Tips from experienced Elves

Use the advice from experienced Elves to provide great customer service and be efficient in the kitchen.

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Service tips
Speed tips

Service tips

Successful Elves get repeat appointments from exceptional customer service. 

Be personal

  • Customers need to like your food and you.
  • Pay extra special attention to pets and kids (remember their names).
  • Let your customer dictate the level of conversation (don't be too chatty).
  • Go above and beyond to impress (make their kitchen look spotless).
  • Leave your problems in the car (always walk in happy).

Play the part

  • Dinner Elf may is a rare experience for your customers. Wow them. 
  • Show up on time and minimize requests to change times (this is customers' number one complaint).
  • Look sharp: keep your hair back and wear a chef coat or professional apron. 

Plant the seed about repeat appointments

  • Share a few specific times you have open (e.g. Tuesdays at 9.30am).
  • If the customer isn't home, leave a note on the table tent about your availability.

Be responsive

  • The night prior to the appointment, text them via your appointment page with any questions from their food requests (e.g. "Are flour tortillas ok tomorrow?")
  • If you're running late or early, keep them updated by text.

Speed tips

Staying time-efficient in your customer appointments will benefit both you and customers. 

Grocery shopping

  • Shop at only a few grocery stores in the zones where you have appointments. Knowing the layout of a store saves time.
  • Don't waste time hunting for something. Ask a store employee.

Upon arrival

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Open all cans and wash and prep all produce.

Workspace

  • Minimize the surfaces you use in a kitchen (less cleanup).
  • Designate a space for groceries and staples for easy access.
  • Designate a space for cutting/chopping near the sink or trashcan for easy disposal of waste.
  • Lay out a clean towel by the sink to rinse and leave frequently used tools for reuse, like measuring spoons and spatulas.
  • Lay out a paper towel by the stove to set down messy spoons/spatulas.

Recipes

  • Recipes are presented in recommended cook order but always review for common sense (prepare items with long bake times first).
  • Prep all produce for all recipes first.
  • Use recipes as guides, but expect variations in stovetops and ovens. Keep an eye on items as they cook to keep things from burning.
  • Cook multiple recipes at once (don't wait for one to finish).

Dishes

  • Reuse dishes and cooking tools before cleaning them if you are using the same ingredient across multiple recipes (i.e. chopping veggies).
  • If you have a dirty dish with "sticky" food, wash it immediately.
  • Use the storage container as a bowl in a recipe so you won't have to wash it.
  • Wash dishes as you go (don't wait until the end).

Tip for clean ovens

  • If you bake a ‘runny’ dish (e.g. fish) on a flat baking sheet (not rimmed), you run the risk of making a mess in the oven. Use a rimmed dish or build “aluminum foil walls” around the baking sheet to prevent juice from dropping.
  • Add a sheet of foil to the bottom-most rack of the oven to catch drippings, and throw this away when you are finished cooking. 
  • Do NOT place foil directly on the bottom wall of the oven, as it can melt and adhere to the oven surface.

Cooling

  • Minimize the number of times you open a customer's refrigerator door to keep the internal temperature cool.
  • Leave containers uncovered until the very end of your shift, when you take your food photo, to maximize cooling.
  • Save your cold-prep dishes, such as salads, for last so that all hot items have the chance to cool as long as possible before lids are applied.
  • If a dish is not given enough time to cool without a lid, the customer will come home to a bunch of condensation and a soggy dinner.  If needed, leave the lid cracked and make a note of that on the table tent.

Other tips

  • Friendly and polite socializing is good, but chatty will run you off shift times. Use friendly language like "I'm going to get into my cooking zone now. I'll check back with you when I'm cleaning up."
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