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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out as a Personal Chef


The two-income family with a desire to eat healthier, and no time to cook, creates a large market for a personal chef business. If you enjoy cooking and are thinking about becoming a private chef within your community, then here are 5 mistakes to avoid when starting your personal chef business.

1. Ignorance of Your Market

What this means to you as a personal chef is that you don't know what your target market looks like. Go beyond demographics and economics and find out what kinds of meals people in your area eat. Find out if they are predominantly vegetarian or if they prefer to eat only organic foods. Find out if your target market has young children who will require a slightly simpler menu in addition to the main meal. Understanding the eating habits of your market will help you to organize your marketing efforts.

2. Lacking the Right Tools

When you go into business for yourself, you become responsible for acquiring all of the tools you need to make your business a success. As a private chef you will, at the very least, need a good set of cooking knives, utensils and cookbooks. Depending on the situation, you may also need to have cookware as well. Before you begin offering your personal chef services, get organized about how you will transport your equipment so you always have everything you need for each job. Because start-up costs for your personal chef business are fairly low, purchase the best tools you can possibly afford with your start-up capital.

3. Poor Customer Service

As a personal chef, you cook in other people's homes and handle their food. Dress neatly, always in clean clothing with a fresh, crisp apron. Also, even though you may work independently, good client relations are essential. Make a good impression with each of your clients and be responsive to all inquiries. Word of mouth for a personal chef can be the best way of generating new business leads. Likewise, one negative experience or review can ruin your business.

4. Complicated Recipes

Remember that you are in the personal chef business to make money. A good rule of thumb is to choose recipes that are easy to prepare in terms of following the recipe, acquiring the ingredients and preparation time. You can offer several more complex, and more costly, menu items, but your staple recipes should be relatively quick and easy.

5. Ignoring Special Dietary Needs

Perhaps you consume meat and dairy in your own meals and prefer to cook meals that contain these ingredients. Keep in mind that there are a wide range of eating habits in your community. Many people are now dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, just to name a few special needs. Centering your personal chef business around one of these niche categories may open up business possibilities beyond your own mealtime preferences.

Becoming a personal chef can be a lucrative, enjoyable business with low overhead and start-up costs. Avoid these common mistakes, and give your business a competitive advantage.

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