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Personal Chef panel report

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Last night, I attended a panel called "How to Become a Personal Chef" sponsored by Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR). Presenters included a women who runs an agency placing private chefs, 2 culinary-school placement officers, and 2 personal chefs. In 2 hours, they barely scratched the surface. But here's some of the stuff I found interesting:

What are the differences between a personal chef and a private chef?
There are many. A personal chef is an entrepreneur, often a sole-proprietor business, who contracts with multiple clients to cook for them on a regular basis. S/he may cook at each client's home, at a commercial kitchen, or a combination of the two. Must provide own insurance coverage for liability (as well as own benefits, of course).
A private chef is the employee of one family or person, and cooks ONLY for them. Could be live-in or -out; is on-call according to the arrangement made with the employer. As an employee, is covered by the employer's insurance regarding liability, etc., and might receive benefits including health insurance, retirement plan, and so on.

Do you need culinary training to become a personal chef?
Not really -- just as you don't need it to cook in a restaurant or other facility. One PC on the panel had been to I.C.E. (Kump's); the other was self-educated.

What skills do you need, besides being able to cook?
People skills: you have to negotiate menus, fees, limits of what you will and will not be responsible for.
Business skills: as a PC, YOU are the business. You have to deal with pricing, insurance, taxes, contracts or service agreements, billing, banking. Also, you have to be able to market yourself, whether with ads or by word-of-mouth references.
Time-management skills: since you have many clients, you have to be able to get the work done for each in the time you allot. VERY IMPORTANT. And you need time to handle the business details, to keep up with food trends, etc.

What is a typical day like?
Both PCs work differently. One will shop, bring the groceries, cook, pack and store the prepared food, and clean up, for 2 or 3 different clients each day, four days a week. On her "off" time, when she's not handling business details, she's reading and researching. The other may only work for one client a day, also shopping, cooking, packing and storing, and cleaning, but might then do dinner parties in the evening and on weekends. Both said that sometimes they only use the equipment at the client's home, sometimes they bring their own (always their knives, sometimes pots and pans).

How do you charge? What do you charge?
One charges a daily rate for about a 7-hour day (5 - 6 hours on site, the rest doing the shopping), plus food costs, plus other fees for disposable packaging materials, travel (if necessary), etc. The other charges by the hour, with a 3-hour minimum, including the cost of groceries.

That's about what I can recall.

Here are a few websites to check out:
US Personal Chefs Association
American Personal Chef Association and Institute
Personal Chefs Network, Inc.
Canadian PC Association
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #2 of 40
Great post Suzanne, thanks!

A couple of things I wonder about:

- Couldn't you just have a price list instead of negociating everything with the client? I can't remember who once said that, maybe Shroom.. Otherwise, I can see what a stressful experience it must be. It gives the client the impression that they can haggle every time you come over.

- What do you do with the 3/4 celery and half bag of carrots you haven't used? Leave it in the client's fridge? If they don't cook, won't it be spoiled by the time you come over next time?

- How often do you rotate your menus? Or do you always cook something different for your client?

- What would be a standard pricing equation? Groceries + travel + labour + markup + tax? What's a typical markup?

I'll have more questions I'm sure.. :)
post #3 of 40
Ive been doing some research regarding this part of the industry. Visiting Personal Chef sites and associations etc. I found that pricing may vary. Some do pricing by entree and dessert per person. The more people the more money it is. Prices vary from 250 bucks and up.

I don't know what they do with the leftover product. Take it home maybe unless they know exactly how much of the product they will be using.

Im waiting to hear what Markdchef or ChefTom have to say regarding pricing etc. since they are PCs themselves.

