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Personal chefs are no longer exclusive for the privileged. Personal chefs are being hired by busy people to prepare meals for later consumption, to bring ready-to-eat meals, or to cook for the rare dinner party. The catering sector has expanded by more than 40% in the previous decade, driving up demand for personal chefs. 

If you’re a good cook, you could start your own personal chef business and assist busy people eat healthily while riding this growing wave and generating a nice livelihood. 

However, before you bring out the pots and pans, you must first comprehend the business side of things. Fortunately, this step-by-step tutorial covers everything you need to know to start a profitable personal chef company.

Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?

Positives Vs Negatives

Share Your Passion – Impress others with your culinary abilities.
Flexibility — Run your business from home and establish your own hours.
People are willing to pay a premium for high-quality meals.
Required abilities – Must be a culinary expert.
Strict Rules – Food and health licenses and permissions may be required.

  • Sector size and historical growth – The catering sector in the United States is expected to be worth $16 billion in 2022, after rising by more than 40% in the previous decade.
  • Forecasted growth – The catering business in the United States is expected to increase by 4.1% in 2022.
  • Number of enterprises – In 2022, the United States will have 144,560 catering businesses.
  • The catering sector in the United States will employ 295,017 people in 2022.

Cost of Starting a Personal Chef Business

You could manage the business from home, or you could hire out a commercial kitchen and handle more business with the assistance of sous chefs. Personal chef startup expenses range from $2,000 for a home-based company to $8,000 if you rent a kitchen. 

Investment Items:

  • Kitchen equipment 
  • Pans and pots
  • Utensils for cooking
  • Materials and containers for packaging

Is Personal Chef Business Profitable?

Personal chef services are typically priced per person and are based on the cost of the cuisine. You should aim to mark up your food prices to reach a 70% profit margin. These calculations will be based on an average per-person lunch cost of $30. This number may be higher for dinner gatherings. 

You could work from home for the first year or two and make 10 meals for four people per week, earning $62,000 per year. Assuming a 70% margin, this would result in a profit of about $44,000. As your firm grows, you may expand to 40 meals for four individuals each week. At this point, you would rent a commercial kitchen and recruit employees, lowering your profit margin to 30%. Even with a $250,000 yearly income, you’d still generate a comfortable $75,000 profit.

Entry Barriers

  • The culinary expertise you require
  • Getting your first few consumers to like and trust you

Step 2: Create a Strategy

Identify a Gap

Examine the services, pricing, and customer reviews of personal chef firms in your region. You’re aiming to fill a market void. Perhaps the local market lacks a professional personal chef who creates kosher meals or vegan cuisine, or a personal chef service that prepares fresh meals in clients’ homes. This might kickstart your word-of-mouth marketing and immediately attract clients. 


  • There are several methods to do business. You can transport prepared food to clients’ homes, make fresh meals in their kitchens, produce meals that can be frozen, or give personal chef services in their homes for dinner parties. 
  • You might also provide full-service catering. In any situation, you should collaborate with your customers to develop meal plans that are tailored to their preferences and dietary restrictions or demands.


Personal chef services are normally priced per person and vary according on the cost of the food, ranging from $15 to $45 each dinner. You should aim to mark up your food prices to reach a 70% profit margin. 

Once you’ve determined your expenses, you can use this profit margin calculator to figure out your mark-up and final pricing points. Keep in mind that the pricing you use at launch should be subject to modify if the market warrants it.

Target Market

Your target market will most likely consist of more established individuals, whom you may discover on Facebook or LinkedIn. You might also try to discover corporate clients on Google or Yelp and call them directly. 


To cut costs in the early stages, you may choose to manage your business from home. However, if your company expands, you will most likely need to hire employees for various tasks and may need to rent a commercial kitchen. Commercial space for rent in your region may be found on sites like Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When selecting a business facility, you should consider the following guidelines:

  • A central position that is easily accessible by public transportation
  • Natural light and ventilation
  • Lease that is flexible and may be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use area that requires no substantial upgrades or repairs.

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

Every company need a strategy. This will serve as a manual to help your business through the launch process while keeping you focused on your primary objectives. A business plan also helps potential partners and investors understand your company’s mission and vision:

  • Executive Summary: A brief summary of the full business plan that should be produced when the plan is completed.
  • Business Overview: A description of the organization, including its vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services: Provide detailed descriptions of your offers.
  • Market Analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate market trends such as variances in demand and development potential.
  • Analyze your top rivals’ strengths and shortcomings, then produce a list of the benefits of your services.
  • Sales and marketing: Investigate your company’s unique selling propositions (USPs) and create sales, marketing, and promotional plans.
  • Management Team: A summary of the management team’s functions and professional backgrounds, as well as a corporate hierarchy.
  • Procurement, office location, critical assets and equipment, and other logistical aspects are all part of your company’s operating strategy.
  • Financial Plan: A three-year financial plan that includes initial expenses, a break-even analysis, profit and loss predictions, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
  • Include any extra financial or business-related papers as an appendix.

Step 3: Create a Marketing Plan

Casual web visitors will contribute to some of your revenue, but you should still spend on digital marketing! It is extremely vital for new businesses to spread the word since it increases consumer and brand recognition. 

After you’ve launched your website, connect it to your social media profiles and vice versa. Because you can generate compelling posts that sell your items on social media, it is an excellent tool for promoting your business: 

  • Facebook: A fantastic paid advertising network that allows you to target certain demographics, such as males under the age of 50 in the Cleveland region. 
  • Instagram has the same advantages as Facebook, but with a different target demographic.
  • Website: SEO will help your website rank higher in relevant search results, which is critical for driving sales. Make certain that your website’s calls to action are optimized. Experiment with the content, color, size, and position of calls to action, such as “Book Now,” to see if you can improve sales significantly. 
  • Google and Yelp: Getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be critical to creating awareness and consumers for businesses that rely on local clients.

Kickstart Marketing

Increase awareness of your services and promote your brand by utilizing your website, social media presence, and in-person events. Here are some ideas: 

  • Distribute fliers in your community.
  • In-Person Sales – Provide personal chef services to local companies. 
  • Send out frequent emails to consumers and prospects. Make them unique to you. 
  • Start a blog and post regularly. Alter your material and distribute it across numerous platforms.
  • Seek recommendations – Provide incentives for customers to refer new clients. 
  • Paid social media advertisements – Select sites that will reach your target audience and run targeted ads.
  • Pay-per-click marketing entails using Google AdWords to improve search engine performance. First, conduct keyword research.
  • Pay people with huge social media followings to advertise your personal chef services through influencer marketing. Micro-influencers with lesser followings and cheaper prices are available.
  • Create a podcast to interact with your consumers on a more personal level.
  • Testimonials – Include consumer feedback on how your personal chef services aided them.
  • Make infographics and integrate them in your content.