Unicorn Cakes


My friend , Peter Phoa, and a videographer, Chris Halpern, did a great job of videotaping my recent talk.
Watching the 5 minute clip from Peter, I realized that in one story, I never really came out and said my point.
My point was: no matter what work we do, or what role we have, we are all in customer service.
Doctor, receptionist, lawyer, bank CEO, plumber, baker….we’re all serving someone, as Bob Dylan says.
I told the story of how in the fall of 2018, we got the icing colour wrong in a gender reveal cake.
Yes, you are right: accuracy is important in gender reveal cakes.
Two things were clear. One, it was time to review our overall process for intake and production of gender reveal orders and two, we needed to try to win back this couple as our customers.
The process review was easy because the team is really good at continual improvement.
But I knew that the refund and gift card left the customer still feeling disappointed in us.
The chance to turn things around came in January when the mom  was planning their little girl’s  1st birthday.
The email to me said that she would like a unicorn cake for this occasion. We don’t actually make unicorn cakes at PGB but we went back and forth on email and phone to discuss how our Rosette cake design could be “Unicorn-esque” and the other details for the party cake and cupcakes. I know the catering team, the Head Baker and the baker who actually made the order all checked and double-checked the details.
The customer was very appreciative that her little girl’s birthday party treats were complimentary, and after the party, she let me know it was all perfect.
I share this story not to suggest that we went above and beyond because we didn’t.
To the contrary, I tell it to make the point that no one is ever too important to talk about unicorn cakes – or whatever one’s core business is. A couple of years ago, we let these customers down on an important occasion and if the leader of a business doesn’t care a lot about that, why should anyone else?

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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