Personal Chef Marketing Tips

The personal chef business is booming! While cost control and time management are essential skills for success, here are some marketing ideas that might give you a boost in revenue.

1—Great customer service is the backbone of any successful enterprise. Leave a little “lagniappe” behind. (Lagniappe means “a little something extra.”) You can pick up fresh flowers while you are shopping. Grocery stores usually have a floral area and sell cute little bouquets for just a few dollars. You can even grow your own cutting flowers in your garden. Other “lagniappe” ideas include a small package of a signature item, like your best cookies or chocolates wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon in your company colors, home-made doggie biscuits for your canine-loving clients, or even a beautiful (unscented) candle for your clients to dine by. Add a hand-written note with a simple message, such as “It has been a pleasure cooking for you. Enjoy!”

2—Network. Of course, you are busy cooking, but take some time to network with both potential clients and referral partners. Your local Chamber of Commerce is always a good idea to try, but also consider area cooking schools, restaurant association, and even charity organizations. For networking information and tips, read my article, Networking for Beginners.

3—Keep your menus up-to-date. Add new items regularly to your offerings. The larger your recipe collection, the better you can take advantage of seasonal produce selections and sales on other items. And, variety is the “spice” of life, so having dozens of different ways to prepare your client’s favorites keeps things interesting. (Do be careful with their likes & dislikes – not everyone loves cilantro!)

4—Offer to cook for holidays and special events. Your clients have dinner parties, birthdays, weddings, and holidays just like everyone else. When you send invoices, include a flyer promoting additional services they can order. How about the “cupcake express” where you leave a couple dozen cupcakes for their children’s school parties? You can charge a fair price for the cupcakes in addition to your normal fees. Other ideas include cooking an extra meal for a holiday week, such as Easter. Just prepare an Easter menu and offer it as an add-on during Easter week.

5—-Create a referral system. Make cards that you can leave with your clients to pass on to their friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Offer a free sample meal for the potential new clients and give your client a discount or some sort of “freebie” when that client contracts with you.

6—Some people are hesitant to tell you how they really feel. Make it easy by creating an evaluation form that they can email, fax or even leave for you. Model it after a restaurant comment card, letting them rank items on a 1 to 5 scale. Items to evaluate include: cleanliness of the kitchen when you left, ease of instructions left for reheating, were portion sizes adequate, and of course, taste and appearance of the food items. This type of feedback is great, even if you might disagree with it occasionally. Keep an open mind and use it as a tool for improvement. Perhaps you need to ask more questions during your initial consultation, perhaps you got in a hurry and forgot to take out the trash. Whatever it is, if you know about it, you can take steps to fix it: apologize and improve your process. If you don’t know about it, you will have unhappy clients or worse, disappearing clients.

For info on starting your personal chef business, read Starting a Personal Chef Business

For more marketing ideas, read these articles:

Ten Ways to Market your Business for Free

Marketing with Your Business Cards

Free Content for Your Website

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