With the relaxation of some lockdown restrictions in parts of Canada and around the world, for many businesses it can feel like a fresh start, as they reinvent themselves to meet the changing marketplace. For others, it's a bewildering time, where there are more questions than answers.
What businesses can open? How will my business have to change or adapt to this new world? What can I do to remain safe, yet still bring in an income and meet the needs of my clients?
Each province is responsible for choosing their own timeframe and protocols for reopening, so for more detailed and up-to-date information, it is best to refer to your provincial government's website.
Some provinces, such as Ontario and BC, are now allowing personal services such as housekeepers, nannies and cooks to resume work, even though there may be restrictions on limiting contact within households.
Some precautions that health professionals have suggested include:
- avoid sharing airspace with your clients; if you are working in a client's home, try not to work while they are in the same room;
- if having clients leave their house is not an option, your client should self-isolate in another room while you work;
- all tools used, like utensils, pots, sponges, temperature-controlled bags should be disinfected or replaced after each use and between each client;
- keep windows and doors open if the weather permits, as ventilation can reduce the buildup of contamination;
- maintaining proper hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face;
- if using PPEs, proper training (including the fit, use, care, maintenance, cleaning and limitations of the PPE) is required to make their use effective, as mis-using PPEs can render them more dangerous than not having them, as they can provide a false sense of security;
- care should be taken when removing a mask so as not to contaminate one's face while taking it off
The federal government has released millions of dollars in their Covid-19 Economic Response Plan for Canadians and Canadian businesses. For up-to-date information on eligibility for individuals and businesses, go to:
Many of our members and other foodservice professionals have had to adapt in order to succeed in this new world. Here's how some members have adapted...
Culinary Instructors and Personal Chefs who provided in-class (whether in a client's home, a commercial kitchen or other facility) can now offer virtual cooking lessons (e.g. via Zoom) to client's in their communities. Some have partnered with independent grocery stores, farmers and local producers to create classes around what they have to offer, encouraging their 'neighbours' to support local businesses through these difficult times. These 'classes' are covered by the liability insurance.
In provinces that have opened up personal services again, these members have now started to go back to provide their daily/weekly/monthly/ occasional services, but with protocols in place to protect them and their clients. These services are covered by the liability insurance.
As the world embraces food delivery as the new norm, many chefs, caterers, and Personal/Private chefs have moved their focus to meal prep (i.e. boxes of raw ingredients with recipes for clients to follow to create a chef-inspired meal) and prepared meals. Renting an inspected commercial kitchen is a must, and we can easily add these commercial kitchens to your certificate of insurance. Delivery to clients by members or professional food-delivery companies (e.g. Uber Eats, Skip-The-Dishes etc) is included in the insurance coverage.
Whether you are making small batches of jams, jellies, baked goods or salsas etc., this business model is covered by the insurance as long as the items are prepared in an inspected commercial kitchen and the products are sold directly to consumers (not through retail stores or restaurants).
With more people cooking, it can be hard to come up with new and innovative recipes using the ingredients in a typical kitchen. Many Chefs are providing customized meal-planning services to their clients, including plans geared to meet health concerns, weight-loss etc. Consultations with clients are conducted by phone, Zoom, or by email/text.
With long delays for home-delivery of groceries in many areas, and some clients still fearful of leaving home to go shopping, many Chefs have started to provide grocery shopping services for their clients. Clients pay for the groceries either in advance or upon receipt of the goods, along with a fee for the Chef. It's faster than having the grocery stores delivered, and maintains the business-client connection.
- Virtual cooking lessons should have disclaimers to address any possible claims that may arise from clients not following instructions properly, allergies, privacy etc.
- Personal and private chef events includes private events up to 20 people.
- If using your own vehicle to deliver food to clients, you must inform your auto insurance company that you are using the vehicle for commercial purposes.
- If using a commercial kitchen, these usually need to be added to your certificate of insurance as an Additional/Named Insured. This can be done by contacting your Success Manager.
- Any time food is delivered or picked up by clients, there should be disclaimers and terms and conditions in the contract to address allergies, the proper handling of the food before consumption and for cooking/reheating etc.
- Gross annual sales must not exceed $80,000/year
- Canada's Public Health Dept. - Know the facts about coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Canada Revenue Agency - Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19
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NOTE: MEMBERS OF THE CHEF ALLIANCE ARE COVERED BY LIABILITY INSURANCE, WHICH IS INCLUDED IN THEIR MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS.
BACKGROUND: The Chef Alliance is a membership organisation for Personal Chefs, Private Chefs, Chefs and Caterers, Artisan and Cottage Industry food producers and bakers, Home Cooks, Culinary Instructors, Food Stylists, Chef Instructors and other foodservice professionals across Canada. We support our members in growing strong, successful businesses, through mentorship, peer support, marketing, business savings and liability insurance. We have member Chefs in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, Montreal, Quebec City, Vaughan, Markham, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Halifax... and many other towns and cities in Canada.
DISCLAIMER: INFORMATION PROVIDED MAY BE INCOMPLETE. THIS ARTICLE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL, LEGAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE. EACH BUSINESS SITUATION IS UNIQUE AND THE ADVICE PROVIDED IS INTENDED TO BE GENERAL. PLEASE CONTACT A LEGAL OR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL FOR ADVICE THAT IS BEST SUITED FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR LOCAL/REGIONAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AND BY-LAWS.