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Getting Started in Restaurant Consulting

It's an interesting time to be involved in this type of work, to say the least. Just out of the Pandemic, restaurants continue to suffer the fallout of the past few years. It's hard to be specific about what actually happened, a combination of things that changed the consumer mindset about dining and food was the fallout. Anyway, back to the premise, getting started as a hospitality consultant. To begin, you should have at least 15 years of well rounded restaurant/hotel experience, both back and front of the house. You should have a good head for mathematics and logistics. At least 5 years of management experience, and having owned a business is also a plus...a big plus.

What is a chef consultant?

A chef consultant is a highly experienced culinary expert who is able to advise and leverage their foodservice expertise to observe, analyze and provide a range of solutions to restaurants and foodservice businesses. Whether it’s in a hotel, chain or independent restaurant – or even an equipment company or F&B supplier – chef consultants can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of different operations and provide solutions for how to achieve a more streamlined, efficient business. Food consultants often specialize in a particular area.

What does a chef consultant do?

There’s no limit to what a chef consultant can do, and every day on the job might look completely different. However, projects will range from supporting new ventures – i.e. defining the operation of whole kitchens, from planning to opening day, including menu development and supplier selection – to consulting on projects that are already up-and-running to help identify and improve operational shortcomings.

The responsibilities of a chef consultant include:

  • Concept development

  • Menu development

  • Business model audit

  • Defining kitchen processes

  • Optimizing inventory procedures

  • Evaluating and identifying suppliers

  • Food waste and cost analysis

  • Training

  • HACCP (food safety and food quality)

  • Sustainability

How much does a chef consultant earn?

The salary of a chef consultant can vary largely depending on the background and experience of the consultant, including their education, certifications and additional skills and expertise. However, sources report that in general, the salary of a chef consultant in the United States ranges between $53,000 and $75,000, with an average of $62,300.

Getting started, like all things is the hard part. I can tell you from experience that you can't just fly by the seat of your pants! In my case, having owned a few businesses was a huge asset. Without this type of experience, your only real option is education. And to be honest, both education and previous business experience are both a necessary. In Lieu of this, I would suggest a business mentor and education combined. As it happens, I just recently finished putting together a Certificate Program in Hospitality Consulting, available right here on the site. We provide all the tools and materials, step by step, to get you started in this career path.

Cheers, and have a happy hump day!

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