The Chef & His Wife - Homemade Meals at Your Convenience! (Our Client Interview)
One of our commitments at HRBiz is to offer our clients an efficient and economical way to keep their books. This often includes introducing our clients to QuickBooks Online, our favorite cloud-based platform. We know entrepreneurs need to maximize their income. As a QBO partner, we’re able to offer 50% off the retail cost of QBO for the life of the file.
Our client, Chef Tim at The Chef & His Wife, particularly likes these two features of QBO: the budgeting feature and the reporting feature. In the reporting feature, he can see his percentages and where any adjustments need to be made.
So, onto our client interview!
Would you like a homemade meal without the fuss? Let The Chef & His Wife be your new go-to for meals with ingredients you'd use yourself. You can choose ready-to-heat items from their refrigerator cases, pick up an order you already placed, schedule a Saturday delivery for a pre-ordered meal, or have a relaxing meal in their dining room.
And did you know you can save money on their delivery fee? You can pre-order online and pick up at your nearest farmers’ market. The Chef & His Wife is at Red Bank on Mondays, Collegedale on Wednesdays, Signal Mountain on Thursdays, and the downtown Chattanooga Market on Sundays.
We stopped by to interview Chef and Owner Tim Mulderink to get a behind-the-scenes look at what they do and why.
What prompted you to start your own company?
Friends of mine who were entrepreneurs asked me to cook for them because their schedules were so busy. So, aside from having a full-time job as the Executive Chef at Volkswagen, I was doing additional cooking on weekends and I eventually had to decide whether to keep my primary job or pursue my own business. Even though I'd always hoped to be a business owner, I didn't know how soon it would happen.
For three-and-a-half years, The Chef & His Wife was located at a church in East Brainerd. Being there gave us time to establish our name and a customer base. We knew when our business expanded from catering into retail and dining, we'd have to move elsewhere.
We moved into our current location over Easter weekend this year. This section of the building used to be a restaurant. We were able to minimize our expenses because the infrastructure was already here. For food preparation, we have a cold kitchen, a hot kitchen, and a pastry/dessert area. And we're really pleased to have a dining room where people can sit down and relax over their meal.
If you dine-in, the lunch buffet includes a salad bar and there's a different entree each day. Our "HOTT" bar acronym stands for: Healthy One Time Through. Even though it's tempting to indulge, we purposefully make portions the correct size. We encourage people to be balanced in their meals instead of thinking of a buffet as a trough.
What do you like best about doing business in Chattanooga?
Building relationships with customers is a primary focus for us. I can see the satisfaction in their faces when they express appreciation for the value and quality we provide. We treat them like they're coming to our house for a meal.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and start-ups?
Prepare, be organized, and never give up.
No matter how much you believe in your product, the customer has to get to know you and believe in it, too.
Remember to do "one more thing" - one more step to improve or to give pizzazz to your finished product. Give a bit extra to please your customers. A couple signature items everyone particularly likes are our pimento cheese and our chicken pot pie.
In culinary school, I learned three main lessons: be disciplined, the harder way is the right way, and customers want consistency.
How has HRBiz helped you in your success?
Trust. I really have a true partner. With my previous bookkeeper, I felt like I was initiating all the conversations about my finances. Now that I'm using HRBiz, I have Darlene. I know you guys are looking out for me -- you have my back.
Our thanks to Tim for his time and expertise in being as passionate about serving his customers as we are with ours. You can check out their website here: http://www.thechefandwife.com/#welcome. Remember that their menu changes weekly, so you’ll want to look them up on a regular basis!
Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, received the TSBDC’s 2015 Small Business Person of the Year Award for Chattanooga and was recognized as a 2015 Rising Star. She is the Founder and President of HR Business Solutions, LLC. Lynn was previously a Corporate Trainer and HR Manager for a Fortune 500 company in Seattle, WA. She has 20+ years’ experience advising entrepreneurs of small- to mid-sized businesses in HR and Office Management. She is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and is Xero-Certified.