Here are a few Personal Chef websites to start:

Thyme Savor

Supper Solution

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #4 of 40
I'm cost plus supplies....on initial meetings we agree on the amount of meals I'll prepare. After doing this for 7 years I've figured out how fast I work.....salary is always the same, cost of groceries varies from week to week. Necessary equipment is bought when I start....perks of the job. Through the years I've figured out what works for me and what does not...more than likely I will turn down a job than even start with a client that does not fit in the "profile".
So this week is
salmon with teriyaki, spring rolls, rice, butterscotch pie, coconut bread pudding, Tom Kha, Shrimp Green Curry, Chicken Caccatori, Chicken salad, oatmeal cookies, salads, Gumbo, Root slaw, Orange Chicken.
That's for two people and between us I faxed the menu and they agreed or changed what they want.....again after 7 years they have favorites.
I was approached recently by someone who wants me to cook 4 nights a week, 3 hours a night....$75 a day....essentially shop, cook, serve, clean up....this would not work for me.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 40
Hey Shroom,

Are you a Personal or Private Chef? Do you do exclusive work and is it easier or more flexible? Im thinking about giving Personal Cheffing the good ole college try. Trying to iron out my overhead costs, total expenses, recipe costing in regards to a flat fee. I know things that work for others may not necessarily work for me but Im sure I can iron out the kinks of start up by next year. I will probably be operating at a loss the first year as I get established right?

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #6 of 40
I'm a hybrid....I took what would work for me and altered it to fit my life.
I started making money from the beginning, advertising was all of $150 over 7 years.....at one time I was cooking for 10 families a week....not fun. I cruise at 5 per week/4days.....But as of 2 years ago I dropped or through atrition got down to my original client on Wed. Between private cooking classes, demos, the farmer's market, catering and consulting I'm doing what I want at this time. Catering is much more lucrative for me and I will pursue it much more than personal cheffing.
You can get fussy and have a set rate...ie however much per person per week....I much prefer charging a salary and food costs are what you choose to eat.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 40
I think pricing is the hardest thing to iron out. As soon as I know what my expenses are it will be easier for me. I like to look at the whole pic not what profit I made from payment minus groceries and gas.

I think there is much more to it than just that. To me its kinda like running a mobile restaurant, where the restaurant is the person's home. If I just look at what Id charge per menu item and don't take into account my overall expenses I could actually be losing money. Right?

Jodi
Jodi


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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #8 of 40
Mileage you deduct on taxes...keep records. Depending on your set up, I have an agreement that the client supplies necessary equipment. Food is SEPARATE from salary. Salary is consistant 52 weeks a year whether they are on vacation or not. The only exspenses are computer, paper, ink, car, gas....they pay for containers, labels, etc.....if you are cooking in their homes the electricity etc is on them...So you can portion and price out meals;or just let them pick up their food costs.
Finding the right fit is important....I like playing with great ingrediants, my clients have a budget that can afford the fun shtuff....they also like to try new things. It works for me on a whole lot of levels.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 40
Hey Shroom,

Boy am I full of questions huh?! Just let me know when Im getting annoying. :)

I was curious about the spices situation....if you have one that is. When Ive visited the homes of my friends and family, not one of them had a wide range of spices. Mostly salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. My mom has the hot curry powder and ground cloves though. So do you have a stash of spices somewhere? Buy what you need and charge the client? Or is that inclusive in the equipment charge? :confused:

Jodi
Jodi


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Jodi


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post #10 of 40
If I have abundant fresh herbs I share, if not I buy fresh with the groceries. Penzeys supplies the spices and some dried herbs....just let them know from the beginning that herbs/spices make a difference and that you will need to stock their cabinent....$30-45 a year depending on amounts they use for dried. There are weeks I spend $8 on fresh herbs for a client.
***My clients want low fat <not desserts necessarily> so herbs, wine, stock are major flavor contributors. I make chicken stock on a regular basis and freeze it in portions that work for sauces and soups.
Do not eat unnecessary exspenses......But you have to make sure that your clients are aware of costs....which are one time or every 6 monthes costs. Containers, herbs, equipment....
Again, my clientel are dbl surgeons or CFO's of major companies, they have expendable income and can afford me year after year. It takes too much effort for me to walk into a non-promising situation and figure out what the newbies want to eat.
One of my biggest thrills is shopping and creating.....I jam on the stove with multiple pots/pans/ovens going in syncronicity....that keeps my mind from going to mush. Figuring out how to plan a rounded menu, use up extra ingrediants, keep from over loading it with timely dishes....bologanese and lamb stew and strawberry pie with icebox cookies....all are multiple long preparations, I try not to load up on them. I love cooking !!! In 7 years I'm sure there were a few OFF weeks....make sure you mention that you may have an off week and make up for it along the way with something special. I can remember having something on a menu getting to the store and the ingrediants are not to be found.....this is where you have discreation to substitute....clear it ahead of time....but again that's communication with your clients.
Make sure they realize that you have booked them on a special day and that it is their time....thus you are paid wether they are in town or not....I will cook at other times if it is conveniant for me<courtesy will come back around when you need it>. Set up the ground rules from the beginning or you will be in bad situations that will be unsalvagable. Have a trial period.

