The New Bakers Dozen

The The Bakers Dozen: SHOULD I CLOSE HER DOWN?
By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 03:57 pm: Edit

I've always said that I would not let the people working illegally out of their homes bother me unless I lost business to them.
I just received a phonecall from a bride who informed me that she would like her deposit back if possible because she was going with Suzy Homaker. Suzy informed the bride that she could do my 1860. cake for 1200. because she does not have the overhead that I have.
She's in my county andw I know she illegal, her product is crap,and I really think she sent her sister to my shop sat. to buy assorted cake slices.
The consensus of my small corp. is to shut her down, mine is to let it slide, I just feel sorry for the gride.In fact, the reception is at one of my contracts, I talked the chef out of requiring a liability ins. sheet to let her deliver,its not the brides fault.


By tj on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 04:20 pm: Edit

yes , ablsolutly, this is business ,not a "be a nice guy" situation. i would not hesitate one micro the way , this bride sounds like a real b---ch....dont feel sorry for here...she sc--wed you out of an you have a cancelation charge?

By momoreg on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 04:46 pm: Edit

That's two yesses. It's not fair to those businesses that pay overhead, taxes, insurance, etc., and if she's preventing your business from succeeding, I say you have the right to put an end to it.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 04:59 pm: Edit

Three yeses. Sounds like she desided to go into direct competition. Nothing wrong with leveling the playing ground so it's equal. Do it on the Q.T.(no need to tell anyone other than the authorities), keep your name away from any small back lash she could try to play out.

By d. on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 07:02 pm: Edit

I agree with momoreg and W. It's difficult to be the tough, but it's you're livelihood and the fact that she's illegal and in the business to compete...

By tj on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 07:24 pm: Edit

by the way.should be a nice cake for $1860.
what were you planing to do for that price?

By Toots (Toots) on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 07:43 pm: Edit

I agree with all the above and wanted to add, that I am a legal out of home baker. My contract with the bride states that there is a 50% NONREFUNDABLE deposit due at the time the order is placed. Nonrefundable for any reason! Maybe you might want to add some thing along those lines to your your agreements? They do not realize that you are setting aside time in your schedule for them, and if they choose to cancel, you may have turned away business for that date already, because you have them in your book. I usually do between 4-6 wedding cake in a weekend, depending on the size and work involved.


By Gord (Gord) on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 08:25 pm: Edit


Presuming she is an illegal there would be (again, presumably) no liability insurance. In the event of a lawsuit, the lawyers credo is "name everybody and see who pays.

Although you were being the nice guy, you may even want to recind getting the chef to overlook the lack of a liability insurance sheet. You can bet he would get named in a lawsuit and it would only follow you could be too. That sheet is a piece of legal armor against the lawyers.

It's not being meanspirited, it's covering your own butt (it also gives her really strong reasons to go legal if she can't deliver her products - as it stands, she's getting away with it and you have facilitated that. Sucks being the nice guy, huh?)


By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 10:18 pm: Edit

Thank you all for responding. I have not yet decided what to do.I did cut the non refundable deposit check back today.I am blessed and the loss of this business will not affect me in the least.
This woman baker is on the lower half of the top ten wedding cake players in town. I just don't want this to turn around a bite me in the a--.
You all are right, I know that. I'm thinking I would just go pay a visit to her and tell her how I feel.I am on the volunteer board of directors for the Ryan Foundation here, and I just can't stop thinking she might be in a similar situation with her family, I think I have to get her story before I take action. When I'm not working or on this forum I'm here
I'll let you know
Thanks again

By Yankee on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 12:02 am: Edit

One word: Karma

As you said in your original post, you would not act if it was not hurting your own business. There is always a bigger picture to everything, and it usually goes beyond our own selfish interests. Why waste time and effort going after something that is not hurting you personally?

Thing is, my first reaction was to tell you to shut her down. But, if she really is not that good quality wise, she will end up shutting herself down. Business wise, who cares?

But, I know all the health and saftey arguments against home bakers, and I support them. All it takes is one person getting ill and picking up the phone. Perhaps you should have mentioned this to the bride. If you think she could end up poisoning someone, that's another, much bigger issue, and she should be shut down. Period.

Just don't fall on your own sword in the process.

By jeee2 on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 08:01 am: Edit

OK, so I'll be the one to play devils advocate before it gets boring.
She probably isn't illegal because she uses boxed mix so doesn't need a licensed kitchen.
Posession is 90% of the law but if you gave back the deposit already...
A commitiment is what it implies.
I wouldn't shut her down because you can't and I wouldn't try, if she's hurting your biz you need to compete better, educate the customer.

To quote Voltaire, "its not enough to succeed , others must fail". Its a bit of sour grape.

