By Kate Rockwood
The tasting’s a key part of doing business, but it’s important to step back and remember it’s also part of the wedding process. That first meeting is more about brainstorming a cake design and building rapport than it is about flavor, Godecke says.
In addition, the tasting should be a fun, memorable event for the couple, especially if they’re millennials, a demographic that highly values experiences and spends more on them than any other generation, according to research by Eventbrite.
Without overwhelming customers, bakeries can ensure the tasting is special by hosting it in an isolated part of the bakery, setting an Instagram-worthy table and presenting samples on equally appealing stands and dishes. This type of presentation will only further establish the bakery’s reputation as a quality vendor.
For Monica Simpson, who recently completed a wedding cake order with Sweet & Saucy Shop in Long Beach, California, the tasting struck the right balance. She and her fiance received separate trays of cakes, fillings, icings and toppings, and were then left to sample. “Everything was displayed like a Victorian tea party, but then we were able to have a private, honest conversation about what we loved and didn’t like,” she says.
Customers using social media and internet searches to scope out cakes may believe their options are limitless. And engaged couples are used to being catered to, but bakers shouldn’t bend over backwards to meet every request, especially if it’s going to result in a subpar sweet. Godecke remembers a vegan bride who had her heart set on a three-tiered cake. “Without the eggs, the cake didn’t have the same structural integrity,” she says. “I tried a few times, but there’s only so much you can fight science.” So she presented the bride with a few alternatives. “People might come to you with a vision, but they’re also hiring you for your expertise and advice,” Godecke says.
The same goes for flavors. While there’s a lot of room for creativity, staff should steer customers in the right direction. “We’ll tell people if their flavor choice is bad,” Oakleaf says. Key lime buttercream on a chocolate cake, for example, may sound fun, but it would be a flavor flop.
When it comes to weddings, bakeries are truly part of a couple’s planning team. Beyond finding a beautiful cake that meets a budget, brides and grooms want a dessert that’s personal and symbolic of their relationship, as well as one that will provide for a memorable cake cutting.
By accommodating the digital behaviors of today’s brides and grooms and serving as an experienced, friendly guide, as well as a baker, throughout the ordering process, bakeries can ensure their cakes are the sweetest part of every wedding.
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