I need help with the business side of cooking.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by thaooaishat, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. thaooaishat

    thaooaishat

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Hello, I within the past month and a half I had friends over for dinner and prepared a wonderful vegan meal. As a result they would like me to prepare vegan meals for them, 2 lunches and 2 dinners with the occasional dessert. This is so exciting for me but brand new for both of us. I have a passion for cooking and good quality food, I haven't gone to culinary school but I am an experienced cook. Because I have never done anything like this before I don't know what my title would be, I am unsure of what an hourly rate is best etc. I was thinking of $20 an hour. I am sure there are threads with the answer to my question but I just wanted to put it out there. I am feeling blessed for this opportunity and just want to approach it the best way.
     
  2. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    That is a wonderful compliment to your cooking----

    However,I think that you will find that as a 'business' you are not ready.

    With only 2 customers you must divide your labor and over head by those two customers---

    That's going to be to pricy for even wealthy people----Now if you could come up with 30 or 40 customers---your cooking time will be similar,but divided by 30 or 40---much more likely to work.

    Most caterers have a minimum sized group that is practical to service.

    labor----materials----overhead and profit--equals selling price---
     
  3. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    158
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Have to disagree with MikesWoods, personal chef work can be very profitable with 5-10 clients, give Candy Wallace, Executive Director

    American Personal & Private Chef Association
    4572 Delaware Street San Diego, CA 92116
    Tel: 800-644-8389 / 619-294-2436
    Email: [email protected]

    a call or email.
     
  4. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Perhaps I miss understood the members intentions---As a chef for hire for an event or meal---this could work. Paid hourly it will make no difference the size of the gathering---

    I assumed the member was going to prepare meals at home for two customers for pick up or delivery---If that is the case --then my comments are correct---

    Let me reread the post--------Mike-----
     
  5. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    You may be right----Hourly wage was mentioned----if travel time is included,perhaps this would work.
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    158
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    IMHO, personal chefs are far better off working for $/job rather than $/hr. A personal chef is business, not an employee! A personal chef does cook, but they also market their services, keep the books, develop menus and meal plans, shops for groceries and foodstuffs, pay for insurance, etc.

    In my business as a personal chef, my MINIMUM charge for a cook day is $350, roughly $50/hr for 7 hours.

    For that, I develop a menu/meal plan, shop, prep, cook, package/serve, and cleanup and all the cooking takes place in the client's kitchen.

    What I cook varies and is the client's choice, from five meals that serve four persons to an intimate five/six course private dinner for 2, 4, or even six. In all cases, the client pays for all food and beverages separately, and that cost varies with the menu selections. Generally, for the typical five meals serving four persons, the cost per serving is in the neighborhood of $22.50-$30.00, somewhat equivalent to an upscale restaurant.

    A personal chef is not an HMR service nor a caterer. It is the equivalent of a private chef with multiple clients.

    As MikesWoods pointed out, a caterer depends on higher volumes to spread the labor and overhead costs.
     
    mikeswoods and flipflopgirl like this.
  7. thaooaishat

    thaooaishat

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Thank you so much for your knowledge. I am taking it all in and will be calling the number you provided. If you all think of anything else I am appreciative.
    Aishat
     
  8. amorgan

    amorgan

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Hello I have a similar situation to the original post for this forum I would love any input that can be offered

    I started a meal prep business w/ a business partner in June 2017, in July we began trialling two friends that will remain our clients. The way we have been functioning is the clients pay us and order on Friday by 11:59 pm and then we prepare the meals on Sunday when they are also picked up. We cook at home currently but are aware that we will have to branch off to a commercial kitchen once things become official. Thus far we haven't put any money into the business aside from marketing for a logo, a food scale and our initial containers.
    My issue is figuring out how to pay our selves. We are charging $84.00 for 7 meals and 5 meals for $60.00 with a small order fee of 5.00 as the smallest option available.
    Also another issue that has come up is how to preserve the quality of our meals for the clients, we have had them freeze 4 of the 7 meals to eat later in the week but it has altered some of the foods

    Ideally I would like to resolve these issues before opening up to new clients.

    I would appreciate any advice for the business and how to pay ourselves reasonably.
     
  9. chefbuba

    chefbuba

    Messages:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    480
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Don't know how you would pay two reasonable salaries from $12 head unless you were doing large volume.
     
  10. cronker

    cronker

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    Restaurant Manager
    I have had this come up recently.
    I'm not even close to being a professional chef, but I'm a good home cook.
    Because I work in the industry, and have been twenty years in, I have learned a ton from my chefs.
    I cook at home, but because there is only two of us to feed, there is always a substantial amount of leftovers. These are packaged up and go to my partners brothers home - he is a single father.
    Recently, word got around that my food is good and now I have other people enquiring about cooking for them.
    I have to be very careful because we have laws against selling food without expensive licenses.
     
  11. jimyra

    jimyra

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    162
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Stop Now! Get all the licenses, permits, insurance, and inspections you need to operate legally. Your clients pick them up and some meals are not consumed for seven days? That is food borne illness just waiting to happen. Go to the health department and find out what you need to do. Then you can work on a business plan to make money.
     
    amorgan, drirene and Cdp like this.
  12. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,697
    Likes Received:
    363
    Exp:
    Former Chef

    I don't believe that cooking at home for resale is legal unless you have a kitchen that's been approved by the health department.
    Also I run a similar business cooking for people in their homes. Sometimes it's a intimate dinner for 2 and sometimes it's a clan. I also prepare food for later consumption. It that case I work out a menu with food that freezes well or I simply only cook 3 days ahead and leave re-heating instructions. Either way it's knowledge of the food your cooking that will help decide what menus to make.
    If the client requests an item YOU KNOW will not freeze well, consider placing it on the menu where you won't have to.
     
    amorgan likes this.
  13. cronker

    cronker

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    Restaurant Manager
    Yep, that's why I'm not doing it.
     
  14. amorgan

    amorgan

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    thanks for all the feed back! Very helpful