Instead of digging in your heels, try a different approach, tell the bride if boxed mix is good enough you'll do the cake with same for peanuts.
It'll hurt the competition more than you.
The decision to make now is do you really want to compete for gutter biz.? Young brides are the dumbest. I don't have a problem with home based decorators and I bet I can do your cake for $800 and make a profit.

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 08:39 am: Edit

(Gerard you didn't understand before from an old thread that box mixes have nothing to do with whether a home business is legal? HELLO/WAKE-UP/SMELL THE COFFEE!!!!)

There will always be people who buy only based on price. Those people are never going to be your customer. They are going to the next cheapest and so on.

YOU aren't the law, you personally are not shutting her down. The authorities will, but if she's a player she'll just regroup and be back in a week.

In some repects your looking out of other peoples welfare (sanitation) and it could be considered wrong not to try to prevent a possible disaster.

I like the thought of talking to her in person, but I wonder if she'll have any "awakening" to your points. It probably will backfire and create a bigger problem. Not everyone is reasonable or intellegent and you better know if she has those qualities before you try to "teach" her.

Consider your heart but use your head!

By jeee2 on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 09:07 am: Edit

<<Gerard you didn't understand before from an old thread that box mixes have nothing to do with whether a home business is legal<<

Boxed or not is the point of legality , if its scratched then the kitchen must be licensed.
My guess is she uses boxed or soon will .

Don't negotiate with the competition, just beat them to a financial pulp instead..its the American way.

By Panini (Panini) on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 05:47 pm: Edit

In this area Its absolutely illegal to produce any food for puplic consumption from the home. I actually work with our local health dept on some things.
Anyway it turns out that this was a money decision made by the brides mother. The bride has since called me in confidance and appologized.

I think I have decided to let it go. Call me crazy but I'm toying with the idea of doing the cakes for free. There is no need to post to call me stupid but I truly feel sorry for this bride, she is having to have the wedding her mom never had.
Thank again for all you responses,
I'll let you know.

By MMMegan on Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 08:54 pm: Edit

I think I would be burning for a moment. But I really think that like you, I would let it drop. Like a hot pan.
If they want to save a dollars, then go for it. The $660 could come in handy for something else they need.
But I am telling you, I go into bakeries all the time and purchase cakes. I love to see what others offer and how I compete. Of course I am a legit Bakery owner. I love to support others. And always find a reason to purchase others products. New ideas and the like. (I know that is not what she was doing) But just thought I might like to offer that opinion.
Again I agree with your decision, take the high road and let it drop.
Think sweet,

By momoreg on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 06:46 am: Edit

What was the client asking for? It sounds like a very elaborate cake, or a huge guest count. Do you think that cost-wise, that home baker will be able to produce the same quality for the price she is asking?

By W.DeBord on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 08:14 am: Edit

I'm not sure you can judge someones quality (not their sanitation) stictly by the location in which they work. It's like judging a persons talent by what book they read or who they studied with, that doesn't give them talent only ability. Cost-wise she has no over head and will probably make a bigger profit than Panini would have with his business.

Just my 2 cents

By Panini (Panini) on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 02:59 pm: Edit

Just an average cake, 250 guest, nice property, fondant bows,chocolate roses etc, remembering we have the grooms cake tradition, that usually is the same cost if not higher than the brides.
She does alot of work here,her product is very medioker sp?. she will buy gum paste roses and never be able to duplicate my mousse cakes. She's all flavored white cake w/cream cheese filling so they can sit out for days.I would never have a problem losing business due to a quality issue. Of the big players here there is a more alaborate style business that I sometimes refer to.
We know each others business and style, theres plenty of wedding to go around. That is why I feel for this bride. She will not have a wonderful cake. That makes me upset and I'm still toying with the idea of doing it for free, well not free, but what I do with the local personalities, I have them write a check for any amount to mine or their charity of choice.

By tj on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 03:06 pm: Edit

do you make wedding cakes with mousse?

By Panini (Panini) on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 04:03 pm: Edit

Yes,thet are cream mousses, white choco/rasp,choco,etc.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 11:21 pm: Edit

Panini it's not your responsiblity to give the bride a good wedding unless you know her personally. If she isn't a big enough girl to handle things correctly(with mom), she may need more than good wishes at her wedding. Your being more than generous considering shes' not living at the poverty level.

I guess I've become hardened. I don't mean to sound cruel, really.

What about donating all that good will to a truely less forunate person, maybe someone who can't afford a wedding cake from anyone? It could be good publicity even.?

