There are several reasons you may want to make more money as a chef. Business could be rather slow in the restaurant or you are working long hours with very little pay. It’s not the end of the road, but it’s certainly time to do something different. Here are 6 ways that have been tried by most people and one of them could possibly transform your career for the better.
1 – Optimize For Local Search
When searching for your restaurant online, chances are, you may see a few pages that come from social media or local directories. That’s great, but what if people are searching for a specific menu that you serve and don’t know your business name – will your restaurant still show up for terms like ‘Mediteranean seafood near me’ or ‘Indian cuisine in New York’?
If you are not, there’s a lack of online presence in the local searches and that’s why customers aren’t finding your place. In order to optimize for local search terms, firstly, you’ll need to build a small business website that’s both professional-looking and functional.
Use a responsive theme as the design layout so that your site will show up nicely on mobile devices where most local searches come from these days. On the home page, make sure you have the business logo, title and description that targets a specific keyword that you want to rank for.
Next, set up a Google My Business account or claim your business listing if it already exists on Google Maps.
Subsequently, you can create more listings on local directories like Yelp, set up a Facebook business page and also write a blog to increase readership to your website. All these techniques will make your restaurant more visible during local searches and stand out when compared to other competitors.
2 – Start a Food Truck Business
Do you have a specialty that doesn’t quite fit into the conventional restaurant settings? Then you might like the idea of running a food truck business that is more customer-friendly and more personalized in terms of your own culinary taste.
Setting up a food truck is generally cheaper and faster than creating a restaurant or franchise. This makes the food price more affordable and accessible to the public. Due to its mobile nature, you can take the kitchen to wherever that has a hungry crowd like festivals or concerts. With this type of business model, you are totally in control of your own menu and time.
Despite the affordability, the cost of investment could range between $30,000 to $100,000 in which you might require a bank loan. There are also a lot of rules governing the food truck industry such as, where to operate legally, why type of licensing is required for the vehicle as well as the kitchen and so on. In addition, there’s also the weather factor that could easily affect the food sales.
While there seems to be a seasonal up-rising trend in the US for the past 5 years, the food truck business isn’t for everyone. However, if you are aspired enough to face the risk and challenges, then it could become a rewarding entrepreneurial venture.
3 – Cook for Guest From Home
For those who prefer a less commercial approach and love to entertain guests, organizing on-demand meal for a price is a great way to show off your culinary skills and meet new friends. Such events are usually hosted in your own dining space so you are just basically spending on food ingredients and preparation.
This is how it works. You set up a profile, create a unique menu, such as Japanese or Mexican, set a price and list a few dates and time as to when you want to host the event. People who are interested will book for their seats and you’ll cook for a specific number of guests for that particular day.
The experience benefits both parties – you get the opportunity to earn extra money during your free time and foodies get to eat good quality food at a lower price. You can advertise the service through word-of-mouth or submit an application through meal-hosting sites to be reviewed.
Here are some platforms that you can check out and see if they are available in your area.
- Eat With
- Meal Sharing
- Bon Appetour
- Eat Feastly
What I’ve covered so far actually requires you to be physically present all the time in order to generate an additional income. That’s fine if you have a high level of commitment to cooking, but if you are interested in doing something less time consuming using creative technology, here are 3 more ideas to boost your career.
4 – Publish a Cookbook
In the past, only chefs with big names would pursue this project, but now with the convenience of self-publishing platforms which is cheaper and faster, more people are trying it out to build a culinary reputation for themselves. If you have the passion for writing and sharing great recipes, publishing a cookbook is a good way to generate passive income.
First, you need to sit down and plan the content and design of the book. You may also need to hire good designers, food photographers and professional editors to make your work more attractive. The initial planning is the most crucial because it affects the overall quality of the book and if you are inexperienced, it will certainly take a while to compile everything.
With platforms like KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can publish in less than 5 minutes and your book will appear on the Kindle stores within 1-2 days. For eBook sales, you make about 70% in royalties and for paperback, you could earn up to 60%.
Cookbooks are very popular nowadays among foodies and there is a growing number of niche topics that you can write about such as these;
- Canning and Preserving
- Cooking by Ingredient
- Culinary Arts & Techniques
- Natural Foods
- Outdoor Cooking
- Professional Cooking
- Quick and Easy
- Regional & International
- Special Diet
- Vegan and Vegetarian
5 – Teach With Online Courses
Apart from cookbooks, many people are also interested to learn by watching courses. So if you are keen to teach, creating and earning from online courses is another good source of additional income. Likewise, you need to plan what type of content to deliver, prepare recording tools and upload to teaching platforms for people to subscribe.
Udemy is one such place that has more than 90 million visitors per month, so that’s a lot of potential audience we are talking about. While it’s free to host videos, the platform takes a cut when a course is sold. For example, if you rely on their partner program, you make 25% in revenue share, but if you market on your own, your profit could reach up to 97%.
Have a look at what’s happening in other chef’s kitchen and see what type of unique cooking courses you can offer for the foodie audience.
6 – Write a Blog
Blogging is probably not what you would think about as a cook, but there’s actually a lot of benefits to acquiring this skill. Firstly, it’s like creating a professional online profile where you can publish as much as you want about yourself and your work. Within these contents is where the magic happens;
1. Use it as an additional platform to promote your local restaurant, your food truck business or cooking activities.
2. Promote your cookbook or recipes to drive more sales to your Kindle publication.
3. Host your own online courses and build a loyal audience where you can market to in the future.
4. Leverage from YouTube videos (either your own or others) to attract more visitors to your site.
5. Get found on Google when people search for cooking topics, ideas or how-to’s. The more helpful content you publish, the more people will discover about your work.
6. Not ready to create anything of your own? Then, get involved with affiliate programs to earn sales commissions when you refer customers to online retailers that offer cooking products. The Amazon marketplace is one such good example where there are a ton of cooking utensils, ingredients and tools that can be recommended through blogging. You can either write product reviews for each item based on experience or create an affiliate store for easier shopping.
This form of income model requires very minimal investment. All you need is a custom domain and a blogging platform like WordPress and you are pretty much good to go. Give it a try using the free plugin below to launch your first blog if you haven’t already done so.
What’s Your Cooking Inspiration?
There are so many opportunities to make more money as a chef if you think outside of the kitchen. With new markets and products coming up, I encourage you to take up the challenge and see how far entrepreneurism would take you in both the offline and online world.
Even with the slightest inspiration idea, it’s worth the shot. Head over to my recommended training platform to find more about turning your cooking skills into a profitable business. Hope to see you in there soon.
You may also be interested in;