You're A Chef

Congrats!

We welcome and appreciate your commitment. As a new chef, it could be difficult and intimidating to start selling and earning money from home, so we've put together this guide to get you started.

What You'll Need

FIRST OF ALL, YOU NEED FOOD

Family recipes, intricate delicacies, or just delicious meals are all encouraged. With Zestyer you run your own restaurant. The key to this business is repeat customers. Large, loyal customer bases are created with the methods described below.

Any food sold on Zestyer, must be considered safe for human consumption, both in the form it is advertised and when it is sold/exchanged/delivered. Under no circumstances, should any food on Zestyer be advertised or sold as edible/safe when it is not. Please report items you suspect are unsafe withe the "Mishandled Food Item" issue, and dispute orders that are mishandled. You may also email support@zestyer.com from your login email with the subject "Mishandled Food Item", to inform Zestyer of mishandled food.

Theme: One very effective way to attract and retain diners is to have a theme. If you specialize in burgers, having different types of burgers available will not only allow you to refine your craft but also create a "go to" for diners. The search algorithm will also recognize most themes through your use of tags, inputed when creating a food. This does not necessarily mean that you need a theme. Read the explanation of the Zestyer search to find out more.

Taste: Make sure your foods taste good. As the saying goes "you can only rip people off once". Repeat business is the key when it comes to restaurants. Your loyal diners are the ones who will bring you a majority of your business, make sure to create appetizing and delicious foods so that you grow your loyal diner base and earn consistently.

Convenience and Difficulty: A loyal base is primarily based off of two factors: convenience and difficulty. Diners will buy from you mainly because the food you make is difficult for them to replicate and/or it's convenient for them in terms of pricing and time. Play to whichever strength you have with your whole kitchen. Make sure pricing and average ready times (the time you take to prepare a food), inputed when creating a food, are similar. Additionally, all chefs can benefit from adding drinks and quick customizations to their foods. Charging 50 cents for extra cheese brings in an additional 5 dollars from just 10 orders when in reality it will cost you 1 dollar.

Premade Drinks and Snacks: Selling premade drinks and snacks like soda or snack bars is allowed and encourage on Zestyer. Please do note that these types of foods will not sell well on their own. The best way to sell these is as customizations with other foods in deals. If you make specialty drinks and snacks, these should be listed as separate items, however the search algorithm does not rank drinks and snacks well. The best way to sell specialty drinks and snacks is to pair them with a food item with a deal. See more about this in how the Zestyer search works here.

SECOND, PACKAGING

A chef is required to package his/her ordered food items properly. This means they need to be in either a sealed container or in a container covered on the bottom and top in an appropriate manner. Chefs are solely responsible for proper packaging. This means the food must be provided in a fitting container. Chefs are not responsible for providing cutlery, spices, or sauces, unless those items are explicitly stated as an option or food in the order. If proper packaging is not supplied, the resulting dispute will be won by the diner.

For your first order, it is reasonable and somewhat expected to reuse plastics you may have from previous take out. Please wash these plastics thoroughly and make sure they are meant for food.

The plastics that are safe to reuse by the American Chemistry Council are:

Getting Started As A Chef.

You will find these numbers on the bottom of the plastic container inside a small triangle made of arrows chasing each other's tails, as shown above.

If the plastics don't have these 4 numbers, do not use them. They are harmful and will lead to the termination of your employment by Zestyer as well as possible legal action.

After a couple fulfilled orders, it's expected of you to buy disposable food containers. There is a list at the bottom of this article as well as in the tools tab of your chef profile of recommended buys. Feel free to follow the list or buy your own.

We also send out free food packaging to established and new chefs on a regular basis. You may be contacted through your login email for this.

LASTLY, PICTURES

By far the most important thing for your success on Zestyer is to have quality pictures. Pictures are the first thing a diner sees and probably the only factor that is considered before clicking on a food. Make sure to get your pictures right. Here are 5 quick tips.

Clean Plates, Clean Utensils, and Clean Tables: Make sure everything in the photo is clean and free from sauce stains, paper towels, or other junk.

Set Your Scene: Taking a photo of your stove top, while the food is in a pan is a bad idea. Stove tops are usually oily and stained. Take a photo of the food on a plate and add some artistic charm by decorating it with aesthetic herbs and spices.

Lighting: It's important for diners to actually see your food. Make sure the food is not covered by a shadow. This means get a light source directly over or next to your food, and shoot the photo out of the light source's line to the food, casting no shadows.

