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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 about...

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

 

You may not have started your personal chef business because you can't figure out how to handle the cost of groceries. Okay, maybe that was just me. I was completely stumped in how to begin my business because I couldn't get past the question of how to handle groceries.

  • Does the client pay for groceries or do I?
  • Do I purchase the groceries with my credit card or my client's credit card?
  • Does the client reimburse me individually for the groceries or do I add it to the total bill?
  • Should I be charging for groceries or do I offer a flat fee meal service?

 

Argh, pricing my services was hard. Luckily I figured it all out then designed a teachable system where you can learn to price your personal chef services as well. The course "Pricing for Personal Chefs" is available here >>

 

The question about whether the client should pay for groceries or should I stumped me for a while before starting my personal chef business. I have to admit that it may have even...

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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?

 

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...

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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 services are available in the course Pricing for Personal Chefs, click here >>

 

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...

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

 

Everyone seems to want to cook out of their home kitchen, but it's not entirely legal until it's approved by the health department. Sooo...what does it take to turn your home kitchen into a health department approved 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...
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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 in your community for your new commercial kitchen space, so you may not have the luxury of being picky. If you do have a variety to choose...

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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 for them...

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Freezing Meals as a Personal Chef

 

 

I do receive a lot of questions about freezing foods at meal prep cook sessions.

  • What foods can be frozen?
  • Do clients often request a month of meals at a time to include freezing some of the meals?

 

I find that the clients that hire you weekly will rarely request freezer meals. That said, it's a fantastic upsell to offer "freezer add-ons" that could be a batch of meatballs, fresh fruit smoothie prep, or individual lasagnas. This could be in addition (an additional service fee) to the three to five dinners you're already preparing at the cook session.

 

Commercially frozen vegetables are flash-frozen, which a process of freezing food in just a few hours via cryogenic temperatures or through direct contact with liquid nitrogen at −196 °C. Obviously you do not likely have this type of equipment readily available at your client's home. You can, however, perform a method of flash freezing at home. 

 

Placing two pints of frozen...

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Can you please everyone with your food?

 

You may go to your personal chef appointment thinking "yay, a new client" but what if that new client isn't what you're expecting?

 

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. 

 

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 meat or dairy). He personally "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...

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