Down sides are if you are sick....SOL....there are not alot of mid week vacations...I plan my vacations around others or just leave town when I'm done. Children get sick or are out of school on vacation....deal with this from the beginning. It takes a few weeks to replace a client....placing an ad/or calling someone on a waiting list, setting up an initial appt, and starting all take time.
Working out the contract....what's important to you? What makes it equitable to everyone...win-win situations.
There was a time I tought of hiring support staff so that I could take on additional clients....someone to clean up after me, possibly shop, do some prep.....I did not want to be responsible for someone else.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 40

Thanks Shroom,

This makes a lot of sense and I haven't even started thinking about a contract yet. (Im fine tuning my Database first) Though when I do, since I am not a lawyer, Ill have a consult to make sure its all legal, precise and has no loopholes. :)

Wow! I actually hadn't given vacation a thought. :eek: I know I will need one so that info was very helpful also. One more thing added to my to-do list but then Ill be in the planning stages until early next year. So I have lots of time to set it up right.

Thanks,

Jodi

PS

I may have another question but Im not sure yet.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #12 of 40

Darn! Ive got two questions

I don't know if you use a set menu or if you cook on the fly but I know many others who have set menus where the client makes a selection.

1. In planning the menu, do you think it is beneficial to standardize and cost them out in order to set a profitable selling price? Is this unecessary?

I was thinking that if I cost out my recipes (which I was doing before all this anyway) with the regular Supermarket/Restaurant Depot prices and that item goes on sale my profit margin goes up a little. I have seen a few sites where they charge say $375 for 5 entrees/person plus 1 dessert/person and leave it at that.

2. Is it better to set up the menu in courses so substitutions are available (and easier to do if you ask me) or to use a list of meals with set prices?

I am leaning more towards courses with a separate dessert section. I also noticed that other PC's are using a list of meals to choose from but with no pricing. I guess they negotiate the price but I don't want to do that since I could end up on the losing end of the stick and the client might not be taking into consideration the labor factor.

Thanks for listening and putting up with all these questions. :)

Jodi
Jodi


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post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
Jumping back in with what the 2 PCs on the panel said:

When they first agree to take on a client, they both have a serious session with the client to learn what the client likes, dislikes, is allergic to, and as many other food preference quirks as can be thought of at the time. Then each week they present a menu plan for the client's consideration, based on those preferences and, I suppose, what is fresh and available. This is done a week ahead, actually. Client can ask for changes, but once the menu is agreed upon, the only changes will be in substitutions in the absence of some expected item.

Since all clients have different preferences, I doubt the PCs make the same for all. Although if something wonderful just came into season, and the client likes it, I'm sure they both will try to include it (such as the first fresh asparagus in spring).

The general consensus was that it's better to charge a standard fee for your time, with cost of ingredients separate. That way your actual INCOME not going to fluctuate with rising and falling prices, or more or less expensive tastes.

Jodi, what you're talking about with a "set menu" sounds more like the way a caterer or restaurant operates. The point the 2 PCs made was that theirs is a PERSONAL SERVICE, tailored to the specific tastes of the clients. Sure, they set the menu for each week, but it's the client's wishes, not what they want to sell, that is its foundation.

Hope this helps.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #14 of 40

Wait this is what I meant

Well, lets see. Every PC website, with the exception of a very few, offer sample menus or a short list of some of the dishes they make. I am very sure they have a bunch of recipes that they can draw from and add a few more each year.

