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Making Your Alternatives List

Have you ever run into a client who has such a specialized diet that it takes you to the end of your limits? Sometimes as personal chefs we have to make special considerations for our special needs clientele. Here are some ways to insure you always have an answer to their concerns.

With more and more folks beginning to realize that they have food allergies, it is more important, now more than ever, to make sure you have all of your bases covered for their sake and yours. Here are a few ideas you should use to make sure you stay on top of things.

Prepare for Documentation
As with every successful venture, you want to have a way of logging the things that make sense and work and creating a sound template from it. So first thing is get yourself a journal or a recorder and develop your system of documentation. Set a time daily, weekly or etc. when you do nothing but create questions and a place for those answers. Go over those questions and figure out where you need to go to get those answers.

Sourcing Your Answers
Whereas it's not as important to have all the answers to your present and future clients needs, it is crucial for your own survival to make sure that you know where to go and what to do to get the right answers.

You're not required to be a nutritionist, an allergist, a grower, a researcher, etc. to be a personal chef, but it pays to have an idea of how to get a hold of the information they have at their disposal. The easiest way to do this is to defer to the experts. Develop some good relationships with the professionals outside of your field that can fill in your blanks. When you find that your client has an allergy or food sensitivity it would be a great idea to find out if those allergies to one product can be cause for you to speculate another. Did you know that folk who are allergic to latex may also have an allergic reaction to bananas?

Start asking your connecting professional networks about the things you don't have the answers to and then begin logging your answers.

Debriefing
Once you've gotten your answers, it's important that you make the time to debrief. When you have a set time, that you can take all of the information you've gathered and put it in order, you don't run into becoming overwhelmed with information overload. It's best to do it once per week, if at all possible.

Making Your Alternatives List
Now that you have your information mapped out for you, you can refer back to it to create your alternatives list. Your client may not like or be able to eat cherries, bananas or whatever else. That won't be a challenge for you, because you have on your list many things that can be eaten instead of cherries or bananas. You can make an educated suggestion for some other food item to put in its place that will deliver equal nutritional value and flavor.

Here's a quick template you can use to create your alternatives list:
Food Item:, Allergy Related Foods:, Substitutions:

There you have it. It's a quick and simple way to navigate your clients' needs.

As always, it's been my pleasure sharing these business building principles with you. Until next time...

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