Most of the time, when going on a consultation, you have no idea what you're walking into. You don't yet have an idea what expectations this client has of your services. You may go to the appointment thinking "oh boy, a new client" but what if that new client isn't what you're expecting?
I can recall one particular consultation with working parents and three teen children. The parents were too exhausted to cook dinner at the end of the workday and were looking for help.
My consultation was with the husband. Upon speaking with him, I learned that the wife was vegan (no dairy). He "loved a good steak". The kids were early in their teenage years and were never pushed to eat vegetables, preferring chicken fingers or macaroni and cheese every night. One of the kids had a nut allergy and the husband was celiac, meaning no gluten.
After learning all this information, I shared with him that I don't think I could come up with an interesting weekly menu that would satisfy all...
I found myself combing the internet for hours, perusing various business plans and trying to figure out what needs to be included in my personal chef business plan. Turns out, it was a total waste of hours that lead to weeks then months of procrastination.
At this point in my career, ten years later, looking back at all that planning, I would call this "analysis paralysis". This is a phrase that describes when overthinking a situation delays ever getting started.
Yes, I fell into the trap of thinking I needed to create a detailed business plan before starting my personal chef business. What tax structure am I going to create? What are my income goals for the year? What is my mission statement?
Wow, looking back, these things are truly...
When first starting your personal chef business, it's not unusual for your friends and family to ask you to offer your cooking services for free or at a discount. They may even package it as "getting your name out there."
Decide now how you will handle discount requests in your business
You might be tempted when you first start out in business to offer your services for free or maybe even at a discount.
When I first started in business, I had a friend who owned a hair salon and was going to be having an art opening. She thought it would be a great opportunity for those who have never been to her business to visit her salon while perusing works of art. She asked if I would be interested in catering the event.
Especially since I was new in business, I was extremely excited about catering this event and wanted to make it extra special. I spent a lot of time researching interesting appetizers, probably more time than usual since I was new. I created a fantastic...
Today’s question is, “what’s the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?” This is actually one of my pet peeves, when people call me a private chef. They’re wrong. I’m a personal chef!
Grab your freebie "How to Become a Personal Chef, step by step."
A private chef works for just one family, one individual or one couple. They have one employer. A person has hired them and paid them a salary and most likely, benefits. They have set hours or perhaps flexible hours. It’s different for every private chef. They negotiate a contract with guidelines on how they’re going to work. They’ll travel or won’t travel, etc. In summary, a private chef works for just one client, often one family.
A personal chef, which is what I do, works for numerous families. I have about sixteen families right now (at the time of this recording Autumn 2019). I charge by the package. I...
What's beyond my current stage of business you may be wondering? What happens once my personal chef client schedule is full?
Sometimes you’re in two stages at once or choose to stay in one stage forever.
The three stages of business
You're likely currently in the start-up phase where you’re taking the time to invest in yourself and understand how to become an entrepreneur in your new personal chef business.
The monetization stage is when you’re making a profit and learning the most effective ways to market your particular business model to which your community responds.
At stage three, you’re ready to expand into new opportunities to add to your personal chef business. You may consider franchising or certifying others to become personal chefs under your brand.
Stage 1: Startup
When in the startup stage, it’s easy to get stuck perfecting your logo or website when you should be...
When I first started my personal chef business, I had no idea what I was doing as I had no mentor to answer my questions. I couldn't find any help online to basic questions, like what should I wear to meal prep sessions in client homes?
I knew that it had to be some sort of uniform, meaning that I would wear the same style at every cook session. I chose a black t-shirt and jeans. Looking back, wearing street clothes was not showcasing my business in a professional way.
Attending a Chamber of Commerce networking event, I saw many of the members wearing polo shirts with a logo. "What a great idea," I thought. It seems so obvious that a professional shirt with company logo would be part of a uniform, but truly when first starting a business, you don't know what you don't know.
I researched and learned that company shirts are rather inexpensive and printed clothing could include an apron as well.
If you're looking for a brand recommendation, I really like the quality of Chef...
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If you're having confidence issues calling yourself a chef, consider the fact that there is no mention of culinary school in these definitions.
Did you know that these celebrity chefs did not attend culinary school?
I honestly get more negative feedback on this statement than any other content I share. Chefs who have attended culinary schools get offended and will send messages stating that culinary school chefs worked hard to get to where they are and it's insulting for just anyone to call themselves a chef.
I didn't say "just anyone" could call themselves a chef. Also, do you think that the people on that list above...
You're killing me here. You should never work under the table when doing something as risky as cooking food that others are eating.
You MUST protect yourself with liability insurance. What if you're cooking at the client's home and burn the house down? What if your client has a lethal allergy and you forgot to read the label on the mustard container to see if it contained the allergen? What if you cut off your fingers, don't have medical insurance, and can't work for a year?
You MUST be a true professional and run your business while holding a business license or tax certificate. A business caught operating without a license could be forced to cease operations. In some instances, a business might have to wait out a mandatory probationary period or worse, a city can refuse to grant a license to the business.
When running a service business, your reputation is everything. Clients are less likely to refer an unprofessional business.
You can't post about your illegal...
You can’t decide to become a personal chef today, then start full-time tomorrow. Not only do you have to work at building a clientele, but you also need time to build up systems of efficiency in your business.
Part of building your business could be gaining education and experience from other food service companies as you get your personal chef business off the ground. Of course you could work in restaurants, but have you considered applying at local catering companies or banquet halls?
Caterers often have a high staff turnover, so if you can show up and become a reliable, active employee who wants to learn more, you will do well. The kitchen is not the only place to learn.
Being a personal chef is not just about cooking well, it's also offering a service. Working front of house at a catering company will allow you direct interaction with guests where you can get a better understanding of their needs. You can also learn a lot about how events are run by working front of...
When starting out in business, having business cards printed is at the top of the checklist. How else would you share with someone at a networking event about your business?
COVID obviously changed how we network with others, but really, wasn't the business card already dead?
If you meet someone at a party, you will usually give them your phone number or have them connect with you on Facebook or Instagram. You aren't handing them a card with your contact info printed on it, so why would you do this in your business? Learn more about getting leads into your business, click here.
Surprising to me, going to my first Chamber of Commerce mixer, I was met with a couple hundred people all carrying stacks of business cards. Their goal was to hand out their own stack in exchange for others' business cards. I did arrive with my own stack of business cards as well, but the thought of this whole exchange seemed antiquated. I took my new stack of business cards home, entered them into my...