We created London's most reliable cake delivery service through a sprinkle of magic, a pinch of fairy dust, and a smidge of manifestation.
Hah. If only...
London's Best Cake Delivery Service
We've been delivering cakes for ten years across London (and on occasion as far as Manchester and Somerset, and now for free to Surrey and Berkshire too!), and have learnt the hard way. Through experience. Aka, learning through having made every mistake under the sun (which does get very hot in England for a few weeks a year!) and dealing with every type of incident. There was no shortcut to perfection. And we're so thankful that our efforts are recognised by both our loyal customers, and the press.
We regularly keep on top of our competition too. This includes watching their product ranges, prices and reviews. Having studied the reviews of our close competitors for cake delivery London we noted their negative reviews mostly focused on their delivery service - the cakes either did not arrive, or arrived late and/or damaged.
Bad Reviews of Two Competitors
To me, this seems like an easy fix. You can either choose to manage expectations, i.e. do not guarantee what you know you cannot deliver, or work hard on delivering the guarantee. I KNOW this is an easy fix, because it is exactly what we have done.
In this blog post, I am going to give away our "trade secrets" on how we came to be London's best cake delivery service. You might wonder, "Why?". This is because whilst disclosing our "secrets" might help our competitors or invite newbies to the industry, it should also go to instil confidence in our customers. Furthermore, if the competition ups their sloppy delivery game then it helps the entire industry as a whole. Customers won't be stressed about ordering their cake online and we ALL benefit from increased overall consumer confidence.
Why Is Cake Delivery Service Important For Customer Service?
Our luxury cakes are bought by customers for special occasions. They are expensive, fragile and required to arrive in mint condition on a particular date for an event such as a birthday, wedding, baby shower etc. As we adapted to an online cake delivery business it was imperative that we perfected our delivery service. Our customers need to be comfortable and have faith in the knowledge that we will deliver their special celebration cake in perfect condition on the date they need it. Cake delivery service IS customer service.
How Do We Instil Trust and Confidence in our Cake Delivery?
As a small family-run business, we take our customer service personally. We do not use AI chatbots to respond to queries. It's also either me or our manager who responds to all customer queries - yes, a real life human. And we do NOT use courier services. Buttercream cakes are highly fragile and perishable. We simply could not guarantee the state of the cake that would be delivered unless it's via our own in-house hand-delivered service. Our customers consistently praise our service and communication, and this is DESPITE not having a phone line.
10 Ways To Make Sure Cakes Are Delivered Perfectly
This is why you're here. You want to know how our cakes are delivered on time and in great condition. I'll get right into it.
1. The Recipes
All our cakes are made with our Hero sponge and Swiss meringue buttercream recipes. These recipes taste amazing and have gained us multiple accolades and praise from Vogue, Evening Standard, TimeOut and Conde Nast as the best cakes in London, and even Europe.
But it's not just the taste and texture that's key - it's also STABILITY. Our cakes using these recipes can be stored in freezers/fridges or even kept ambient, and travel very well.
2. Never Place Cake Boxes On Seats
I would've thought this was common sense, but common sense isn't as common sometimes! All car seats have an incline and cakes are at risk of sliding off the board when resting on a slope, no matter how minute. Never ever place cakes on the seat. Always place cake boxes on a flat, non-slip surface either in the boot or in footwells. Non-slip mats are freely available online and can be cut to size. This limits the risk of cake boxes rolling into each other in case the driver needs to make an abrupt stop or sharp turn.
3. Hand-Delivering Consistently
As a small business we know and trust our in-house cake delivery drivers. Our current driver has been with us for the past 4 years, through the pandemic and even before. Our previous driver worked for us for 3 years. We know where they live, when they have major family events (or in unfortunate circumstances, illnesses or bereavements), and make them a birthday cake on their birthdays. As I said, our business is personal because we are real humans interacting like humans. This level of trust and loyalty cannot be forged when you're constantly using new drivers, or faceless courier services with no accountability. Our drivers have extensive experience in handling fragile cakes through tenure and are able to also advice the recipients at delivery on how to handle the cake in person.
Our drivers also know that if there is ever an incident or delays, they just have to communicate with us and we work through it together to solve it efficiently.
Driver unwell? We have our trusted driver contacts to step in. Driver's car is busted? He lets us know and we hire or buy another vehicle. Driver has a road incident and damages a cake? More on that later...keep reading.
4. Dowelling Tiered-Cakes
Once upon a time, Brides magazine wanted to feature a one of our 5-tiered wedding cakes in their Best Wedding Cakes feature. My team created a gorgeous cake, weighing over 15 kg. But forgot to dowel it. For those who do not know, dowels are wooden or plastic sticks inserted into the cakes vertically to provide structure. Anyway, the next day when I went to the bakery to collect the cake, I saw the tiers all starting to sink into each other, making it the leaning cake tower of Pisa. It was too late to make another cake as we were due at the big photo shoot in two hours. We put the boxed cake in the boot and hoped and prayed that it would arrive okay and I would be able to do some last minute magic to cover up the sinking. Unfortunately, we hit a road bump and the cake slid, tilted forward and went full-on SMASH. I still showed my very sad face at the photo shoot with the smashed up cake ruined beyond all hope to let the editors know. Even my competitors couldn't hide their pity for me. And no, the cake did not make it into the huge feature. So yeah, lesson learnt. ALWAYS DOWEL TALL CAKES.
