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* What kind of tips should I expect from a cook session or event?

 

It's a common question, "What kind of tips should I expect following a meal prep session or dinner party?"

 

A seasoned business owner knows that tips are not always part of offering a service. There are those who offer generous tips and there are those who are loyal customers, but never ever give monetary tips.

 

The reality is that just because your client appears to have money to spend doesn't mean you're going to receive a tip. As a business owner, you must come to this understanding quickly or you'll begin resenting your clients, which may result in the downfall of your business.

 

If you're going into a job expecting a tip, you're setting yourself up for potential disappointment.

 

You're in the service industry, therefore offering a service in exchange for money. Going into the job, your client is already aware of how much your service costs, so if you feel you deserve more, you should charge a higher service fee.

 

Offering to perform...

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What to Bring to a Meal Prep Session

 

I'm often surprised at items that some client kitchens don’t have like a cheese grater, citrus press, or liquid measuring cup. For this reason, I bring along a small box of kitchen gear...but it wasn't always like this.

 

When I first started, I would pack specifically for the client’s kitchen I was visiting. If I knew the house didn’t have a good non-stick skillet, I would bring that, my favorite cooking spoon, and of course knives.

 

As my clientele built up and for ease of packing each morning, I now have a basic checklist of kitchen gear that fits into a small plastic bin brought to every appointment. Here's a link to pretty much everything in my everyday box >>

 

There is much discussion about knives out there. Everyone has a different style, but I’m a minimalist and use my basic chef’s knife for everything plus a small paring knife for cutting small items such as deveining shrimp.

 

I also always bring my...

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* Meal Prep Business Consultation Questions

 

 

Before becoming a personal chef, I would peruse the internet for hours, trying to find the answers to what I thought were common questions about the personal chef profession.

 

Extremely limited information came up when searching for the answer to my question, "what should I be asking new meal prep clients at a consultation?"

 

I couldn't find a single article written by a personal chef. There were plenty of non-authorities sharing their idea of questions you should ask a personal chef when hiring as well as numerous culinary associations trying to get me to attend their schools and expensive groups, but alas no advice from someone in the profession.

 

Interestingly, the articles about "what to ask your personal chef" appeared to be written by someone clearly never having hired or interviewed a personal chef. The questions were highly redundant.

 

As a seasoned personal chef, I can share with you that when someone calls to set up a consultation...

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Should I use my credit card or my client's credit card for groceries?

This was a question that stumped me for a while before starting my personal chef business. I have to admit that it may have even stalled beginning my business as I had no clue how to deal with the groceries and didn't want to show up without some sort of plan.

How do groceries get paid and how much money do I have to save up to accommodate this huge expense? 

I started my business with maybe $500 reserves in my bank account, not likely enough to cover more than two to three client's grocery bills. The average purchase for a family of four when I'm preparing three complete dinners is around $150, more if they order filet mignon and less if they're vegetarian.

While some personal chefs ask for a grocery deposit upfront, I chose to go a different route. With a credit card line of of $1,000 (which is the minimum recommended to start your personal chef business with), I would purchase client groceries and have them reimburse me on the same day. I would then immediately pay the...

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* 10 Mistakes Personal Chefs Make on Their Websites

 

 

 

There are ten mistakes personal chefs most often make when creating their websites.

 

10 Mistakes to Avoid when creating your personal chef website

If you'd like to learn how to create a lead generating website, I've put together an excellent resource here >>

 

 

#1 The biggest mistake is on the home page. I see personal chefs often putting information about themselves on the home page.

 

Think about the potential client looking online for personal chef services in your area. When they click on your website, do you know what they’re thinking? “What can you do for me?” They’re truly not interested in learning the chef’s background. The chef’s background should be there, but on a different page than the home page. The landing page really needs to be all about the potential client and what you can do for them.

 

Mistake #2 is using more words than photos.

 

The second mistake is being...

