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caterer charging fee for providing own wedding cake?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am the owner of a small bakery cafe and just received a phone call from someone whose daughter is getting married. She called for advice, not to hire my services but I was happy to help her out. Her daughter told the wedding hall owner that she wished to provide her own cake and he told her that her would have to charge her a thousand dollar fee and that it was a law! Are you kidding me? I told this lady that this guy was crazy and that he was ripping her off. I've heard of caterers charging a cake cutting fee but never heard a claim like this. FYI, this is New York State. Has anyone ever heard of someone trying a stunt like this?
post #2 of 11
I'm a professional Pastry Chef for a major catering company.

Tell your friend to look for another hall/owner and she should stay away from that crook!

There is no such law in NYS!! He probably thought he could make a quick buck. Wedding arrangements create stress in people, so he thought he had an easy target. Also, any caterer charging a cutting fee should also be avoided.

Your friend needs to get a contract faxed to her with every item spelled out in detail and the contract should be signed.

Your friend would be better off hiring a reputable (yes, they exist) caterer or have the event at a large restaurant.

Also, in these economic times, all items are negotiable!! But that takes time...but it's well worth it.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yes, the guy is clearly a crook. I didn't want to get too carried away ranting since I don't know this woman. Unfortunately, I think her daughter already signed a contract. She believed his claim and agreed to let him provide the cake. He is charging her a separate cake fee (around $3/person) instead of quoting her a price for the whole wedding. I am not that familiar with the pricing schemes of wedding halls so I didn't comment on that separate pricing issue. I told her $3 per guest is about average for a wedding cake depending, of course, on ingredients and complexity. I don't know if she can or should try to get out of this contract but I would!
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by patebrisee View Post

Also, any caterer charging a cutting fee should also be avoided......
 


Hang on  a sec. there....

You need someone to slice and plate the cake, maybe garnish it, maybe not, you need the plates and the cutlery and the labour to serve said plates, and the labour to clear the plates off the tables, and the labour to wash the china and silverware.  You can call this labour/service "Free" and build it into the overall cost, or you can charge seperately for it, but it still has to be supplied by the caterer.



 
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 11
Cake Cutting Fees! Hahahaha
                                             Good Catering outfits have already incorporated this into their Labour Costs for Weddings. Who ever heard of a wedding without a cake!  The serving staff and dishwashers are there anyhow ....most till the end....1 in the morning..and definatly the dishwashers..Banquet staff receive good hourly wages and gratuities...I don't think they'd be whining about cake cutting!

Sounds like a crook to me Griddy
I guess this Bride must really have her heart set on this location ...most couples don't have a clue ,it's too bad
My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #6 of 11
I ran the largest on premise catering facility in New York and many in Florida. The guy is giving you a snow job get someone else quick. He does however have the right to make you sign a release in the event someone gets sick from your cake you assume all liability. Make sure whatever cake you bring anywhere can hold at room temp(no whipped cream,dairy etc..By the way congratulations.

PS  No such law THAT i KNOW OF and ask him who administers this particular law , and under who;s auspices.???

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 11
I've noticed if a facility has the ability to furnish a cake, the only charge is for the cake if it is not a "package" event.  If the customer wants to buy the cake from an outside vendor then they do have a cake cutting/serving fee.  Is this fee for the labor, plates and utensils?  Of course not!!  It's to discourage patrons from buying a product from an outside vendor when they have the staff that is already there, being paid, and  they feel is qualified to offer a comparable product.

By saying it is a law is just a lie.  I'd have more respect for the guy if he just said "our policy is to not allow outside food vendors" and be done with it.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy2727 View Post

Cake Cutting Fees! Hahahaha
                                             Good Catering outfits have already incorporated this into their Labour Costs for Weddings. Who ever heard of a wedding without a cake!  The serving staff and dishwashers are there anyhow ....most till the end....1 in the morning..and definatly the dishwashers..Banquet staff receive good hourly wages and gratuities...I don't think they'd be whining about cake cutting!

Sounds like a crook to me Griddy
I guess this Bride must really have her heart set on this location ...most couples don't have a clue ,it's too bad


1)  Everyone--myself included, feels that the caterer who demands $1,000 "By law" is out to lunch.

2) I have charged for cake cutting/plating, and I have charged for wine corkage.  But I have to tell you that I've been doing "On site" catering" for only 14 years .  That is, I have the luxury of my own 3,000 sq ft commercial kitchen, but NOT the luxury of an in-house hall/ halls.

A customer is "programmed" NOT to haggle in a restaurant, but the same customer will invariably haggle with a caterer.  For a customer who only haggles a bit, no, of course I don't charge for cake cutting or wine corkage, heck, most of the time I'll throw in free coffee service,.  As I have mentioned above,  things like that are built in to the price.

BUT for the customer who haggles alot, and subs baron of beef for roast striploin, and takes out the salad course, and now wants to "X' the dessert buffet and instead sub a wedding cake for 2-300 people, that's when the fee comes in. It's calculated to make the customer drop me like a hot potato and go to the local KFC to enquire about house parties.  By this time I've spent over 12 hours with quotes, and changes, and meetings, and site inspections, and I know I'm not going to earn anything if, if the gig actually goes ahead.  Hence the fee, and if the customer actually goes for it, at least I'm covered a bit, for I know that one lonely slice of cake, naked on a plate is going to look like hell, and the m.O.b. will claim that the "caterer never supplied us with dessert", so I might as well jazz the plate up with a buck's worth of sauces, garnishes, and the like.

On-site catering is very much a "pack your own parachute" deal.  You take enough staff--but only what's required, and all of your stuff--but only what's required, with back-up hidden in the vans. You DO NOT have the luxury of grabbing a few waiters from the a'la carte rest. downstairs, or from the bqt room next door for serving main course, nor do you have a dishwasher  that is shared by all.  If you rent your chinaware, it's a straight price, irregardless if you're charging for it, an if you have your own stuf (as I do) you have to get in a d/w the next specificaly to clean up forom that party--after trucking into the van, out of the van, and into the kitchen..... 


Weddings without cakes?  About half of the weddings I did didn't have one.  Some had the cake and coffee at the church, after the ceremony loong befoe I start, some SPECIFICALLY request no cake-- a giant croque en bouches maybe, multi tiered cupcakes sometimes, but NO CAKE.  Others had dummy cakes, (just for the pic of the bride with a be-ribboned knife in her hand) and still others  a 2 tier dummy with the top real and only for the head table.  

Hope this insight from la-la-land has been useful.... 
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 11

In Wisconsin I made both of my daughters wedding cakes and never heard a peep out of the hall manager. They cut them and served them too. Sounds like somebodys trying to pull a fast one.

post #10 of 11

When we got married we were on a budget and we had a very small wedding and dinner reception with close family and friends and then a larger party in the evening that included work friends as well as casual friends.  My mother in law had experience catering for weddings as she did it to help pay the bills when her kids were growing up, so we asked her if she would mind making the buffet for the end of the night.  She and her friends got together, made the buffet (it was cold meat and buns, salads, vegetables and dip, fruit and cheese) and the people at the hall had no problems at all with serving the food.  We did have to pay for the staff but it was much cheaper for us to bring in our own food and everyone loved it. 

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #11 of 11

He is just trying to rip you off!! Most places will charge a cake cutting fee if you provide your own cake. Some places will only allow you to use their designated bakery if they do not provide cakes in their packages but a GRAND...Come on!!! Find a new place all together because if he is trying to screw you out of $1000 who knows what else is going on!!!

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