The Cake Boss is a US Reality Television Show which follows family owned Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey, as they create amazing cakes. The cakes are unbelievable – a NASCAR race car cake (pictured to the right) built to scale, a cake that looked exactly like a paintball field and even a dog cake for dogs at a shelter. It would be hard not to love a show that’s all about cake. However, there are also some great business lessons beneath the frosting and fondant.
- Show your ingredients. The Cake Boss shows us the ingredients that go into making great cakes. We see the process from client consultation to delivery and all of the details in between. Knowing what goes into a great cake (or business process) helps clients to understand what you are really doing for them. It can facilitate discussions about timing, value and the complexity of specialized requests.
- Tell your story. Buddy Jr. (The Cake Boss) heads up the design and baking, and frequently talks about learning the business from his now deceased Dad, Buddy Sr. The company history is so much more than words on a brochure or web page; it is a living piece of all that the team does today. Yes, family owned businesses have a unique position but all businesses have a story.
- Share your mistakes. We have seen cakes fall apart, incorrect dimensions and disaster deliveries. So often we are afraid to share what went wrong for fear that it will dampen our credibility. At Carlo’s mistakes are taken in stride, things happen and you fix them. The team learns from their mistakes and it increases our confidence in them because we know that they can bounce back from mishaps and keep the client happy.
- Eat your own cake. Buddy is never ho-hum about his creations. He thinks every cake is “awesome” and his enthusiasm is infectious. The large, extended family also has Buddy and the team bake for every occasion and they put as much love into these cakes as they do for customers. If you won’t eat your own cake, what does that say to your customers?
- Buttercream frosted king of the world. Buddy is transparent about his vision for the business. I love knowing that he is always working to improve and grow his business. Don’t be afraid to share your goals with customers. Your desire to be better lets them know that you are still passionate about your business and invested in its continued success.
You don’t need a reality TV show to give your customers a peek behind the curtain. Invite them in and let them see more of your process and your passion. The rewards could be sweet for both of you.
Do you have any sweet lessons to add to the list? Feel free to share them in the comments.