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* What are the start-up costs of a personal chef business?

 

 

A common reason some never start their personal chef business is that they are under the impression that a business loan needs to be taken out to begin. This couldn't be further from the truth.

 

You can really start up your personal chef business for about $500.

 

You could most definitely save $500 for your start-up income and not rely on a loan which would charge interest, ultimately paying back $600-$700. Small business loans are intended for those needing $5,000 to $50,000 and have collateral such as a home to back up the loan. These loans are not meant for service businesses which have very little overhead and can easily start tomorrow for as little as $500.

 

The first two things you must have before going to a client’s home for your first day as a personal chef are a business license and liability insurance.

 

For a personal chef business license, the fees are different in each city, county or state so I can’t provide an exact...

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* How do I price my services as a Personal Chef?

 

I find some personal chefs not starting their business because they're not sure how to go about charging. Is that you too? 

 

It's the most common questions I'm asked, "how much should I charge for my meal prep services?" "How much should I charge for a dinner party?"

 

More in-depth calculations of pricing your service is available in the course Pricing for Personal Chefs. You'll learn the psychology of pricing your services, exactly how to calculate your worth, then perform several practice calculations so you'll be ready when the next request for a dinner party or meal prep comes in.

 

How do I price my services as a Personal Chef?

Before addressing this question, let's clarify personal chef services versus catering services. As a personal chef, you’d bring all the groceries to a client’s house and cook everything there. In catering or meal delivery service, you would be working out of an approved commercial kitchen, then deliver to the...

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What would it take to turn my home kitchen into a commercial kitchen?

A commercial kitchen is one that meets the fire, health and business codes for your area. You cannot cook out of your home kitchen then deliver or have clients pick up from your home without first having it approved by the local health department.

As a personal chef, you would be cooking out of your clients' kitchens, but just out of curiosity...what would it take to convert your home kitchen into a health department approved kitchen?

Requirements vary for every area, but the following are generally considered standard. Of course it would be ideal to create the kitchen from new construction, but oftentimes, this is not reasonable. So, what does it take to turn your home kitchen into a commercial kitchen?

  • Exhaust hood: This can be the most $$ part of the kitchen and can require remodeling of ductwork and fire suppression equipment. Your standard home with an above the range exhaust hood is not likely going to be powerful enough to pass a health safety inspection.
  • Refrigeration:...
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* How do I move my personal chef business into a commercial space?

When your schedule is maxed out with clients and catered dinners, you may consider moving into a commercial kitchen one or two days a week.

There are often plenty of restaurants or community centers (church or fire department kitchens) that are willing to sublet their kitchen to you. They appreciate the additional income and you will appreciate not locking yourself into a lengthy contract.

It is not suggested to START your personal chef business with a commercial kitchen as without a client base to pay for that kitchen, you're doing the hope and pray method of starting a small business.

Working in client homes, there is no overhead, so if you don't have clients in the beginning, you're not simultaneously losing money with commercial kitchen payments.

It's likely there are going to be only a few choices for your new commercial kitchen space, so you may not have the luxury of being picky. If you do have a variety to choose from, however, you're better off choosing the one...

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* How do I handle someone with severe allergies?

 

 

It's truly not unusual these days to encounter allergies so severe that the client requests you not bring any kitchen equipment into their home. They don't want to take the risk of any of your tools having touched an allergen in the past and possibly tracking it into their home and food. Even the smallest food particle could be fatal to those with severe allergies.

 

One of my first clients was a family with a young boy about five years old that had severe allergies. The list of "no" foods was two pages long. I shook my head at the client and shared with her that I was afraid to cook for them and that it would be too risky. It actually took the client to assure me that I was going to be excellent at helping their family and that I "must" take this job.

 

Looking back, it was fearful in the beginning, but truthfully it felt like one of my biggest accomplishments as a personal chef was making this family happy with food. I cooked probably fifty dinner parties...

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