Some bakeries choose to drill holes through each cake board under each tier and have one mega long central dowel going through the WHOLE cake. We do not do this because our super soft sponge cakes are better off with dowels trimmed for each tier. This provides support where the top tiers do not sink into the ones below, and IF there is an accident, then the damage is minimised as there is no central dowel ripping through the whole cake, and the cake sponges are saved. You're able to separate the damaged tiers, fix, and put them back together.
On two rare occasions our drivers have had unfortunate accidents on the road. Our first instinct was always finding out the drivers were FINE. Once that was established, the cakes were brought back to me and I was able to carefully reconstruct the damaged tiers and touch up to send back out, good as new, if not even better.
5. Chill Cakes Before Delivery
Room temperature cakes DO NOT TRAVEL WELL. I've seen enough bashed supermarket cakes in the shops to know even the giants can't beat science. Buttercream is made from butter. Butter, when warm or even ambient, is SOFT. Soft buttercream will smudge, slide, and melt at the slightest of pokes, prods, shakes and jerks.
To make sure our cakes are delivered in perfect condition, they need to first be made and stored perfectly. Our hero sponge and Swiss meringue buttercream cakes keep extremely well when in cool storage (fondant covered cakes...not so much, but we don't do that here anyway).
During the winter months, we store our fully decorated and boxed cakes in the fridge the night before delivery and our driver takes them out and places them in his temperature controlled vehicle directly, making sure the internal temperature of the vehicle is not over 22 degrees celsius.
But during the summer months, we store the cakes differently overnight depending on their ETAs. The cakes being delivered first in our optimised route in the morning are stored in the fridge, and the ones delivered later on in the afternoon in the freezer. This way they have time to thaw along on their journey until they reach the recipients (and we have the receipts here to show you how we've learnt!).
By changing how they are stored according to the season, and controlling the temperature of the vehicle, we ensure our cakes are delivered at ambient or almost-ambient in perfect condition.
6. Non-Rigid Packaging
Whilst rigid packaging might be nicer to look at and give the impression of being more safe limiting minor smudges, if and when there is an accident, the damage is LESS when the packaging is not rigid. Think about being pushed against a brick wall vs a football goal net. You would risk greater injury against the wall vs the net. The same logic applies to fragile cakes. Our fully recyclable cake boxes cushion the blow whereas the impact would be greater on a cake in a rigid box.
7. Optimised Delivery Routes
Our cakes are delivered between 09:00-17:00. As we are a small business with only one vehicle and driver, we aren't able to offer timed deliveries in general. We also need to make sure all our cakes are delivered all across London safely and this can only happen with an optimised route.
Once our orders are finalised for the day, we pull up a report of all the addresses with their full post codes. I then use routexl to find the optimised route from our bakery to the last stop (typically our driver's home) which also gives us a rough idea of when the cakes are going to be delivered.
Our driver then texts each customer to their UK mobile number with an ETA on the morning of the delivery. This is smart in so many ways - time efficient, AND being able to offer the customers a personal update. Should there be any last minute hiccups (eg: the customer might not be in, traffic delays etc) the driver and recipient are in direct contact via mobile. How many businesses do you know offer that?? I'll wait.
8. Handling and Storage Labels
Whilst we can mitigate all the issues WE face when delivering our cakes, what is well and truly out of our control is how the recipient handles the cake after delivery. But we don't give up there. Our labels are custom designed to include allergen information as well as handling (it's cake. FRAGILE. DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON THE LID. DO NOT GRAB FROM THE SIDES), storage and consumption. Cakes can be stored in the fridge, but they must ALWAYS be consumed at room temp. Because cold cake is DRY CAKE. And nothing is more annoying than eating dry cake.
9. Being 'On Call'
Once the cakes are out for delivery, us in the bakery don't think it's off our hands. Our email inbox is constantly monitored, and our driver is in touch with us for any emergencies. Even basic bish queries like, "how do I store the cake?", will get a reply where I'll cut and paste the relevant section from our FAQs and remind them that storage and consumption guidelines are also on the box. Sometimes, people are too busy to read labels or FAQs, and I really don't want them to eat cold cake!
10. 100% Money Back Guarantee
We guarantee that if a cake has been delivered and the customer is unhappy on delivery for any reason and wants to reject it, our driver will take the cake and bring it right back for a full refund. Yes, even "fussy" customers who thought pink was red like Claire's mum.
My own personal pride can't handle anyone NOT liking our work, so if they don't like it, I don't want their money. It's important to state that this guarantee is only for cakes at delivery - we can't accept responsibility for what happens to the cake AFTER, which any rational person would accept (probably not Claire's mum though!).
Not rocket science, is it? No, I didn't think so. Yet, so many businesses, big and small, get this wrong. If you only view your delivery drivers as a means to an end and don't value them or treat them well, and view your customers as one-time-wallets, that is reflected in your service. Ultimately, it's not just about cake, it's about caring for people. Obviously our cakes are amazing. But we care about our drivers and we care about our customers.