Wet, Shiny, and Reflective Foods are Unappetizing: Wait for your food to dry, or clean up its oil. Reflections on the foods in their entirety are not appetizing. If you are making a burger or steak it's okay for the meat to have shininess but not on the bun or side. If you use a sauce, do not cover the entire food with sauce. The diners won't be able to see the actual food. Additionally, pour sauces on hot food and wait a little while for the water in the sauce to evaporate.

Landscape and Focus: This one's easy. Make sure to take the photo in landscape mode and make sure you focus on the food. All photos on Zestyer are displayed in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Matching this ratio is not required. Simply shooting in landscape mode will work in most cases.

Additionally, the search algorithm does not rank foods (aside from drink and snacks) with less than three images as highly as foods with three or more. Read more about this in How The Zestyer Search Works, here.

Products:

You are required to exchange food in proper packaging. We recommend the following pieces to improve ease of use and satisfaction with your food.
These are affiliate links, meaning purchasing through these links will give Zestyer a portion of Amazon's proceeds. They do not increase the prices of the products.
If you do not see any items, you may have an ad blocker enabled. Zestyer does not have any ads. Please disable it so you can see amazon links.
If you do not see any items you like, please search for yourself: Zestyer Custom Search.
  • Basic Option - Small Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Chefs Who are Starting Out
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Basic Option - Large Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Chefs Who are Starting Out
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Value Option - Small Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Best For Chefs Who have Established Customers
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Value Option - Large Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Best For Chefs Who have Established Customers
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Liquid Option - Small Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Best For Carrying Soups or Liquids
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Liquid Option - Large Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Best For Carrying Soups or Liquids
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Aesthetic Option 1
  • Microwave Safe
  • High Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Artisanal Chefs
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Aesthetic Option 2
  • Microwave Safe
  • High Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Artisanal Chefs
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Enviornmental Option - Small Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • High Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Enviornmentally Conscious Chefs
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Enviornmental Option - Large Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • High Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Best For Enviornmentally Conscious Chefs
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Cardboard Option - Small Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Good for Watery or Greesy Foods
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • Cardboard Option - Large Portion
  • Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • Low Quantity
  • Good for Watery or Greesy Foods
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • High Temperature Option - Small Portion
  • Not Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Good for Foods to Preserve Flavor
  • Good For Foods with Small Portions
  • High Temperature Option - Large Portion
  • Not Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Good for Foods to Preserve Flavor
  • Good For Foods with Large Portions
  • Disposible Cutlery
  • Not Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Not Required To Provide to Diners
  • Shows Professionalism and Care to Diners
  • Fancy Disposible Cutlery
  • Not Microwave Safe
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Not Required To Provide to Diners
  • Shows Professionalism and Care to Diners
  • Popular Condiments
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Not Required To Provide to Diners
  • Shows Professionalism and Care to Diners
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Low Cost
  • High Quantity
  • Used to Wrap Foods
Pricing

Pricing is somewhat difficult. However, the ubiquity of restaurants helps a lot. Here is how you should price your food as a beginner.

1)

Think of a food. Which meal is the food suppose to be consumed for? Make a list of customizations that can be done to your food. What customizations will be ordered the most? Etc.

[Example] We'll make a Burger with Fries as an Entree for Dinner | Customizations: Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Avacado, Bacon, Fries | Most Popular Customizations: Ketchup, Lettuce, Tomato, Fries

2)

Calculate the cost of making your food with the most popular customizations. Look up prices through whole salers and local markets. Try Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, or any other big box retailer as well as local farmers markets for cheap produce.

[Example] Burger with Ketchup, Lettuce, Tomato, and Fries | 4lbs of 90/10 Beef: $16.00 + 8 Buns: $3.00 + 2lbs Tomatoes: $2.50 + 1lb Lettuce: $1.00 + 5lbs Potatoes: $2.50 = $27.00/8 Servings = $3.40/Serving

3)

Find restaurants in your area selling similar foods. Take note of multiple resturants and what they're charging. Make sure to look up a small, non-chain restaurant, as chains have large backings which find ways to minimize costs.

[Example] Found 8oz Bacon Burger w/ Fries For $10.99 | Found 8oz Cheeseburger w/ Fries For $8.99

3.5)

In the rare case that a similar dish near you cannot be found, you may be in luck. Use the cost of ingredients and mark it up by between 100% and 200%. Use the resulting price as your 'restaurant' price.

4)

Because you're just getting started don't match the restaurants' prices. Take 10% off the lowest. This price will be the average price for everyone of your burgers.

[Example] Lowest Price $8.99 - 10% = $8.10 | Boom! We've got $4.70 in profit right there!

