How to Shave Hours Off Your Cook Day

Die Zeit renntYou shouldn’t be spending 7 hours plus on cook days to service your clients if you are servicing only one client on any given day.

If you are, you are probably working too hard for the amount of money you are earning if you are not charging by the hour, and if you are charging by the hour, your clients may be wondering why they are paying for so many hours of your time.  They may not be able to understand why it takes you so long to cook the kinds of meals they are eating.  I have seen this happen.

So no matter which way you charge, it is important to become as efficient as possible when servicing your clients.  If you are able to do this, you’ll also have more time and energy to keep your marketing efforts consistent so that you keep your pipeline full of potential clients and avoid the feast or famine pattern that sometimes occurs as a personal chef.

And if you are a personal chef who consistently services clients in 6 hours or less, you still may find something in the list below that you aren’t doing that can reduce your cook day time even more.  The following efficiency tips were shared by Russ Rhodes of CulinaryWorx who spoke at the United States Personal Chef Conference that I attended last month in Orlando, Florida:

  1. When packing your vehicle, take only what you need
  2. Create a shopping list in the order you walk through your store
  3. At checkout, separate chilled versus un-chilled groceries
  4. Start cooking something as soon as you enter your client’s home – turn on the oven, get the rice cooker going
  5. Make one of the meals an entrée without a side dish, i.e. casserole or stir fry
  6. Make one entrée and side that require no cooking
  7. Have more than one thing cooking at a time
  8. Use a pressure and rice cooker
  9. Use a vegetable chopping device
  10. Place recipes in the order you plan to work on them
  11. Put the recipes right in front of your face as you work
  12. Have all your cooking supplies and ingredients near you so you take fewer steps
  13. Cook with foil or parchment paper so there is less cleaning
  14. Clean and wash dishes as you go
  15. Roll everything back into your vehicle in the order it is stored

So what techniques are you using to minimize the amount of time it takes to service your clients?  Can you add to this list?  Please share in the comment section below.  If everyone shares an idea, everyone will benefit because there will likely be 1 idea for each person that is new and worth trying.

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  1. Shawnette Bellamy-Gibbs says:

    Clear fridge space before hand
    Have reheat instructions pre printed

  2. I also offer my clients the opportunity to review the shopping list to see what they already have at home that they would like me to use.
    This: Shortens my shopping time – I just cross items my list before hitting the aisles
    Reduces their food cost and mine – I don’t have to stock so many spices and this is helpful when you
    are just starting out as you don’t use spices up quickly enough with few clients. Reduces the carrying for you to and from the grocery store

    Check out clients’ cookware and see if it meets your standards for quality cooking and quantity of cookware, if it does ask if the client will allow you to use theirs. This reduces pack in time and shortens your day as well. Just remember to treat it kindly and put it back where you found it.

  3. I take help from the grocery store. There are many high quality products available such as stocks, sauces, and chutneys. I think many people have learned the value of a rotisserie chicken. Great in some many dishes.

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