Friday, 7 January 2011

Food Glorious Food, why the most expensive isn’t always the best and why first impressions count…

I love food.  Compo loves food.  We spend our lives cooking, eating and drinking and I am always thinking about my next meal (chicken pie).  Whenever I am at a market or a second hand bookshop, it’s always the cookery section I head for.  If I’m feeling down I’ll either head off and buy myself a cookbook or set to with a bake-athon. Every year when I have to recycle my books to make way for new ones, the cookbooks stay where they are, and woe betide Compo if he were to even think about chucking them out.  So when it came to getting married, we knew that food was going to be important.

After we’d booked the venue and registrar, the first thing I sorted was the cake.  After extensively trawling the internet for wedding cake suppliers in the region, I had a shortlist, and set off for the big wedding fair at Newcastle Arena ready for a spot of tasting! 

Long Suffering Best Woman Sarah and I sampled a fair few cakes that day.  Some stands looked very glamorous with swishy (technical term) drapes and beautiful albums with images of equally beautiful looking cakes.

The problem was that they just didn’t taste it.  Some of them were really dry; some barely had any filling, some were just plain tasteless.  I understand that after a while, dry cake is unavoidable when supplying large quantities of small samples, but I was there at the start of the event and we’d done the whole thing within an hour!

I’m not big on labels or names and I never feel compelled to buy something because it’s well known, has a flashy website or because it’s the latest product to be endorsed by Chavyl Cole.  I am drawn to things that are of good quality, are well constructed and, (very importantly) from a supplier that will give me excellent customer service.  It doesn’t matter what it is, I simply won’t take my business somewhere if I get bad customer service.

I was just a few weeks into being engaged and not having been to a wedding fair, this was all new to me, so I had a lot of questions.  I was put off at least three suppliers due to huffy staff or because they simply weren’t prepared to spend the time answering my questions.  I’m sorry, but if you don’t have the time for me, then I’m not going to spend my hard earned money on your product or service.

I’ve mentioned before that I got let down by my original cake lady (the one told me she was winding up her business and continues to trade), and after tweeting I had several local suppliers shortlisted.  I emailed several and narrowed it down to two.  How did I choose?  Quite simply, the one who emailed back stating “we’ll be at this market on this day; if you want to try some samples come along” lost out to the lovely Shona Morland of the Little Town Bakery who mailed back to say “Thanks so much for considering us.  I’d love to drop round some samples to you.  When is convenient for you?  Not only did Shona drop round some of the most fabulous cakes I’ve ever tasted in my life, but when I told her some of the flavours we were thinking of, and that we were going to have friends round to do some wine tasting to pick the wines for the big day she brought some more, all free of charge!

The result is, needless to say, that Little Town Bakery is supplying Compo and I with our wedding cake, and Shona has earned herself future business as cake maker for Compo’s 40th and my dad’s 70th, all this year and within weeks of the wedding (oops, she doesn’t know this yet… Shona, you’re going to be a busy lady this summer!).

Good old fashioned customer service costs nothing, and for me, will always be as important as the product or service itself.  

Some of the Little Town Bakery's fabulous cakes

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha Chavyl Cole cracked me up!!! Wow those cakes look fab!

    The cheek of that cake lady! Glad that you've got something even better now, what fabulous service they offer :o) xx