This is how I saw the scenario:

I have a database set up already where I can input all information (client info, diet info, special diet info, allergies, children's preferences and allergies etc.) during the initial interview. I conduct a grande tour of the kitchen to see what is available and what I will need to bring with my mobile kitchen. Present my sample offering menu (marketing materials :) )....in courses of varying diets so they can get the idea of a complete meal of entrees, sides plus dessert (dessert optional.) And what their menu will eventually look like. I could never find much appealing about set listed menus.

Discuss the packaging materials that need to be purchased with the client along the labor and spices fees. Have them read and sign the booking contract (not sure what to call it). Search my database for recipes that match their criteria and THEN create the tailored menu for the clients perusal along with an initial price quote based on the recipe costing.

Maybe Shroom can tell me if this sounds feasible...

Wow! I look long winded :blush: :D :blush:

Jodi
Jodi


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Jodi


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post #15 of 40
JODI~ your not grasping it.....I get two checks one is salary and a set amount every week, the other is reimbursement for groceries.
I don't care if my clients eat dried beans or lobster, it will not affect my income.
I do not use recipes on a regular basis though I do skim through mags and books when I hit a dry spell....nothing like a trip to NYC to instill creative juices. I do not care how much I make within reason....a pot of stew takes as much labor as a cup of stew.
Making childrens meals can be time consuming and a major pain.
When I've cooked for families there is usually some adaptation for kids (chilies on the side) but as a whole I do not cook "kid food" and for most clients they don't want to pay my rates to feed children something different.
One of the most important things I discovered was that both spouses need to want you, both need to be at the initial meeting<I can not emphasize it enough> you need a house key, security codes, I got blank signed checks and check cards too.
Go through likes and dislikes, with personalized cooking the more info you get the better. I generally ask for a 1.5-2 hr meeting.
PEOPLE that eat out all of the time are not good clients, they waste alot of food and end up not using/needing you after a couple of months.
Do not dwell on the contract, if the family works out for you, it'll be great if not.....better to move on. Having a written agreement about vacations/appts/etc is good for everyone.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #16 of 40
Then why do orgs like USPCA, APCA and PCN stress that they have "tried and true recipes" or "client approved recipes" with their membership package? I have "virtually" thumbed through what the packages basically include:

Biz Start up Tools:
Biz Plan Outline - Downloaded a freebie from SBA for current home biz (Restaurant Menu Design)
State & Local Cert. List - Got em already
Home Office Setup - Already got one

Marketing Tools:
Brochures - Got em already
Press Releases - Done that before and have templates
Biz Cards - Got em, print them myself and can update. I also have a credit acct. at the office supply store.

Mobile Kitchen Setup Info
Already have one for my once a week Pastry Job at family biz.
Food Safety - Already Certified as a Food Handler
Recipe Software (some orgs) - I have one already

Freezable Recipes - Compiling some as we speak

I was discussing this with my mom (another home biz owner) and wondered why I needed to "join" an org and pay anywhere from 500 bucks to 3k for their membership package? I was interested in joining one of these orgs because I thought that maybe they would know more about the biz than I did. BTW I AM grasping what YOU'RE saying. You are close to my original intent! Im just not grasping where THEY are coming from with needing a menu for other than a marketing tool.

Here was the original idea:
Update Biz registration with State
Update/Create new marketing materials for THIS biz
Setup my contact management & accounting system
Market for Clients
Conduct interview
Create custom menu
Set cookdate
Shop,cook, clean up, leave reheat instruc.
Get Paid and do it again.

Sounded simple to me! 2 to 3 steady clients should be all Id need. Im not looking to become a millionaire at this. When I mentioned the recipe costing I was more talking about the accounting system. That way I would know where the money was going and what my P & L was. But if you're telling me that they cover everything and you just charge for labor.....my answer is "Why didn't someone at the orgs just say so?"

It would have made it less confusing. They mentioned: container fee, pantry fee and a bunch of other stuff that was confusing. You are more to the point. Labor cost is this much, client pays for containers, pantry items (including spices that need to be bought) and groceries. Containers and Pantry is basically once every 6 months or so (if needed), while groceries is whenever they need you to cook. Can't get much clearer than that. That way your rate never budges! Only the grocery cost fluctuates. That means you supply them with the grocery receipt? And do they tell you what they want to eat or do they give you total discretion? How often do you cook? Weekly or Bi-Monthly? This is beginning to sound more like being a Private Chef though.



