I have on my phone a lot of “notes”. The majority of these were jotted down in the middle of the night when for some reason I couldn’t sleep. Why couldn’t I sleep (especially after a 14 hour day on my feet?) – usually because something was bugging me. Bothering me and buzzing in my overactive brain, stopping me from slipping into the refreshing slumber we all need if we’re to function at our best. I’ve heard that writing down what’s bothering us can help the process of relaxing and drifting off so have been trying that. Along with Headspace, Calm, lavender, warm baths, relaxation exercises and the occasional glass of red wine…
Today I read a post on a good friend’s Facebook page which also linked to this blog post.
And it resonated so strongly with me, and with recent “notes” on my phone that I felt compelled to respond. Perhaps if I manage to offload some of this I will sleep well tonight!
So the issue here is pricing. How much does a cake from The Kitchen cost?
Let me first of all be absolutely open and honest about this – I completely understand how important the price of something can be. I operate on a tight budget myself and have to be sure I can afford something before committing to a purchase.
When it comes to a cake the cost will depend on many factors. The number of servings, the flavour, the amount of detail and decoration, the complexity and skill level required to complete the task. For example – cupcake swirls can be executed by most people who work in The Kitchen. Carving a cake into the shape of a Teddy Bear requires the skill of our senior cake artist. We bake huge batches of vanilla and chocolate sponge every week but if you need a gluten free eggless red velvet cake that will be made to your specific order.
At The Kitchen we use the best ingredients available. Wherever possible they are locally sourced – our eggs, butter and milk are delivered from Whiteheath Farm. Other items are fairly traded – Ndali vanilla from Uganda now costs over £60.00 a litre!
When we work out the cost of a cake we take all these factors into consideration. The hardest part is working out how long it will take to make a cake, especially if we haven’t done something similar before. We arrive at a price we believe to be fair BUT we also promise that if it is considerably easier and quicker to bake than we estimated we will reduce the price on collection. Can we be fairer than that?
Many customers spend half an hour or more with us, enjoying complimentary drinks and tasters whilst we design a cake, sketching out an idea of what it will look like and how we will create the various elements. Recently we planned the most spectacular birthday cake we have ever attempted. We can’t wait – it will be amazing! And when it is done we so look forward to sharing the photos with you.
So where is this post going?
Possibly the most difficult phone call we can ever take in The Kitchen is from someone saying “Is that your best price?”
If we have sat with you, designed a cake, costed it according to the price of the ingredients, the time it will take to create and the skill level required to create it then yes – that is our best price. It is in fact the price of the cake.
When someone tells us “But we can get it cheaper elsewhere” our response will always be the same. “Well yes – that is quite possible as we have never said we are the cheapest. Using free range eggs, good quality butter and fairly traded vanilla doesn’t come cheap. We also have overheads (that I have documented elsewhere.) The bakers and cake artists that work at The Kitchen have years of training and experience and we try to reward that accordingly.”
If this phone call comes after we have sat down and designed a cake, offering complimentary drinks and tastings, then we find it particularly difficult. We cannot simply reduce the cost of a cake because someone else could make it cheaper. The price that we offer is the price. The best price.
If you are on a budget then we totally understand. Didn’t we say that at the beginning of this post? And this is why on our cake enquiry form and at the start of a cake consultation we will always ask for an approximate or maximum budget.
We can work to this by simplifying a design where necessary. Perhaps we can bake a simpler, standard flavour. or reduce the size of the cake making the servings slightly smaller. If a little girl has her heart set on a “Frozen” cake perhaps a printed image of Elsa would delight her, less costly than a model of Elsa on a cake and even less than a cake in the shape of Elsa…
When we read the post about discounts a few other points rang very true. For example… someone came into The Kitchen today who we have known for almost a year. This family are regular customers whether it’s for tea and cake, craft beer, or a celebration cake. We love seeing and chatting with them all (especially the very handsome young man…) So when it came to costing their next cake it was quite straightforward and the price reflected this.
Equally, if you need a large quantity of something there are savings to be made in the cost of the ingredients and the time it will take to produce them. We baked a batch of around 1000 cupcakes for ebay last year and were able to reduce the cost in line with this.
The isn’t a negative post, and certainly not intended to offend anyone. As ever we’re simply seeking to highlight the challenges that small businesses face in an ever more competitive environment. If, having read this, you would like to comment or respond then please do so – we love to hear from our customers and are always open to feedback and suggestions. Thank you!