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August 28, 2014

The Private Chef Guide – 10 essential points to present attractive menus

Today, the La Belle Assiette team offers some tips and rules to guide you with the creation of your menus.

private chef guide

Dear Chefs, after offering an in-depth explanation on the best practices for a successful La Belle Assiette profile, the team will today complement the Private Chef Guide with this new article which presents the essential rules to respect in order to create attractive and optimized menus.

Creating your menus is a very important step in managing your profile. This guide in its entirety will help you succeed in your menu presentations, with three main purposes:

  • To inspire customers and encourage bookings on your profile
  • Avoid errors in calculating your margin
  • Facilitate bookings on your profile directly on the website

The team gives you the ultimate guide for the creation of a set of successful menus. Are you ready? Go!

 

  • Rule 1: Regularly renew and adjust your offer with seasonal menus

It is essential to keep your menu list up to date. Leaving a “Winter Menu” available in June show the client your lack of attention in regards to your menu offers. Be sure to regularly update your menu list. By relying on seasonal ingredients, create new menus, relying on the 12 months of the calendar or on the 4 seasons. By offering menus like “June Menu”, “Flavors of Summer”, “Easter Cuisine” or “Mother’s Day Menu”, you answer the immediate needs of the customer, while also showing them your ability to adapt. Moreover, you encourage your existing customers to come to you to take advantage of new discoveries!

 

  • Rule 2: Offer a variety of services

This rule will of course depend on your different skills, but customers of La Belle Assiette will not only look for a “classic” private chef dinner event. Cooking classes, brunches, cocktails, the requests are also numerous on these services. Do not hesitate to create dedicated menus if you have the ability to provide these.
However, if you do not want to put these types of menus online, you can still create them in private. Our sales team will be well aware of your ability to provide such services.

 

  • Rule 3: Introduce several price ranges

Guests of La Belle Assiette have widely varying budgets. In order to satisfy the greatest number, do not hesitate to offer several price ranges, of course, always aligning them with your capabilities. Start with a fairly simple rate of £30-£40 for 6 people, then offer other menus by adding extras, nobler products and more elaborate dishes gradually increasing your prices. Ideally, and if your experience allows, you can provide menus in all of the following ranges: £30-£40, £50-£60, £70-£80, £80 and more.

In a more chronological way, we strongly advise you to provide menus in the lower ranges at the time of your registration as a Chef. This will promote bookings on your profile, which will result in more credibility for you as Chefs, through the comments and feedback posted by clients. After this, you can then submit menus in the higher price ranges. Indeed, it is rather difficult for the average customer to purchase a menu at £80 per guest on a profile that has not even been reviewed yet, the opinions of former clients being a determining factor when booking.

 

  • Rule 4: Choose a number of coherent menus: neither too much nor too little

It is important to provide diversity in your menus, both in terms of the services offered, and the prices and products. However, depending on your expertise, having too many menus can be confusing for the customer, while having only a few of them also limits the possibilities of booking. If you only offer “conventional” lunches or dinners, introduce 4-6 menus. Then for each type of additional service (brunch, cocktail, appetizer buffet, cooking class…), you can offer 1 or 2 menus. Ensure that you do not exceed a dozen of menus, or your profile would quickly become unreadable.

 

  • Rule 5: Adjust your price to the number of guests

When creating your menu, La Belle Assiette lets you choose the price you want to charge on it depending on the number guests. When setting your price, two essential details should not be ignored:

– Remember to introduce volume discounts depending on the number of guests.

– Beyond 8-10 people, you will most likely need additional staff to deliver. In this case, think about introducing this cost in the menu. Put simply, a seamless service MUST be included in the menu price.

private chef guide

AN EXAMPLE OF A PRICE LIST FOR A COHERENT PRIVATE CHEF DINING. THIS EXAMPLE ALSO INCLUDES HIRING A BUTLER TO SERVE 10 PEOPLE OR MORE.

It should also be noted that no price should be written in the body of the menu! However, if you want to suggest a pre-dinner cocktail in your menu as an add-on for example, do not specify a price. Instead, write “add-on, on request from La Belle Assiette.” The sales team will then contact you to learn about your prices and forward them to the client.