By jeee2 on Friday, April 14, 2000 - 08:57 am: Edit

WTheres a specialty wedding cake supplier here, my trainee worked for them so I have an inside scoop on their operation.
They figure every cake can be done for $1000, smaller weddings they blow off. I think they have a good idea , they get most of the business because they hardly ever charge over $1K .
During the season they do as many as 80-90 cakes in one day. I did a cake for a customer who went to this place and was quoted $700, I did it for $300 and made money..but I couldn't do the volume they do. It seems specialising is the way to go.
Their cakes are ok, not great but tasty and presentable. If I was doing it all over again I'd do anything but peu de tout.
Panini, you sound like a kind hearted soul. Wake up!

By W.DeBord on Friday, April 14, 2000 - 09:04 am: Edit

Peu de tout? Means what in English?

By Panini (Panini) on Friday, April 14, 2000 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Your right, but after doing around 10,000 consultations over the past years I've learned that alot of the times the bride will give up after a while and just let the mom go.
I also do what you say for the financially imparred. I just had a bride and groom last week that ordered a cake last year and have been sending me 5-10. every couple of weeks or so.They called me 3 week ago and said the had to limit there cake to what ever they had sent because the local recreation dept, just imposed a 100. fee for the room. I sent them a large cake and grooms cake. We recieved the best thank you ever tonight.
A box full of fried chicken from the chicken shack where he works and a thank you card.
Call me kind harted but when people have gone through major trauma as my wife and I , life's to short to sweat the small stuff.
That story sounds hocky but I have no reason to fabricate.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Friday, April 14, 2000 - 08:48 pm: Edit

Panini - You sound like a kindhearted soul. Thank goodness there are people like you out there!

By W.DeBord on Friday, April 14, 2000 - 09:06 pm: Edit

Very classy Panini, good man!!!!!!!!

By jeee2 on Saturday, April 15, 2000 - 06:20 am: Edit


Bit of everything. peu de tout.
Problem is you never reach critical mass on anything and the greater the variety the more waste at the end of the day.
Since I cut back on the pastry and concentrated on the croiss production we've started to make decent profits, customers are whinning , it absolutely breaks my heart. Not.

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Saturday, April 15, 2000 - 07:10 am: Edit

Thank you Panini, it makes me feel good when I hear that people in the US can have feelings and not only a cash register, but I guess you are few...

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, April 15, 2000 - 09:12 pm: Edit

No we are not few, we are the unheard, I'm not different than alot of businesspersons. You just never hear of it, its not news worthy. The family shelter, senior citizens, etc. are depending onlocal business for day olds. I challange all of you who can to contact your local family shelter to provide them with products you can no longer use. You have a couple of #10cans of something you can give. Visit the shelter, give, I guarentee you will float home. It's selfish but it's worth it.

By W.DeBord on Sunday, April 16, 2000 - 12:13 am: Edit

Once upon a time we tried to donate our left-overs. No one will accept that (health laws and law suits). They can accept only new unopened product, some are even picky about what they accept.
Currently our policy at work is to throw out everything (except what the chef chooses to keep for employee meals). It's hard to throw out perfectly good items. I've never been able to understand why they can't give it to the help to take home as a bonus of sorts. I did that with our catering business. There were a few problems, but nothing that couldn't be worked out. Even expensive flower arrangements all go in the garbage. That policy began after greedy people took more than their share.

Doucefrance it would wound some people that you sterio type Americans as all heartless. Have you given thought as to how Americans may sterio type your country? Just a thought, not looking for a fight.:)

By jeee2 on Sunday, April 16, 2000 - 08:37 am: Edit


People are the same all over the world, they just seem different.
The French are similar to the Chinese, expert capitalists shackled to a socialist system.
Americans give more to charity than any other people, ok so they deduct it from taxes but they give nonetheless.

By d. on Sunday, April 16, 2000 - 12:19 pm: Edit

Panini, "life's too short to sweat the small stuff" --- you just nailed it right there. You've made a good decision and I respect you all the more for it. You've got a genuine soul.
At the catering co. that I work at, all unused food sent to the parties are picked up at the site by a homeless shelter organization. And their is a drug treatment center about 3 miles from us that gets some of the food too.

By Yankee on Sunday, April 16, 2000 - 11:19 pm: Edit

Yes, people are basically the same all over the world (Well, maybe exept Russians, yikes...) Just different issues tied to their own damage. Thank God, though, for those differences.

Look at that Clinton thing last year. My European friends were laughing at us Yankees. To them, everyone messes around, but no one cares, publicly that is. At least to them, we wasted a ton of money and got nothing. And what would have we gotten? Two extra years of Al Gore? Should have just put the money into schools. Clinton is scuzzy, but no different than most people around the world, but why waste money on it?

Clinton went after the tobacco folks way back when, and this was the result. Thank you, all you smokers...

Sorry to be so OT.

On charity, the US gives out each year more than most countries GNP. Don't just read or judge by the crap in the "USA Today," try the "Metropolitan Diary" in the Sunday "New York Times" instead.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 08:36 am: Edit

<Clinton is scuzzy, but no different than most people around the world, but why waste money on it? <<
no different from other scuzzy people maybe.
He has a womanizer problem methinks, its a symptom of depression.
Europeans always laugh at America, its envy.!

