122323 ED – the right way and wrong way to do meal prep services
[00:00:00] You know, calling personal chef services meal prep can be a bit misleading, so I want to clear up any misunderstandings, dive into what it is, what it isn’t, and what it shouldn’t ever be. Hey there, Chef Shelly here. I am a personal chef. I’ve had a successful business for over 15 years and when I’m not cooking for my own clients, I help passionate cooks just like you start your own personal chef business because you can absolutely get paid to cook on your own terms and you don’t have to have culinary school or restaurant experience to be able to do it.
So sometimes when I talk about meal prep, what people think I’m talking about is like one off plates, like setting up a facebook page and on Wednesday putting up posts that say this week I’m making [00:01:00] lasagna, king chicken, casserole and beef tip. Who wants to order I need your orders by Friday at 5 p. m And you end up getting like one person wants one of each and one person wants eight servings of lasagna Or a full pan and nobody wants beef tips that week or whatever So then you shop and make all the food and people I don’t know how they get it when you’re doing it this way.
Are you doing delivery? Are you doing pickup? I certainly hope you’re doing that out of a commercial kitchen if you’re somewhere where that’s what the health department wants you to do, right? So like with this, so each week you’re starting from scratch, you’re deciding the menu, you’re not really sure how many orders you’re going to get, and you’re sending out posts and reminders every week trying to hit your numbers and make your business.
Now, what I mean when I say meal prep is traditionally called personal chef [00:02:00] services. It’s preparing meals for one client at a time. So this would look like you’re cooking for the same client every Monday. You have met with them, you talk all about what kind of foods they love, what kind of foods they hate, if they’re trying to eat healthy, or Anything like that, what they want to see, what they never want to see, if they don’t like onions, if they’re allergic to garlic, all that.
What kind of restaurants do they like to eat at? All the things, right? And from that, you go back to your recipe collection of your specialty, your food style, the things you love to cook, and you give them a list of things to choose from that they’re probably going to like because you’ve gotten all this information from them, right?
So then, the week before, they get to choose what they want to order. So What that does is they get the power of [00:03:00] making the choice. You’re not telling them what they’re going to get, but you’re controlling what they’re choosing from to make sure it’s Things you love to cook, things you know are fantastic, all that good stuff, right?
So, they’ve gotten you their selections for the week and you do their paperwork on Monday, which is their cook day. You do their shopping just for them. You cook the food for them. You pack it up the way they want it packaged in their refrigerator. You clean up and then they pay you. So, the big difference between these two different business models are When you’re doing meal prep the first way, you’re selling food.
It’s a commodity, right? People are literally buying the meals. They’re buying it like they buy pre made meals at the grocery store, or rotisserie chickens at Costco, right? The other kind that I’m [00:04:00] talking about, personal chef services, aka meal prep, It’s a service. It’s a person who works with the client to find out what they want, shops just for them, tailors the food to their taste, prepares it exactly the way they want it.
It’s like having a part time personal or a private chef who prepares the food, but just isn’t at your house all day and serving everything, right? So to be clear there, A private chef is someone who works for one family, cooking for them every day, all their meals, serving the food. A personal chef cooks for one client.
And then a different client the next day, and then a different client the next day. So that’s why it’s kind of like being a private chef for them, but you have multiple clients, multiple families, and your own business. You’re not an employee tied to one family, right? So the personal chef business serves multiple clients, but you’re serving each one [00:05:00] individually as a service.
Now, the difference again that what’s doing your business like this gets you are, you’re able to charge premium pricing because you’re doing a premium service, something they’re choosing that’s customized just for them. You are their personal chef, right, as opposed to the other one where you’re deciding what you’re gonna cook, you’re telling people what they can order, and they decide if they want it or not every week, right?
So, another difference is you have, when you’re taking personal chef clients, a consistent schedule. You know you’re cooking for the Jones family every Monday. You know you’re cooking for the Smith family every Tuesday. You know on Wednesdays, every other Wednesday, it’s It’s the Morton family and the Van Nortwyk family.
And then maybe on Thursdays, you have either an every other week client like you do on Wednesdays. Maybe you have once a month clients, so four different [00:06:00] clients, but that means totally you’re cooking four days a week. eight clients total, but you’re doing that same thing week after week, month after month, right?
Again, when you’re doing the per plate service, you are trying to fill your orders every week so that you can keep that consistent schedule and consistent money. When you are preparing the food for one client at a time, doing personal chef services, you don’t have to worry about inventory. You’re not taking how many orders you got, trying to calculate how much you’re gonna need, figuring out, well, I need ten of these, but I only need to make one of those.
How’s that gonna work? And maybe ending up with too much or not enough and stuff like that. Again, doing a personal chef service, you just get exactly what they need so that you can prepare their food. Again, this all results in that consistency, and it’s just a lot less hustle every week. When you [00:07:00] decide whether you want to do two days a week of personal chef service, four days a week, or whatever, once you get your clients filled, then there’s no more.
marketing. You’ll want to keep yourself out there. You’ll want to run a wait list and stuff, but it’s not like you’re trying to hit your numbers every week and every week you have to get orders, if that makes sense. So it’s just a lot less hustle, a lot more cooking. So it’s tough to start from zero every week, right?
But again, this is your business. You get to decide what you want to offer. I just want to give you some things to think about here. The difference between personal chef service in a personal chef business where you’re working with clients and a meal prep business where you’re taking orders and selling plates full of food.
And it’s more about the number of meals that you’re making to get you where you want to go with [00:08:00] your revenue. So if the personal chef service sounds like something you want to explore more, you want to learn about more, you want to start. practicing so that you can start taking clients. There’s a link right by this video where you can download my free guide, how to do meal prep for paying clients as a personal chef service.
And it walks you through those things like choosing your menus, choosing What recipes work and don’t work so you can start building your recipe collection. The best way and tips for grocery shopping when you’re doing it for clients. Because a lot of this stuff is very different when we’re doing it for ourselves and we’re not, you know, under the gun time wise.
We’re not, like, worried about forgetting something or making a mistake. So, this is the first time we’ve seen a recipe for a steak. We’re going to be cooking a steak because it’s just for us and whatever. At the end of the day, we could do takeout if this recipe doesn’t work out or whatever. When you are doing it for a client, there’s a lot higher standard, a lot more professionalism.
Getting this practice in will really help you. So, you can download [00:09:00] that free guide and it’ll walk you all through it. Then you can decide if that’s the style of business you really want to have because I’m telling you, the clients are out there and they’re hungry for what you’re cooking.