THE CHANGING INDUSTRY


For over 10 years, The Chef Alliance worked with a variety of retail vendors, online vendors, marketing companies and businesses to promote Personal Chef services for member chefs.  This helped hundreds of Personal Chefs build their businesses by introducing them to guaranteed clients.  However, every business sector is undergoing dramatic changes these days - with Uber and the taxi industry, to AirBnB and the hotel industry. 

The Personal Chef and restaurant industry are no different.  In recent months, we have seen a growing trend in 'home-cooks' trying their hand at selling dinner-time spots at their kitchen table, offering home cooked meals in their own home, as well as home delivery services.  This is the opposite of what a Personal or Private Chef would do by cooking a customised meal in a client's home.


How are we addressing these new trends?  Of course, we're here to help Canadian consumers, by highlighting the importance of hiring professionals, whether they have had formal culinary training or not.  Training is not the issue, since there are many celebrated Chefs around the world who have never stepped foot in a culinary college.  


We want to help all foodservice personnel to be successful at what they do, and protect themselves, their clients and the health of Canadians.  Until tighter controls are implemented by government to address these marketplace changes and the sale of prepared foods, Personal Chefs and the industry will have to adapt.



ADHERING TO LOCAL LAWS AND BY-LAWS

Many home-cooks have not had their kitchens inspected by the health department, putting the health and safety of their customers at risk. Some have not had any training in food safety practices either.  They simply enjoy cooking and want to make money for doing something that they would have to do anyway - cook dinner.  The only difference is that they just cook a few extra portions, and get paid to do so.


We encourage all cooks and Chefs to adhere to their local laws and by-laws where they concern foodservice.  If this means that you need to prepare food in an inspected, commercial kitchen or have your own kitchen inspected by your local Health Department, then this can only be good for you and your clients.  Both parties will have peace of mind.



PROTECTING YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS

The most concerning fact is that the majority of these home-cooks have no liability insurance, which professional Private and Personal Chefs should have (and all members of The Chef Alliance have as part of their membership fees) in order to protect their clients, themselves and their families.  Most consumers still don't understand the importance of checking that these home-based or pop-up 'restaurants' have the proper insurance until it is too late.  


If there was an accident on the premises or there was a case of food poisoning, for example, in the absence of insurance, the cook would likely not have the funds to deal with any claim for compensation.  Even their home insurance would not cover claims arising from a business run out of their home without the insurance companies' knowledge.  This leaves the cook at risk of being personally sued - putting themselves, their family and their property at risk from the high costs of litigation.



EDUCATING CANADIANS
Since 'homecooks' have done little to invest in their 'business venture', they have few real overheads, and they can offer meals at a much lower price-point than restaurants and Personal Chefs.  To an uninformed consumer, this could look like an attractive alternative.


We will be starting an education blitz on behalf of our members, informing consumers of the risks associated with hiring or consuming foods prepared by unlicensed and uninsured 'cooks.'  In contrast, hiring a Personal Chef who has aligned themselves with an organisation such as The Chef Alliance, who has invested in Liability Insurance to protect their client, and who has a genuine desire in providing a stellar service, may cost slightly more, but at least clients can rest assured that the Personal Chef is more likely to deal with any issues or complaints that may arise.



DIRECT MARKETING

To address this emerging competition, for the benefit of our members and the growth of their businesses, we are encouraging members to market themselves directly to consumers.  This will allow members of The Chef Alliance to create unique packages to showcase their unique talents directly to consumers on well-established platforms.  


These online vendors do not generally charge marketing fees in advance, instead relaying on taking a fixed marketing fee when gift certificates are redeemed.  Therefore, Chefs can set their own catchment area, their own terms and conditions, and have control of their own price-point with little or no financial investment.  We can assist members with contacting vendors who we have worked with for many years.  In addition, we can ensure that they have the required liability insurance that these vendors will need before selling Chefs' services to thousands of consumers each day.


Changes will be coming to our online Chef profile websites (such as Top Chefs 4 Hire) in the coming months to improve the marketing of professional Personal Chefs.  Our focus will be on marketing, mentoring and guiding our members.


Please feel free to contact a Success Manager by email should you have any questions or if you wish to join our successful members. 




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!