5)

Now you've got to price out your customizations. Every food is displayed with the minimum price and maximum price. Having minimum and maximum prices 1 cent below a round dollar amount sells more. So aim for minimum prices ending with 99 cents. People expect some things to be free and some things to cost extra. So charging for the first topping is not customary, but having a "Second Topping" or an "Extra Sauce" cost more is alright. Users will be insenstive to paying more for such items if these items cost less than a dollar. So price small extras $0.49, $0.99, etc. Some things people are accustomed to paying extra for, so charge more for these items too. Avacado, bacon, etc. as seen in the example.

[Example] The base price of our burger with fries will be $7.99 with Customizations: (Required) Sauce - $0.00 None, $0.00 Ketchup, $0.00 Mustard, $0.00 BBQ Sauce | (Optional) Extra Sauce - $0.49 Ketchup, $0.49 Mustard, $0.49 BBQ Sauce | (Required) Dressing 1: $0.00 Lettuce, $0.00 Tomato, $0.00 Onions | (Required) Dressing 2: $0.00 Lettuce, $0.00 Tomato, $0.00 Onions | (Optional) Dressing 3: $0.49 Lettuce, $0.49 Tomato, $0.49 Onions | (Optional) Bacon: $1.49 Add Bacon On Burger | (Optional) Avacado: $0.99 Add Bacon on Burger | (Optional) Extra Fries: $1.99 Extra Fries | This gives us a price range of $7.99 to $12.95. The sweetspot in terms of search optimization.

6)

Now add drinks. Just add canned sodas. Additionally, it is recommended to add a lot of non-perishable items to customizations like sauces.

[Example] 12 pack of Coca Cola for $5.00 priced at $1.99 per can.

7)

That's it! Post the food.

[Example] The typical order of this food pays $4.70 in pure profit. The customizations some users will choose can bring this profit up to $7.60. That's a minimum profit for the 8 servings bought in the beginning of $37.60 and a maximum of $60.80. That's pure profit. No expenses to subtract or anything. That's simply how much we would get paid from cooking in our kitchen. 8 burgers is a maximum of 2 hours of work, if we're really slow. Nearly $20/hour!

These are conservative numbers to establish yourself in the marketplace, gain ratings, and attract diners. If there is a high demand for your food, try increasing prices. When you get a loyal customer base, also remove some unpopular customizations until profits significantly fall. This will minimize costs.

Also try creating multiple of the same food and seeing which price combinations sell best. This is encouraged by Zestyer for a short period of time. Do not leave the same foods up for more than 4 weeks.

Pricing affects how well your food ranks. Read more about how the Zestyer search works, here.

It may be profitable to mark down prices to or below cost of your ingredients to attract and build a customer base. However, this should not be done for a long time, as a marketplace of any kind, like Zestyer, is conducive of volatility.

How Do I Get Customers?

This is our job. We are trying to bring in as many diners as we can. Every search we process includes results from low volume chefs in some of the top ranks. To rank higher, please read How The Zestyer Search Works here. Otherwise, if you haven't had your first order yet, don't worry we're working on it, just be ready to confirm it when it comes.

What Can I Do To Help?
1)

The best contribution you can make is by sharing Zestyer with your friends whether it is on social media or through word of mouth.

2)

The second contribution you can make is the one you actually earn money from. Make the best food you can make. Always ask "is this up to the standard of a five star restaurant?" If you have higher standards, then ask "is this up to my standards?"

3)

The third contribution is to stay motivated. Stick with us. It is hard to get a startup off the ground, but we really think we can make this happen. The search favors old ratings when it comes to ranking, so completing an order now will help you get more orders in the future.

Contact Us With Any Issue

Chefs are our most valuable asset. We will check in with you and monitor your behavior as well as help you work through disputes and challenges. All of our chefs are always entered into whatever giveaways we have going on, and we always work to improve the chef experience. Suggestions and feedback are highly valued and considered. As a chef, don't hesitate to contact us with whatever matter and we will surely respond.

If you have any questions please contact the development team at support@zestyer.com or the team leads of marketing: lisadion@zestyer.com, of support & design: joshuapaynen@zestyer.com, or of development: joehuffman@zestyer.com.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Join hundreds of others who earn money by cooking! Have a question? Email us at support@zestyer.com or contact us through our social medias.

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This is part 5 of the 6 part series Becoming A Chef. Read part 6 here.

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About the Author

Written by Lisa Dion - Director Of Marketing
Posted On
Posted In Chefs
Subtopic Becoming-A-Chef-Series

getting started, earning on zestyer, food, packaging, pictures, pricing, becoming a chef series, order, food, earn, money, online, marketplace, app, zestier, zestyer

Keywords getting started, earning on zestyer, food, packaging, pictures, pricing, becoming a chef series, order, food, earn, money, online, marketplace, app, zestier, zestyer

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