Chefs Best Practices: What Does Excellent Customer Service Look Like When Grocery Shopping?

Last updated 5/25/22

We have gathered feedback from chefs and clients on the Foodom platform and have compiled their best tips on how to provide excellent service to your customers on the topic of grocery shopping.

Some things are obvious when shopping for clients, like avoiding dented cans, open packages, damaged products, past expiration dates, and signs of age or spoilage.  If you are shopping for your client, you may want to include a conversation prior and cover at least a few of these topics. 

Budget

Chefs may be tempted to purchase the best of the best, regardless of cost, however client may have something different in mind.  They may prefer a moderately priced olive oil and not the most expensive.  They may prefer one brand over another with certain products, but be less concerned with others.  And maybe they are fine with less expensive grade/cuts of meat.  As prices can change rapidly from week to week, if a price spike is noticed, customers will be grateful if their chef check in with them, and if this concerns them, they might seek for alternatives.  It’s best to discuss the budget beforehand to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation.

Value

Value is basically giving customers “bang for their buck”.  Maybe spend slightly more on an ingredient, can get a finished product that doubles the return with great taste/texture/quality.  If the client never cooks, then maybe smaller sizes will be better for them, or if they will be a recurring client, then larger quantities may be the better value.   

Substitutions

There will most likely be times that an item is not available or out of season.  Chef Zeke let his knowledge as a professional chef guide him, and of course he always communicate with his customers. 

Allergies/Dietary Restrictions

Che Raphael and Colby familiarize himself beforehand as to his customers’ preferences and needs.  They read labels carefully to avoid making purchases that the customers cannot use for whatever reason.

Memberships

Another idea the chefs suggested is to find out prior to shopping if the customer has a rewards card.  It may be possible to give their phone number and still receive the discounts, or maybe the chef has a rewards card with the same store, and can pass on the savings to your customer. 

Mistakes

Things happen from time to time when chefs have purchase items by mistake. When this happened, they offered to take the item back or keep it for themselves and deduct it from the receipt you upload, making a clear notation.

Personal Purchases

Another chef shared this great suggestion: when shopping for customers, they always make sure to put personal items on a separate receipt.  This helps them to avoid confusion when uploading their receipt for payment.  One time, this chef forget to separate his lunch purchase, and he contact the customer right away to let them know. The customer was appreciative of the transparency and proactive approach.

Online Grocery Delivery Services

When Foodom customers purchase the option to have chefs do their grocery shopping they are charged a fee of $35. Their expectation is that the chef will shop for them, however If the chooses to use an online grocery delivery service, such as Instacart, there are some pitfalls this could pose.  

The shopper that selects your groceries may not have the same knowledge as chefs do, and its best to communicate the preferences clearly, for example adding a special note for the shopper like ‘Avocados must be ripe’. The client in this case didn’t agree to pay for the cost of the service and any tips involved in the transaction, beacuse they already paid for the grocery shopping fee om the Foodom platform.  

On Instacart, groceries are 20% higher than purchasing directly from the store, and since this cost will be passed on to the customer, this customer preferred that the chef shop at the store they asked for and if an online order is placed, they asked checking with them first. Other online stores like Amazon Fresh or Anycart, or direct online purchase from a grocery store, do not increase the grocery prices. For these options, chef Raphael suggested using pick up service at the store. This service is free above a certain amount and he can check the items provided. If something is wrong, he can walk in the store and replace it.  

Lastly, the chefs sometimes point out some of the ways they were able to save their clients money or provide them with extra value, and the clients choose to reward their efforts with a larger tip!

Gratitude

Thank you personal chef Zeke from Auburn, chef Toni from Berkeley, chef Raphael from San Mateo, chef Sammie from LA, chef Colby from El Dorado Hills and all the other great chefs we talked about it in the past, for the great tips above!

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