On Being a Chef-Marketer
How would you like those… Fried or boiled?
That’s the sort of question you might get asked in a simple cafe when you’ve popped out for a quick bite to eat.
You don’t have great expectations as to what will eventually appear on a plate in front of you but it might just be edible. It was the last time you ate there… and it wasn’t expensive.
Eating establishments attract the diners they deserve.
Set up a simple cafe (or food truck) with no airs and graces that serves OK food at OK prices and you’ll attract a good lunchtime crowd provided you are downtown in the business district.
Across the street, might be a fine dining establishment with a whole other clientele… also busy at lunch time on weekdays.
The first would be run by a cook. He or she wouldn’t dream of claiming the title of chef. After all, they never went to a culinary institute. Have never worked in a Michelin starred restaurant and have no ambition to do so.
The second is the flip side of the coin. The chef has learned his craft in different kitchens around the world. He or she is passionate about creating inspiring dishes that leave diners’ taste buds tingling with delight.
They insist on buying only the best organic ingredients and pay attention to the ways these combine and interact to create extraordinary flavours and experiences.
My point is that there are cook-marketers out there and there are also chef-marketers too.
The cook-marketers spin you the latest hacks and recipes. They are journeymen and women who tread conventional paths. They attract like minded customers seeking a simple solution on a budget.
Like Pizza Hut attracts customers seeking an average predictable dining experience on a budget.
Chef marketers offer an entirely different experience. One might say an exceptional experience driven by the desire to serve their clientele to the very best of their ability and expect nothing else in return.
They go back to first principles.
Spend half a lifetime testing and perfecting their expertise.
They do not follow anyone in particular.
In fact the guru marketers discreetly follow them.
These chef marketers attract clients with the same expectations.
They’ve never followed a crowd in their lives.
They move on the instant they find they’re in the wrong place.
Clients naturally move towards marketers with similar expectations just like you naturally choose a place to eat based on your own expectations at that moment.
The good news is that…
We get to choose who we wish to work with.
We get to design the stories that we tell.
We get to set our own expectations.
The business you create will attract the ‘diners’ who match those expectations.
The way it looks.
The way it feels.
The way it talks.
All contribute to attracting the right customers.
Being a chef-marketer isn’t for everyone.
Many aspire but few are called.
It’s an infinite game with no winners or losers.
It’s about remaining in the game for the right reasons.
It's about talent, hard work and practicing your craft.
… and never quitting.
So it’s about WHO first.
And only then, can you talk about the WHAT and the HOW
The desire to improve the quality of your clientele is the ambition of every fine dining restaurant.
Quantity is what the pizza joint round the corner is after.
Which is why I spend so much time with clients positioning them in their market, deciding on the world they want to build for themselves and understanding the ideas and beliefs that their ideal prospect needs to have assimilated BEFORE they are ready to work with them.
These clients are usually expert service providers who have a unique business idea. They have a ton of experience not to mention an expertise that has been well honed.
The good news is that they love to write about what they do and give insights that are actionable now, to people out there in client land.
They hold nothing back cos they know that information is free but hard won experience is like a well cut diamond… worth good money to the people who want results fast.
My ideal client is a guy called Chris (but if she’s a she, she’d be Amelia).
She’s ready to invest in herself and get things done.
She’s bought a few online courses so has a nose for the right mentor.
Either way, they want to get rich slowly…
PS: You may be wondering why I chose the ‘Chef/Restaurant’ theme for this post. Here’s why…
I trained at the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Paris so the world of fine dining is one that I am familiar with. In fact, when I had finished my training, I worked for a while in the kitchen of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the patisserie section making desserts for the heads of state who were visiting the President.
It was one of the best experiences I have ever enjoyed