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Adjusting to Marketplace Changes

BY: CHEF Sonia, The Chef Alliance, Posted: August 18 2016

For over 10 years, The Chef Alliance worked with a variety of retail vendors, online vendors, marketing companies and businesses to promote Personal Chef services for member chefs.  This helped hundreds of Personal Chefs build their businesses by introducing them to guaranteed clients.

It seems that every business sector is undergoing dramatic changes these days - from Uber and the taxi industry, to AirBnB and the hotel industry.

The Personal Chef and restaurant industry are no different.  In recent months, we have seen a growing trend in 'home-cooks' trying their hand at selling dinner-time spots at their kitchen table, offering home cooked meals in their own home.  This is the opposite of what a Personal or Private Chef would do by cooking a customised meal in a client's home.

These home-cooks, in most cases, have not had their kitchens inspected by the health department, putting the health and safety of their customers at risk.  

Few home-cooks have had any training in food safety practices or in professional cooking.  They simply enjoy cooking and want to make money for doing something that they would have to do anyway - cook dinner.  The only difference is that they just cook a few extra portions, and get paid to do so.

Since they have few real overheads, they can offer meals at a much lower price-point than restaurants and Personal Chefs.  To an uninformed consumer, this could look like an attractive alternative.

The most concerning fact is that the majority of these home-cooks have no liability insurance, which professional Private and Personal Chefs should have (and all members of The Chef Alliance have as part of their membership fees) in order to protect their clients, themselves and their families.  Many consumers still don't understand the importance of checking that these home-based or pop-up 'restaurants' have the proper insurance until it is too late.  If there was an accident on the premises or there was a case of food poisoning, for example,  in the absence of liability insurance, the cook would likely not have the funds to deal with any claim for compensation.  Even their home insurance would likely not cover claims arising from a business run out of their home.

Until tighter controls are implemented by government to address these marketplace changes and the sale of prepared foods , Personal Chefs and the industry will have to adapt.

To address this emerging competition, for the benefit of our members and the growth of their businesses, we are now encouraging members to market themselves directly to consumers with companies such as Life Experiences and Samba Days*, as opposed to booking jobs through The Chef Alliance.  This will allow members to create unique packages to showcase each individual Chef's talents directly to consumers on well-established platforms.  Chefs can set their own catchment area, their own terms and conditions, and have control of their own price-point.  

Changes will be coming to our online Chef profile websites in the coming months to improve the marketing of professional Personal Chefs.  Our focus will be on helping Chefs reduce their business costs and mentoring and guiding our members, rather than acting as a booking agency.

Please feel free to contact your Success Manager by email should you have any questions. 

*NOTE: Life Experiences and Samba Days and other experiential companies will require their companies to be added to your insurance coverage with The Chef Alliance as a 'named insured.'  It's simple to do and costs nothing more than you're already paying for membership - for further details on how to do this, please contact us.

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