Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Have you ever cheffed a party where more folks popped in than you planned? I've done a number of them. Do you rigidly stick to your agreed upon numbers or do you adjust and turn an inconvenience into opportunity? Here's what I mean.
Consider this... It takes you way more to market and advertise your business on the slim chance that folks are going to see your ads and say to themselves... "Hey, that add makes me want to eat their food!" and give you a call to hire on your services than it does to sample feed an extra 10, 20, 30 or 100 people even in an event. On the one hand, you're trying to reach a crowd, with words and pictures, who haven't tasted your food, and wanting them to take a chance on you and the fact that you actually know what you're doing. On the other hand you've got the folks in the door salivating at your proverbial table and they now know that you can do your magic in the kitchen and they're clamoring for more.
Usually, when it comes to food, folks are more apt to go by personal experience or a warm contact referral to pre-qualify your services than to take those shot-in-the-dark chances. So the next time you're doing an event maintain a certain level of marketable flexibility to payoff big in your near future. Don't let them down because you're being a stickler for protocol and pennies. This could be your cash cow with all of the business you can generate with a new set of taste buds to tantalize!
Here's how you can plan for your future clients:
1. Develop your list of tasty, quick to fix items, you can throw together on a moment's notice that offer the best of what you do in bite sized portions. Puff pastries, rolls, crackers and wraps are great for this purpose: great look; bite sized portions; easy to stuff; etc.
2. Have a default menu item or two that you can roll, wrap or stuff. The last event my wife and I did was a hoot. We defaulted to our extras and made a tapenade spread for the lavash pieces we had as a part of our 'over' preparing, some stuffed items, finger foods, etc. It went over very well and we ended up with 7 more warm contacts out of the deal and requests to do their events. 3 weddings, 2 parties & 2 more mixers[Quick math... all in all the extras cost us around $50 more and it netted us over 700% [closer to 1000%] increase in business... Not to mention the folks who heard about the mixer and have since asked the host to get them our contact info. [Was it worth it to have extras for the 'still hungry'? You better believe it!]
3. Always put it all into perspective. You spend a great deal of time, effort and money to build your business. So don't blow it on sticking to the fine letter of your agreement. Yes do the agreed thing, then overdo. You've heard of the term: Under promise/Over Deliver? Here's your prime opportunity to make that work for you.
4. Always have cards on hand for those who want to take advantage of your services after seeing your performance at the event you're cheffing.
Ultimately, your clients want to be sure and assured that you're going to take good care of them and their guests. Your job once they hire you on is to make them look good. So what if it's a little above what you both agreed on. The extras only show that you're willing to leave them satisfied, not only in their stomachs, but in their reputation. You look ahead and cover the things that they miss and create a seamless offering of great food, professionalism and foster a desire for them to want to share your talents with others. That again makes them look good.
Always remember to take full advantage of your warm markets, not from what you can gain, but what you can give. When you do this, you will always come out ahead.
Once again, it's been my true pleasure to share with you tips to grow your personal cheffing business. Until next time...