Guest Author - Jason Hodge
There's nothing like helping your fellow chef and chefs-in-the-making by offering them the opportunity of getting on the job training under the umbrella of your personal chef business. Let me explain...
Personal chefs, as with any other new business oftentimes run into a 'Catch 22'. When it comes to picking up new and / or high end clients they can't get the job; because they don't have the experience. They can't get the experience because they can't get the job that will give them experience needed to get the job.
You can create a win-win scenario right now by offering apprenticeships. Here's three things off the top that should tell you that it's a great move and great way to increase your bottom line.
1. You build your network
2. You increase your productivity and multiply the clients you can take on in one day
3. You create alternate income streams
Building your network
As you take on apprentices, you create a growing network of professionals who become familiar with your way of doing things and likewise you become familiar with theirs. The more chefs you apprentice over time the larger your community of trusted professionals becomes for future endeavors. Building your own network of chefs affords you a better opportunity to diversify and say 'yes' to whatever type of cheffing contract that comes your way. Farther reach, larger variety and the ability to design new business models where you can profit from the strength of your network are all paved roads apprenticing allows you to travel.
Increasing your productivity and multiplying the clients you can service in one day
Although you may be quite proficient in the kitchen cutting and prepping your ingredients for incorporation into your clients' menus, you can get a lot more done when you have apprentices handling the tasks you've delegated to them. It could mean the difference between four to six hours at a client's house or one to two. Can you imagine the possibilities with this model? Two to three apprentice personal chefs all being trained to work in harmony to produce excellent quality food in a third or a quarter of the time!? This means that you are free to comfortably take on more clients and/or services in a day, along with boosting your bank account.
Creating alternate income streams
You can charge for an apprenticeship. It's not unreasonable, so long as you're adding tremendous value. They're paying for the opportunity to shadow you in a real job and learn the processes and modifications to the book information on cheffing they may have gotten when they were becoming a chef. They get to see how it all comes together in a real life client relationship and build their professional portfolios with every job they work on with you.
Collect finder's fees from clients you match up with these chefs. Your recommendations of chefs who've apprenticed under you would carry more weight. You had the opportunity to mentor them and witness their work ethic, expertise, attention to detail, speed and execution. You take all the guesswork out of it for the would-be client. That's a service that could cut down on the hit-and-miss approach many new clients go through. It's a valuable time saver that folks would be willing to pay for.
Create meet and greet food events hosted by you and your fellow chefs to promote your businesses, train your apprentices on how to organize the event and let it generate new clients.
All in all this doesn't begin to scratch the surface of how apprentices can grow your business, but it does give a good snapshot of it. Just keep in mind that you are showing them the ropes. By the time they finish working with you, they should know how to run their own successful personal chef businesses, start to finish, on every level, from the creative to the administrative, while continuing to think outside the box. This is more than just getting free labor that pays you to work. It's a structure for a win-win relationship. Give your apprentice everything you've got that will help them run a successful business, treat them fairly, help them tweak their processes and connect them with some of your contacts to get their careers started and then start it over again with a new set of apprentices. Over time you'll have a Rolodex full of professional personal chefs who are raving fans of yours and who you can call upon to help pull off one of your big events. If you haven't yet booked a big event for fear of not being able to handle it... with your network of seasoned, familiar professionals, big jobs won't need to phase you anymore. CALL YOUR NEW FRIENDS!
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing these business building tips with you. Until next time...