We all know we need to niche down. But, sometimes it’s easier said than done. When you started out in the culinary industry it might have started as a side hustle, cooking for friends or you went to culinary school and wanted to make a go of it as a business owner. You might not have realized this was going to be your path. But you suddenly find yourself with a sustainable business, generating revenue and helping to support your family.
When you begin this next phase of business you have to start thinking about how to distinguish yourself from the competition.
The Personal Chef and Catering industry is a saturated market no matter where you are located. You need to stand out, but you aren’t sure how and where to start.
What does “niching down” really mean and why do you need this? Finding your culinary niche should actually be the easy part. For me, I love Italian food, I love cooking Italian meals and I am passionate about learning and growing in that area.
Your culinary niche is where we will start defining your business. It doesn’t have to be an Ethnic style, it can be anything from Gluten Free, Diabetic, Vegan etc. If you do chose a niche that is “vague” like Vegan cooking you can even take that a step further and narrow down to Vegan Italian Cooking. I am not an expert on Vegan, so I am not sure how to begin cooking that, but that is actually the point!
Think about me as a customer for a minute: Lets say I love all things Italian (because I do!) and I want to host a dinner party for a small group of my husbands colleagues. But come to find out several of them are Vegan and I have no idea where to begin, but I want to impress them and I want to offer something that everyone will enjoy.
Now, if I Google Vegan Italian, thousands of recipes will populate in my search, but very few Chefs that specialize in this. (This is where you need to be creating relevant content so you are referred in your proper niche and location. But this is a completely separate lesson.) Let’s say for the sake of this conversation you come up in this search. I feel a level of trust already because this is your specialty.
This doesn’t mean you don’t also make amazing Vegan desserts, but this is where the confusion can come in because people think they are limiting themselves by getting really zeroed in.
The thing is that you are much easier to refer the more narrow you make your focus. This ultimately leads to better pricing, more trust in your industry and working with your ideal clientele.
Now lets be clear, this type of Vegan Italian niche would have to be marketed in the right location to be at all profitable, but it is just an example.
Becoming an expert in your field is what sets you apart in your niche. And education is actually a key component of this. It seems counter-intuitive to give away things for free, but if you have been in business for any amount of time you have learned that giving things away, will ultimately lead to better sales.
Specifically for the culinary industry, the most obvious give away are recipes! In my opinion it is actually one of the best marketing tools Chefs have at their disposal and its the easiest way to establish your niche!
1. Creates content for you – We all dread keeping content rolling out fresh and exciting. Recipes are a great way to offer new content for your website while at the same time offering something of value to your audience.
2. Builds Trust – I know I already said this, but I want to drive it home. You want and need to build trust with potential clients. Offering recipes you have created that define you in your niche pulls in those potential clients that align with your interests.
3. Encourages interaction on social media – When they use your recipes you can offer incentives your audience to share about their experience not only creating the recipe but how delicious it was!
4. Makes you stand out when they need your services – They already know they enjoy your style and flavor combinations so it makes it easy for them to choose you over another business that may not have their finger on the pulse of exactly what they want.
Another way to niche down is to focus on a specific style or cuisine and then focus on a particular clientele. For example, you could specialize in diabetic cooking for senior citizens. There are so many combinations to choose from, but again you should start with what is most enjoyable to you and what you are most passionate about.
This is the first phase to establishing your culinary brand identity. There is a lot to understand about effectively branding yourself. But by taking action with this first step, we begin to build the foundation which will set you apart both personally and professionally.
Small Dinner Parties
Cooking for seniors
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If you would like to learn more, please inquire at Amanda@AmandaRichardsonPhoto.com or fill out the Inquiry form on our website.