You're a successful Personal Chef with a long list of happy clients. You've maxed out the potential of your current business and are looking for ideas to take your company to the next level. We've got a few ideas in our spice box...
There are many young students coming out of culinary college each year who are hungry for experience in the real world of cooking. You may want to consider taking on an intern, who would help you prep, cook and clean up, and while doing so, learn and gain experience and confidence to be able to cook for your clients, under your business name, leaving you to cook for your favourite clients and more lucrative events. It's a win-win all around.
Personal Chefs often have a signature sauce, chutney or jam which their clients, friends and family just can't get enough of. At the time of writing this article, the liability insurance that The Chef Alliance offers to their members does cover the sale of these items, if prepared in a commercial kitchen, directly to consumers. So, if you're selling these at trade shows, farmer's markets, or to your clients, then you're covered. Once you start selling to retail stores, you'll have to get a compatible insurance policy.
There are many businesses in similar situations to you - a way to grow their business. Partnering with complementary businesses, such as in-home spa services, musicians, magicians, etc. allows you to offer services for special events, not just for a regular meal service. The appeal to clients is that they deal with someone that they are comfortable with (you) and trust. You'll also benefit from being introduced to your partners client base and their wider circle of friends and family.
There are thousands of single people out there, and dinner time can be lonely. Setting up a safe environment for singles to meet over a delicious meal may be the answer. Whether you partner with a dating agency or an art/pottery business, a breakfast restaurant (that closes each evening) etc, there are lots of places where you can offer your service and add some spice to the lives of local singles!
Many clients are wary about letting a stranger cook in their home, so shy away from hiring a Personal Chef. A gateway service to the Personal Chef service is a cook heat-and-eat meals. These are cooked by you in a commercial kitchen (unless, of course, you have had your home kitchen inspected and passed by your local Health and Safety department) and picked up by your clients (Delivering ready-meals to clients shouldn't be done unless you have a refrigerated truck and the proper insurance). This allows you to prepare meals for a few clients at a time, rather than one at a time.
Self publishing a cookbook is becoming easier every year. There are many services which help you write, publish and market your book. Make the most of your years of successful cooking and share your insights, recipes and stories with a wider community. It doesn't mean that now your clients won't need you... having your recipes won't suddenly give them the time or the inclination to cook. It will, however, increase your marketability - perhaps making you more in demand for higher budget events and clients.
Blogs, of course, have a lower financial investment, but needs a greater time investment as it needs to be continually updated with new content. Most successful food blogs make money through advertising, so until you have a significant and engaged audience, it’s almost impossible to replace an income. Most bloggers write as a side job until they start earning a high enough income. Check out pro-bloggers like Gary Vaynerchuk for tips.
As a Dinner Concierge you create a customized menu, do the grocery shopping and provide clients with your well-research step-by-step recipes which they can then prepare together. This brings families and friends together without the fuss and time investment needed to plan and shop. You're not doing any cooking, but it's a great gateway service to introduce your business to new, potential clients.
Connect with local businesses to cater their lunch meetings. Think of law firms, accounting firms, marketing firms etc. Meet up with their office manager to discuss their needs, and bring a few sample dishes for him/her to try... it creates goodwill, and makes it harder for them to say no ;)
Show off your skills to foodies by creating a portfolio of cooking lessons. Offer them at local supermarkets with their own cooking school facilities, to businesses for team-building, to niche groups (e.g. Cancer or heart patients, women's groups, at-risk teens etc). In-home cooking lessons are also a great way for families and friends to connect doing an activity together.
If providing Personal Chef services is something that you would like to try, then give us a call. We're here to help you!
The Chef Alliance is the leading organisation of Private & Personal Chefs & Caterers in Canada offering Chefs a place to locate jobs, meet new clients, grow their business, benefit from peer support, discounts to lower their business costs, marketing services & much more. This allows Chefs concentrate on what they do best - cook great food!
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