Restaurants are back. Month-to-month data shows that sales in the food and beverage industry have returned and even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. While these figures are somewhat affected by higher prices due to inflation, they also show that consumers are returning to restaurants.
Even with restaurants recovering, some lessons were learned during the pandemic that remain relevant moving forward. One of these lessons is that there’s power in diversifying your revenue streams. As can be seen in examples like The Plating Society, there are many different paths that chefs can take advantage of to drive revenue.
Pivoting to private
One of the most natural shifts for a chef to make may be to move from restaurant cooking to private cooking. Many of the job requirements remain the same, such as creating menus and maintaining a clean and efficient kitchen. It’s the scope that changes, as you’ll be focused on one family instead of a full restaurant’s worth of diners. And, according to chefs who have made the switch, there are other potential benefits, including increased salary, flexible hours and a better relationship with customers.
Of course, while there are benefits, becoming a private chef will likely mean you’ll have to give up restaurant life. For chefs looking to diversify rather than switch, other options may be more appealing.
Branching into retail
Most chefs who have been working in the industry for years have go-to dishes that they know will be a hit with customers. One way to diversify revenue streams is to make these dishes available outside the restaurant and to move into the retail space. Of course, while this path features the benefit of using an existing product, it’s more complicated than simply sending your famous pasta sauce to the nearest grocery store. Experts in this space point to important considerations:
After all, there’s only so much space available in a retail store, especially if your product requires refrigeration or otherwise isn’t shelf-stable. And, for some chefs, it may be wise to avoid stores altogether and focus on direct-to-consumer sales through your restaurant’s website or social media channels. Either way, while this can be done in tandem with running a restaurant, it is another business venture and needs to be treated as such if you want it to be successful.
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Leveraging knowledge through consulting
Running a restaurant is hard work. It requires long hours on your feet in high-stress situations. It calls for diplomacy as you navigate the needs of a diverse customer base and deal with customer complaints. Unsurprisingly, chefs who manage to succeed in restaurants are prized for their skills and knowledge. One way you can leverage this knowledge is by moving into chef consulting.
Chef consultants help restaurant owners and other chefs with just about every aspect of their businesses, including:
- Menu Creation
- Business Optimization
- Food Safety
The average chef consultant’s salary is around $76,000 a year, so it’s no wonder many chefs look to consulting as an option. It can be used as a supplement to your restaurant work or as a potential career transition.
Get the tools you need with Square
These are just some ideas that chefs use to diversify their revenue streams beyond traditional restaurant work. No matter the path you take, you need tools to help your new venture succeed. Looking at The Plating Society as an example, we can see how the Square ecosystem of tools can help your new venture succeed while utilizing the same technology you’re familiar with from your restaurant:
- Invoicing and payment tools make sure that all your bills get paid on time — and that you do too.
- Keep track of your schedule so you can take full advantage of every opportunity and still manage your time and avoid overbooking.
- Options for automation enhance your marketing reach, take tasks off your plate, and still maintain a personal touch.
Starting any new venture is both exciting and challenging. By making sure you have the best tools at your fingertips, you can hit the ground running and scale quickly as your business grows.