Fresh Personal Chefs
I was raised in Green Bay, WI, on a small hobby farm. I come from a family of entrepreneurs – my father had an advertising agency for over 20 years and my mother was in marketing and public relations. Talk around the dinner table was often focused on marketing and growing businesses. In my early twenties, I moved to beautiful Door County, WI to work in a restaurant. The Door County area of Wisconsin is a tourist destination and good food, theater, music and art, silent sports, and wonderful natural areas abound. I worked off and on at various restaurants and hotels in the area and in the late 90’s opened a retail shop that I ran for 3 years. (I closed the shop when I decided to go back to school to get my teaching degree). I eventually met Mauricio, the man who would become my husband, at a local restaurant we were both working at. I was a “front of the house” server, and he was a “back of the house” cook. We have been married for 10 years now and have two young children, ages 7 and 9. We have both always wanted to have our own restaurant, but never took the leap. We have, however, always been involved in the service industry. After moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2011 to work on Mauricio’s immigration papers, we started our personal chef business. We worked in vacation villas and condos and cooked for people from all over the world. Fresh Personal Chefs has now been in business in Mexico for just over four years. When my husband was able to come back to the United States, we re- settled in Door County and got the personal chef business going here. We are growing little by little and hope to eventually focus more of our time on our business. We both work other jobs and I keep busy with our kids. I will be back working in a school setting in the fall, and we are looking forward to buying a house and getting settled back in the area we left when we moved to Mexico. We both hope to some day work only for ourselves and support our family on our business income.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Fresh Personal Chefs was started in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico about four years ago. While living in Puerto Vallarta, we decided to “do our own thing” to help with family living expenses. My husband, Mauricio, is an experienced chef, so getting him out and cooking in a busy tourist area made sense! Our business in Puerto Vallarta grew quickly and we now have 3 chefs working with us. A friend also helps us manage the business there. After moving back to the states in 2015 to beautiful Door County, WI, we decided to start the “U.S.” branch of our personal chef business. Mauricio is an excellent chef and has passion for his craft. He thoroughly enjoys cooking in our busy Wisconsin tourist area. I take care of all marketing and advertising for the business, as well as client communication. We work well together as a team and have had a great response from clients thus far. Our customers are locals and tourists who live in the area or rent vacation homes. As personal chefs, we offer in- home weekly meals, private dinners, cooking for small groups, and some off- site catering. We help our clients plan their menus, do all of the food shopping, prep and cook meals in our clients’ homes, and we do all the clean up after the dinner or event… giving people a “no stress” experience! We have been working to grow our business while holding down other jobs, and paying our business expenses out of pocket. We have repeat customers who love what we offer and word of mouth recommendations are key to new customers. We have grown our clientele in the past year and have expanded our social media reach. Our goal is to grow our client base even more and to do more off- site catering of larger parties. In order to do this type of catering, we will need catering equipment and the use of a commercial kitchen. We hope to offer a variety of services in the future, and have various other growth plans for the business – all food related. Right now we need to take the next step with Fresh Personal Chefs. We see so much potential for the personal chef business in our area!
What is the purpose of this loan?
Our Kiva Zip loan will be spent on more marketing and advertising to expand our reach, including direct mail, advertisements in local publications and playbills (approx. $1,500) The loan will also help us rent commercial kitchen space to work in, which will help expand our service options to offer off- site catering to our clients. (approx. $1,200) We will also be able to purchase important pieces of catering equipment to support our clients’ needs and the catering arm of our business. (approx. $1,800) The money will also pay for membership in the American Personal and Private Chef Association. This membership will give us more business exposure, allow us to purchase industry – specific insurance at an affordable rate, and give our personal chef business improved status in the eyes of our customers. (approx. $500)
Investing money in these things will likely double our income for the business, as we have had numerous requests for off- site catering in our first year of business, but weren’t able to accommodate more than 30 people.
So far, we have not had to take out any commercial loans, but have relied on our personal incomes to start, support, and grow the business. We are ready to take the next step with our business and offer off- site catering in addition to our in- home chef services. This loan would take the stress off of our personal finances and allow us to grow the business in a sustainable way while continuing to support our family and taking care of personal responsibilities.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years