Jodi
Jodi


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Jodi


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post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 
Probably so that they can sell you more stuff. Remember, they too are businesses.

I'm sure there are some plusses to joining the orgns -- they do offer training in running your own business. But Jodi, someone like you who knows all that (and more! ;) might not get much for your money. And why a person who knows enough to be able to cook for others would need their recipes is beyond me. Oh, sure, someone with little or no cooking experience might. But they probably shouldn't be hiring themselves out as a cook, for pete's sake! One more thing about the orgs: maybe they function as matchmakers, bringing together clients and chefs? But once you have the first 1 or 2 clients, like a good caterer you build your business on word-of-mouth.

Jodi, you really do seem to have it together. You've got it: the client pays for the groceries, containers, extras like pantry supplies -- and possibly also your travel (gas & mileage, at some standard rate). AND the client pays you a regular fee. The fee could be hourly, daily, whatever, and covers menu development and approval time as well.

Both the PCs on the panel estimate the grocery costs before they shop (AHA! that's where the costing come in!) and either get the cash upfront or get a blank check or card, as Shroom said. I suppose they build in a factor for higher prices in the estimate if they get cash. Then of course the client must get the receipt (and change, if any).

How often they cook depends on the arrangement they make with the client. The PC whose clients prefer "fresh" (i.e., non-frozen) food goes to them twice a week, for about 1/2 a day each visit. The other one goes weekly or bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the clients' wishes. That's one of the "negotiables" I originally mentioned. Both said they would never, EVER take a client who wanted them to come every day.

My guess is it could be some of each. Maybe they give you a category and you suggest a specific item? Probably not until you are very, very sure of their preferences. Anyway, that's one more negotiable.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #18 of 40

Okay...

Here is an example of what I mean:

"A 10-day supply of dinners for two or a five-day supply for a family cost $350 and includes the consultation for the customized menus, grocery shopping and the preparation of multiple healthy dinners and the preparation of multiple healthy dinners worth celebrating A fee schedule is provided to each client"

This is what one PC charges, that is why I wondered about how the flat fee was calculated. This PC has everything all inclusive, offers a Seasonal Menu to select from and offers to also create a customized menu for the client. How did this PC arrive at what the groceries will come out to, what the labor charge will be for the length of time spent cooking and what the container cost will be? Did they factor in their overall biz expenses (assoc. dues, gas & mileage, equipment costs) into the flat fee in order to be profitable? That is why I was asking about recipe costing for my accounting system. It seemed as if they charge a flat fee and give a breakdown in the contract. BTW this PC claims to provide their own supplies and only uses the clients stove, micro etc. So you can see how I found it confusing.

Jodi
Jodi


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Jodi


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post #19 of 40
Seems you were posting as I was writing Suzanne! :D The reason behind my wanting my basic recipes costed out is because of the many PC sites I visited that only charge a flat fee with a breakdown. I thought that was the way everyone did it. I know most people who do not know much about running a biz would just say "Hmmm, well so and so is charging 250 and so and so is charging 300 so Ill charge 275." That is not the way I want to run my biz!

I have P & L sheets for my household now since having to supply one to Medicaid for my State supplied health insurance. From our 3 months of bank statements they thought we may not qualify. That thing was real depressing to read let me tell you. We actually had this thought that we HAD savings. I mean our bank statement looked ok at the end of the month. What we found out was that our expenses were more than our income and that we weren't saving a penny. The money in the bank was only there to cover an incoming bill. We actually had a deficit!

And I can tell you that whenever I estimated groceries at the supermarket (cause I couldn't remember the actual price and didn't keep receipts :blush: ) the actual cost was always higher than I anticipated. Like thinking Id only have to spend $40 this shopping trip and ending up spending $60!

