For culinary graduates, the world is practically your oyster. You could start your own restaurant, serving the food you like in a comfortable atmosphere. Or, you could do the same while enjoying the open road in your very own food truck. But while so many kitchen gurus opt to serve the masses, others take a different path entirely by becoming a personal chef. Whether you’re working for one family or cooking for several customers, there are over 9,000 personal chefs in the U.S. alone, according to the American Personal & Private Chef Association. If this career path sounds interesting, consider the following six tips to help you become the most successful personal chef possible:
“Personal chefs should use a professional website to help attract clients.”
1. Make yourself accessible
As a personal chef, you’re going to need a roster of clients or one full-time job in order to make your way. So, how do you attract these potential clients? White Apron suggested creating a personal website. Since so many people rely on the Internet for hiring help, an easy-to -read site complete with easy communication options is going to give you the widest net available. Depending on your financial situation, you can hire a web designer. Or, there are many do-it-yourself options, like through Yelp or Google Plus. Don’t forget the power of referrals, either. Encourage your clients to help you spread the word and tell their family and friends.
2. Develop your customer service skills
As Chef’s Blade pointed out, personal chefs occupy a unique role, one where the line between chef and server is almost nonexistent. That’s why it’s so important that you know how to engage your clients. You’re working for one person directly, and you have to be able to cater to their wants and needs. When going for a job, be sure to lay out what services you offer and try to understand what they expect. That way, there’s no confusion regarding the arrangement. And though they’re technically your employers, you always need to be friendly and personable with clients. Don’t be afraid to share stories or jokes, which will improve relations.
3. Always do your research
A website is great, but as Work From Home Jobs explained, personal chefs can’t just throw out a few lines and hope for success. Instead, it’s important to know what kind of clientele you can expect. Are you going to mostly help out overworked single moms, or maybe otherwise clueless bachelors? Understanding who you’re going to be working for can help you not only better engage them, but also inform things like your cooking style and customer service approach. As an extension of this, try and find a unique niche. That way, you’re avoiding needless competition and are free to really get to know your consumer base.
“Being a personal chef requires certain licenses.”
4. Don’t forget the business end
Even if you’re not running a restaurant or food truck, being a personal chef means you’re still in business for yourself. And because of that, you will need to handle your own finances and other affairs, as the Houston Chronicle pointed out. Though regulations vary between states, all personal chefs need permits and certifications, like a food handler’s card. Many states also have a sales tax in place for prepared food. You’ll need liability insurance in case of any accidents. Perhaps the biggest concern for personal chefs, though, is pricing. There are several software programs that can help you, and they consider things like price of ingredients and number of patrons. Equipment and supplies will also be necessary, and your pots, pans and other instruments will need regular maintenance or replacement.