By Yankee on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 03:00 pm: Edit

Clinton had a very messy childhood. I guess leading the country can't solve all of one's problems.

It has always interested me how the people of other countries view the US. The things I hate about the US, they find so interesting: McDonald's, Disneyland, Bay Watch, Las Vegas and Married with Children. The stuff I was into, they were mostly over: history, politics, and mostly old stuff. (That's a big generalization, so don't shoot me). Grass is alway's greener...

It was interesting to live somewhere and watch the daily invasion of US popculture. Kind of sad, actually, but not always.

They put up this big statue of Micheal Jackson in the train station in '95 to promote his latest album. It was there for a few days, then someone threw garbage and paint all over it. Yes, people are the same everywhere!

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 07:23 pm: Edit

Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but sometimes I'm very clumsy when I try to express mine in english.
It is true that we laughed a lot about the Clinton story, what we don't understand is all the money spent on it and we all think that Kenneth Starr is a sick pervert.(I myself think it too).
We do not mix sex and politics, sex is too important for us...(just kidding, but there is some truth in it, even Yves THURIES wrote an article about it in his magazine, stating that food and sex are the best things in life, which is also my opinion.
And yes, I came here with the vision of the US I had in the sixties, a dream...that has changed too much in the last ten years. I guess I'll just move to new dreams...

By W.DeBord on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 09:53 pm: Edit

Helene Americans don't understand all the money either! Alot of what happens and is written in the media does not reflect most Americans views. Most Americans are rational decent people.

By momoreg on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 10:38 pm: Edit

When I travel overseas, I tell people I'm Canadian. It's safer.

By W.DeBord on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 10:45 pm: Edit

Didn't you say you were Jewish? Do you tell them your christan too, to be safe?:)

By momoreg on Monday, April 17, 2000 - 10:49 pm: Edit

No, I tell them I'm Buddhist.

By Yankee on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 01:42 pm: Edit

You guys are too funny.

Safer? Safer than what? This isn't 1938. Where are you guys traveling to? Kosovo? Iraq? Do the locals throw mud on you because you are a Yank?

Have you no pride in who you are and where you are from?

A kind word and a smile will go a long way. Most people can differentiate between a person and their nationality. When traveling, act like guest and respect the locals. You might be surprised at the result.

Most people hate tourists, even if you are their source of income. Don't you? Why make that worse?

Doucefrance, no offense taken. I know what you are saying an appreciate your opionions. What dreams have gone astray?

By momoreg on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 03:24 pm: Edit

In '92 (Gulf crisis), I was in Italy as a student, and there were terrorist threats being made to American schools in Europe (don't ask me why), and I thought I'd be safer if I told people I was Canadian. I'm usually happy to say where I'm from. But last summer I was vacationing in Morocco, and a local guy came up to talk to me, and asked where I was from, so I told him, and whadd'ya think he said?: 'Aaah.. Clinton" with a big grin on his face, as though all Americans are like our President. So embarrassing. I guess I'm not always proud to be American.

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 08:20 pm: Edit

I was raised in Holland which in the fifties and sixties was a small part of america in europe. I went to an international school in The Hague, half french, half american and learned english on the playground. Everything we had was made in america, we ate the same food, I had p.b. sandwiches in my lunch box...and like most of my friends I dreamed to go the US some day and become american. Most of them realised their dream with their parents in the late fifties and I am only here since november, so it'll take some time to adapt, it's not as easy at 50 than it is at 10!
In France there has been an anti america campaign since De Gaulle, and it still remains in some ways.
But everybody doesn't feel that way. There even is a french singer, Michel Sardou, who wrote a song "Si les ricains n'etaient pas la", "if the americans hadn't been there"...we'd all live in Germany, it is thanks to all those americans that France is still a free country where you can say what you want. I like that song because most people forget...

By Yankee on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 11:21 pm: Edit

... forgot about the Gulf War. Morocco? How exciting! I see your point though, not a place to run around with Uncle Sam on your hat.

We had an Iraqui refugee working at the hotel in Zurich. He hated me from day one. No reason except he was a real a** and I have a feeling we took out his family with a B-52.

Helene, when I was in Paris with my parents, I took my mom out to the American cemetary in Normandy and the war museum in Caen. Our tour bus was full of mostly Americans in their 60's and 70's, and lots of tears. They went looking for long gone relatives. Quite an experience.

I have a friend who grew up and went to school in Brussles (sp) as her father was a member of the EU. She tells similar tales of growing up in a very "NATO" city. Thing is, she hates the US and see us as tacky trash. I had a GREAT time with her!

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