I also file my own taxes, no CPA here (my mom used to do biz taxes for people so I got that from her). That P & L statement will come in handy when tax time comes around especially when establishing what my expenses were versus my income to see if I made any money or had losses. Saves time to fill one out quarterly than having to run around gathering receipts when tax time comes around and you need to fill out Schedule whatever. When I worked at the Merger's and Acquisitions firm going over P & L statements I got a real inside look at keeping the books. If I plan to charge a flat fee and don't consider my overall expenses, how do I know Im not under selling myself?

Im not sure if Im explaining this right. :(

Jodi
Jodi


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post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 
Well, yeah. Who wouldn't be confused by that? The old "time plus materials" just seems so much easier to me. And I am a big booster of KISS (keep it simple, stupid). If it works for her, fine. But I can't see doing it that way.

That menu from "Entree Nous" looks more like a catering menu. I mean, most of that stuff sounds way too fancy for a simple weeknight at-home dinner. Not that all of it is inappropriate. Just that a lot of people want something only a few levels above a bowl of cereal. Clients have the money to eat that kind of food out; they don't have the time to shop, cook, and clean up, even simple (to us) stuff like stew or lasagna.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #21 of 40
A fellow Kump graduate is now a private chef making loads of cabbage (...groan). ;)

He has done gigs for Jon Corzine who is a senator in New Jersey and other high profile people Felicia Taylor of NBC. He LOVES it. It's great work if you can get steady gigs. He made enough on one gig to pay off a credit card he had been maxed out on.

I think it's a much lower pressure gig than a high-speed restaurant job. Also, you get to flex your creative muscle as a private chef because a great deal of the time, menus at regular restaurants are set. "Special" gigs like vegan and vegetarians really keep the brain pumping with new ideas.

It's a great way to go providing you find a good family/organization that will give you some creative license and has a non-restrictive budget.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #22 of 40
I finally explained it right! Whew, I was starting to get a little frustrated with myself. :D I also prefer to KISS everything. The more you add to something the more potential for something to go wrong.

I like Shrooms idea...which coincided with my original plan. Only Id have a tableau of recipes that I have personally created and used before. (Sorry Shroom, I haven't reached your confidence level yet, but I promise to practice :P ) Those recipes are just for me to "throw" out there to the client after figuring out what their likes, dislikes and diet is like. Ugh! I can talk. :D

I charge em a flat wage for my labor...plus the initial essentials like containers and spices. My recipes are costed out so when I spit out a customized menu for em I know EXACTLY how much they will need to pay for the groceries. My fee for cooking stays the same (takes into consideration a percentage of my total expenses plus labor), the only thing that fluctuates is the grocery bill. I may have a loss the first year but what newly opened biz doesn't? A few steady customers should produce a profit.

Did I tell you my software generates a shopping list complete with prices based on my recipes? Didn't find that out until a few mins ago..and it has an area to input the nutritional info so I know how much salt and how to adjust it. I also found a Small Biz Contact Manager on my computer :eek: I think Ill have to put the database I created in hibernation. :( At least I had fun the whole 2 hours it took to create it in Access. :D


Jodi

PS

This PC's system sounds more feasible. Dinner at Eight, LLC assuming the sample menu is for marketing only.

Shroom,

You have insurance right? How does that work? The ones that keep popping up for special situations seem to offer it to "caterers". The Liability Insurance that is.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #23 of 40
This is the most well planned out PC site I have ever seen!

The Westside Gourmet

My client market are families with reasonable incomes, elderly with reasonable income/pensions, single mommies and your regular everyday working stiff. I need something reasonable and this guy seems to be in the same kind of market area I am. And his food is what your average joe wants! Everything on this site is well stated. I like!
Jodi


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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #24 of 40
ShawtyCat,

I know it's been a while since you were active on this thread but all the posts here have helped me out considerably. Thanks for asking all the questions. At this point, I'm wondering how things were going for you and if you were up and running as a PC. I've noticed in my own research that some PCs have now segued into preparing meals off-site and delivering gourmet meals to clients homes. As I put my PC business plan together, I'm trying to pull from as many experience people and websites as I can. Did you forgo the associations and organizations (I plan to for your very reasons and based on my experience)? Anyhow, would love to hear from you.
Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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post #25 of 40
Well, I started researching the PC part of the industry when I was still pregnant and on bedrest. My son is now 2 months old and my first son will be 2 in a few days. I am waiting for my son to get a little older before starting the physical/cooking phase of the business. So far, Ive gotten halfway through my business plan, typed up my marketing materials, and began costing out a few recipes. I've also decided to get my associates degree from Bergen Community College in Catering/Banquet Management. Personal Chefs do not need to get a culinary degree but I think it is a good investment since this course offers a class in business law, accounting and culinary techniques.