Finally, for Chefs that specialize in cocktails, be sure to offer volume discounts on a large number of guests! Indeed, if it seems appropriate to offer the same price per guest for 8 or 20 guests for a “Private Chef Dining” event, for a cocktail event, the price per guest for 20 guests should be lower than for 8 guests. The constraints are effectively quite different and the cocktail format is better suited to serve a large number of guests.

 

  • Rule 6: Adopt the right menu templates

Some of you enjoy offering a number of choices in their menus. To do this, simply create a standard menu, and after creating a first static page, the ability to click on “Add a new “multiple option” section” appears.

the private chef guide

You can offer several choices for each element, as in the following example.

private chef guide

The selection of items allows the customer to choose a dish for one or more menu items then book the chosen menu directly on the site.

Be careful, many Chefs still use the static pages to offer choices. This practice poses two major problems.

First, if the chief mentions each dish before the word “or”, the client will deduce that they has a choice. However, as they will not be able to book the menu directly on the website, they must necessarily go through the concierge. This poses a malfunction.

Worse, some Chefs offer choices in their menus, without explaining it.This can be a real problem, since the customer may believe that when reserving the menu, these three desserts will be included.

So be sure not to reproduce this case and to consider using the “multiple option” sections!

 

  • Rule 7: Create themed menus to offer a singularity

All the menus you create are usually based on an idea, an inspiration… In fact, they are all “themes.” However, these themes can be very diverse and many are forgotten! They can be temporal (heirloom vegetables, return to childhood…), geographic (native city, region, country), graphics (using only one color…), centralized on a product (chocolate, pepper, tomato…) or even centralized on the types of products (spices, seafood, vegetarian menus…). Our Chef Virginie Legrand even offers an “Upside down taste buds” menu with a savory flat cheesecake, a sweet dessert gazpacho and mustard in chocolate appetizers!
In addition to providing a unique service as a private Chef, also offer a unique culinary experience that will amaze your clients.

 

  • Rule 8: Stand out with names of original menus

The names of your menus are not to be overlooked! Indeed, the “Gourmand Menu” and other “Discovery Menu” to name a few, are present in large numbers on La Belle Assiette. Thus, avoid names such as “Menu 1” or “Menu 2”. Prefer original names that will attract attention and will be easier for customers to remember and associate to what they want: “The Basque Menu”, “Fusion France-Japan”, “Chocolate Therapy Menu” or “Stopover in Scotland » are good examples.

 

  • Rule 9: Propose appetizers, sweets and other add-ons in your menus

These add-ons that you include in your menus make the difference. Appetizers, sweets, coffee, cocktail appetizer, digestives and other surprises particularly appeal to customers. In general, we can observe that the type of menus containing add-ons are booked more often than the others! So even using when using simple products, do not hesitate to bring that little extra touch.

But the add-ons can also leave the culinary world. A table decoration is always welcome. A small bouquet of flowers for a romantic dinner will delight your customers and bring a little more to perfect a romantic evening. Unleash your imagination for the surprise!

 

  • Rule 10: Give your dishes representative and attractive names

The name given to your meals is very important. For the same dish, having two different names can cause negative effects on the client. Here are some tips to give names that embellish your dishes, and never lie about their compositions:

– Avoid obscure and mysterious dishes headings, customers want to know what to expect! Opt for complete and descriptive names for the dishes.

– For your products, focus on the noble names. For example, the word “fowl” should be preferred to the word “chicken”.

– If you have any specialties, feel free to mention them! Customers generally show more interest in the dishes you consider your specialties.
If you place one of your favorite desserts on a menu, why not add “Chef’s Special…” before the title of your dish? This may be a way to stand out and showcase your expertise!

– And above all, watch out for spelling mistakes! This is clearly unacceptable for most customers of La Belle Assiette.

 


That’s it for this long but essential post about the creation of your menus. The team is of course at your disposal for any questions. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments or contact us directly. See you soon for the next article of our Private Chef Guide!

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