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I want to be the Casserole Queen!


lizztwozee
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Greetings, all. I had my own Personal Chef biz in 1999, and was shut down after not being able to find an up-to-date coded kitchen to work out of (I was working out of a rental kitchen that had been licensed at one time, but not recently). I made two-course, fresh meals and ran them around to my customers twice weekly, chiilled. What a dream! I had lots of business, even in the pre-Personal Chef years, when people had no idea what it entailed.

Since I will be put on part-time from my full-time advertising job soon, I want to resurrect this idea, but with a twist. So my question is about pricing. I'll offer bread, soup, and a casserole/quiche/stew kinda thang every week, and deliver it fresh to your home, for as many diners as you wish. Does this sound crazy? I'm guessing I can get $3 for a 1-lb loaf of bread (see pics below, it's my passion!), and $10 per serving for the casserole/quiche/stew idea, but am stumped on the quart or pint of soup pricing. I'd like to be able to offer a set price, to keep things simple, and they should include delivery. I've located a kitchen, which is unused on Mondays, in a downtown coffee shop -- I haven't negotiated a price yet, that's another pricing idea I'd like input on! Any ideas? Your input as professionals gratefully acknoweldged, thanks! --Lizzbreads.jpg

Lizz

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"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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I'd take a look at what your local supermarkets, medium to high-end, are selling pints of soup for and go maybe a dollar higher. Last time I checked, IIRC, my Safeway had deli pints for $5.99. I understand that your soup will be better, without the preservatives, artificial flavors, binding agents, etc. But, the supermarket is probably your main competition for this customer. (unless you're trying to get clients who send the maid out to the market)

Prices vary by region, and I live in a fairly pricey area compared to say, the midwest, but, to me, your bread appears to be worth a lot more. Local markets here get about $6 for similar breads. -And, I must say that your bread looks great!

Good luck!

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I think Lisa has a good strategy for determining a fair price for your soups, and I also agree completely about the bread pricing: I would think that you could fetch more like $5/loaf (or higher, depending on the bread) for fresh, high-quality bread delivered to your door.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks all, for your input! I've often thought a good gauge of how a personal chef service would work in a certain location is what kinds of stores are in the area; Dollar Stores, or Pottery Barn? In my area, there are more Dollar Stores, unfortunately! But the population is in place that will support my idea, I'm convinced; I just need to find the right vehicle for communication, and get in there. Facebook has been phenomenal so far! And thanks for the bread feedback; I kinda got lucky with this batch, I have to say. Practice makes perfect! --Lizz

Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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I'm curious -- are you thinking of the bread, soup and casserole/quiche/stew presented as one meal? The reason I ask is that although I think all three things are great to offer, I'm not sure that they make up an ideal meal. That is, if I had stew and bread, I wouldn't want soup as a first course. (Same with a casserole.) I'd want some kind of salad to balance it out.

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No, I was thinking of each component of my service as something to go with a dish you'd make, or an easy one-course meal; the bread might be offered as a free gift if you order both items. Personal Chef services traditionally don't offer a whole meal, what they might call a "meal" would be a chicken stew and bread, for instance, but not the whole enchilada, vegetables, etc. so to speak. So my goal is to get people to think of my service as a more affordable portion of a larger, more expensive dinner service, where you'd order 20 or so "meals", for a total of say, $325.00. My abbreviated service could be four casseroles and four soup servings for say, $52.00. It's only a few dollars away per serving from the full service, but you could order a smaller amount.

Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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  • 1 month later...

As far as possible, please keep your numbers mentally friendly for your prospective clients. Thus, in the example above, 4 casseroles + 4 soups = 8 portions = $64 = $64/8 = $8/portion is more "accessible" to a customer than $52. Then,you add, 1 loaf bread, FREE, value $6, and you come out ahead, in their eyes & in yours (hopefully).

Owner draw:

Car, gas, repair, depreciation, insurance on car & business, your time delivering/shopping/cooking, Social Security the you pay as a small business owner, all will begin to mount up.

What will be your break even point? The number of customers to break even, taking the above into account, will sort of determine your pricing and even the types of foods you can afford to serve. We have to work BACKWARDS from the BREAK EVEN POINT, & OWNER DRAW, not from EMPIRICAL PRICE POINTS decided in advance.

What income are you seeking, how many hours are you planning to work, & how many customers [& of what income level] do you believe you can attract, are going to decide your pricing.

Please pardon me from emphasizing what you already know well, but the pricing mechanism must be able to integrate within itself all the hundreds of costs involved, from fuel, to disposables to detergents, or anything else on which you may have to spend money, time & effort!

A small home business like this rarely fails through the absence of technical prowess or capability. It is by not thoroughly anticipating the roles of invisible animals like cash flow, and other traps laid by money that the owner is driven up the wall.

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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