I did more research on the CIA and it is not feasible anymore.....the total cost is here. plus I'd have to move to Poughkeepsie or somewhere in the area. Drag my daughter out of elementary school, find daycare for both my boys and pay for an apartment. Too much money and trouble.

Hmmm..........that reminds me. I have to renew my food safety certificate soon.

By the way, there are more branches of the PC service growing. There is the fresh service where they cook one full three course meal and serve it and the home meal replacement service where they can prepare it in a professional kitchen and deliver it to the family.

Jodi

Edit: I will join the USPCA with their 200 annual dues for the liability insurance. I have searched for insurance and found that many insurance companies will mark you down as a caterer and slap you with big premiums. Better to join an assoc and receive the group discount.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #26 of 40
Thanks for the update, ShawtyCat. Also, congratulations on your new baby! I agree with you about the insurance, it can get very costly outside the associations. How exactly are you costing out your recipes? I'm also a wiz on the computer so I would like to incoporate this into my business. I have a Finance degree with a minor in accounting, I owned a marketing research firm and have been in financial sales for way too long. So I feel I have all the management/marketing skills that I need but my heart is in the kitchen preparing awesome food. I may still go for the certificate or AA in culinary arts but I would need to justify the cost. Perhaps if I choose to take on some catering jobs as well.

Take care, I'm sure you have your hands full!!
Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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post #27 of 40
I've been a personal chef for almost 2 years now, and I actually offer my clients 2 different price plans. One would be fee + food, but generally it's just a one rate thing. For instance, the usual going rate for a family of 2 adults for 2 weeks of food (That's 5 entrees, 4 servings each, plus sides =20 meals) usually runs around $305 for the 2 week service. I change my menu seasonally, and offer about 50 to 75 entees each season. I like this way because I can control the portions, and keep my food cost down. The other way is for people who want to live a little. I charge 225 for a 2 week service this way, plus cost of groceries. This way, the client can have whatever they want. Either way, you're making roughly 200-225 a day profit, after food cost. Not too bad for about 5-7 hours of work.
If God didn't intend for us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.
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If God didn't intend for us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.
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post #28 of 40
Howdy, Chef.

It's been 6 years since I left the Lone Star State but my folks still live in Fort Worth. Thank you for scoop on price/profit. It's one of the areas that concerns me the most. You know the fear of leaving a great-paying but boring corporate job for the passion-filled culinary world. How did you come to choose PCing? I find it very interesting that many great restaurant chefs are now transitioning into PCing. What does that tell y'all?
Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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post #29 of 40
Ive been using an excel sheet from the CIA. Ive been estimating the Yield Percentage column though :blush: but everything seems about right.

Though I am working on my own....

I do plan to ask about the yield percentage part of food costing here though.

Jodi

Off to start that thread.... :D
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #30 of 40

Food Yeild Percentages

Jodi (?)

I've been reading the thread on PCs - the direction I'm also headed in - and I saw your posts about yrild percentages.

2 weeks ago I was a student in Hyde Park and one of the things I did get from the program was the culinary math. As far as the CIA food cost spreadsheet goes, once you look it over you'll notice that there are places where a few simple formulas can make a world of difference... Also the info you're looking for with regards to yields can be found in a book called:

"THE BOOK OF YIELDS" by ChefDesk (www.chefdesk.com)

This was included in our book, knife and uniform kit so I have no idea ow expensive it is, but it is invaluable when it comes to figuring food costs...

Hope this helps.

Bruce

PS - I'd be happy to discuss my experience in Hyde Park with any other career changers out there - especially before you sign an enrollment agreement.
"Old enough to know better, but still young enough not to really care!"
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"Old enough to know better, but still young enough not to really care!"
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