at all times. My mornings consist of the same opening procedure each and everyday. This way I will not forget to do something. After I finish my morning procedure, I do my work in time order. I take into account how long I have left in the day and what need to be completed in that time frame. I also leave time in my day for “just placed” orders and new products.

When my routine gets messed up I just go with the flow. However sometimes it just gets annoying when my managers throw products at me to finish right before I leave. Even if I asked them if they have anything else for me I usually get a no thanks.  So I start to clean up and than they run back with a tray of something that needs to be finished. If I’m organized why can’t they be.

Bad Order Taking

My job could be so much easier if people just learned how to take a order. I do not understand why it is so hard to do. All you have to do is ask the customer what they want and write it down. We have books that quote prices, flavors, sizes, and even decorations. Still our sales girls get orders wrong constantly. Even when they are told to have all orders checked by managers, there are still issues with them.

Let me be perfectly clear to you sales girls, it is not hard to take a order! Here is the method to use- ask what size, cake flavor, icing flavor, colors of flowers, and colors of writing the customer wants. Than refer to the book for your price. It is in there I know I have checked it many times before.

If the customer wants some funky buttercream color, ask them to bring in a swatch. I do not know what color they are thinking of when they say “ya know wine watermelon fuschia”. What color is that? If I look up that color online three thousand different colors will come up. Also, please be able to understand your own writing. How will I ever be able to finish a cake, if I ask you a question and you do not understand what you wrote?

 

They Want My Pictures!

They Want My PicturesI love taking pictures. My camera is with me at all times. Every new cake I do, I take a picture of. These are my pictures. They are for my own personal use and portfolio. They are not yours. If you want to upgrade your photo books or website take your own pictures. For as long as I have worked here you have not once brought your own camera in here. Why do you expect me to waste my time taking pictures for you, crop them at home, put them on a usb, than download them to your computer? I have done this before for you. Do you know what you did with them? Nothing. In fact you asked me to go one step further and get them printed out for you. That is not my job, it is yours. The next time you want to update your pictures, take your own!

Raising Prices

Raising prices is sometimes a hard decision to make. You must factor in a lot of things like… will people still buy my product, what am I paying for it, and what am I making off of it, and how much should  I sell it for. Recently my bakery which is for sale decided that we should raise our prices again. They have been raised every year that I have worked here by the way.  So everything went up about one dollar. Now to some people a dollar raise is not that much but when you factor in that a 6 inch cake that serves 4-6 people is $16, that’s a lot! We already have extremely high prices. We are not competitive with other bakeries, we are higher that all of them. The owners also do not  know how much profit they are making off of their products. I know this because I asked everyone involved. I think we are now losing business at one of the busiest times of the year due to our price increase. They seem to think it’s the economy but I tend to disagree!

Winter Wonderland Cake

This is our Winter Wonderland Cake and cupcakes.  This is a easy classy design to achieve. I basically made some cupcakes, iced them blue, rolled them in sanding sugar, and added a fondant snowflake to them.  They can be made with any colors, I just suggest that you do use sanding sugar as it sparkles better!

For our cakes, we trimmed, iced them, and than added the sanding sugar to the top and sides by hand. We than stacked the three tiered cake and added a border to it. Borders can be tricky to add to these cakes if you have to much sugar around the base of the cake, so be careful!

Wreath Cake

Here is one of our versions of a wreath cake. It too is a popular seller at Christmas time. We generally sell out of these cakes very quickly, regardless of how many we make. They are very tasty but much more expensive than other cake that we make.

How I made it

It is a 8 inch cake covered in buttercream. The border of the cake is made from a leaf tip with green buttercream. We made straight red lines with a round tip, for the candles and than added a yellow flame with our rose tip bag. We piped on a buttercream bow on the side of the cake and than added it’s ribbon.

Wreath Cake

Christmas Tree Cake

It’s that time of year again where everything is merry and bright. Here is our first Christmas tree cake of the season! Ugly and gaudy I know, but the customers just love them.

How it is done

This Christmas tree cake was made in a shaped pan. It only comes in pound cake. It is iced in a poured fondant icing, tinted green. We covered the stump of the tree in chocolate buttercream and add buttercream decorations and Christmas sugars. It requires a lot of time and effort on our part, but the customers are so happy to see and buy them.Christmas Tree Cake

Left Over Products in the Bakery

Bakeries are losing money everyday due to left over products.  There are ways to cut down on it or sell it so it is not left over. One way is to keep an accurate track of what is being made. This way you will know how much to make of each product on certain days. Another way is to only make enough products for orders plus a little extra. If neither of these work, you could always reuse left overs in another way.  My bakery makes use of our left over products by selling them as such. We call them day olds’ and sell them at a discounted price.

You can make a variety of things with left over products. Cake balls is one such way. Bakers take cake scraps and add flavoring and icing to it and form it into a ball. You could make parfaits. They consist of cake scraps, buttercream, and fruit fillings in a cup. You could even go the route of bread pudding, which uses sweet breads with sugar and eggs.

There are tons of ways to use left overs. You should never be just wasting your hard earned money by just throwing your product out. What do you do with your leftovers?

Creating New Product for the Bakery

Creating new products for the bakery must always be on the minds of owners and their managers. It is a very important part of making your business successful. In my view new products should be created all the time. New product signs are attractive to all customers. Everyone always wants to see what is new out on the market shelves.

It might be wise to create a product and let your employees try it out first. This is an easy way to get an unbiased reviews of your product. If your employees hate it, their gonna let you know. If they love it, they will let you know but also push to sell it quicker.

I recommend rolling out new product during your busy times such as weekends. This way all your customers will see you have a new product and it will be shown to a large audience at one time. You will be able to see how your customers react to the product. Are they asking about it? Did they try it? Did you sell out or do you have a lot left over? Busy times may help you realize if you have a new winning product or if it is a dud.