Shef Application Checklist
Chyrlie Brown avatar
Written by Chyrlie Brown
Updated over a week ago


Before starting the checklist below, the first step to becoming a shef is to sign up to become a shef by clicking here!


Application checklist for becoming a shef

Congratulations on starting your onboarding process! Here are the steps you will want to take to complete your Shef Application:

  1. Select your delivery option. Depending on your location, you will either select a Shef drop-off location, or input your information for door-to-door delivery or customer pickup. These options are not available in all locations. You will see the options that are available for you in the 'My Profile' page of your Shef Dashboard.

  2. Add dishes to your menu. You must have at least 7 dishes to start selling to customers, but feel free to add more. Be sure to review our food photography guidelines before taking your dish photos.

  3. Add your profile picture. This helps to build trust and a connection with your customers.

  4. Add your bio. Tell customers your food story to get them excited about trying your dishes.

  5. Upload your food handler’s certificate. Don't already have one? No problem - click the link for more info! Online courses are available for around $10.

  6. Connect your bank account to Stripe for order payments. You will receive payments through direct deposit, on a rolling basis after each delivery day.

Once you complete these steps, our team will review your profile and approve you to start cooking within a few days! You will receive an email when your account has been approved with instructions to help you prepare for your first delivery day. Your menu and profile will not be visible to customers until you select the days you'd like to be available in the "My Availability" section of your Shef dashboard. Keep in mind that you are always able to continue adding dishes and editing your menu as you grow your business and learn about what your customers enjoy.


How does the trial period work?

In some locations, you will start off as a "trial shef" when you finish onboarding. During your trial period, your menu will be available to all customers who have ordered from Shef at least one time before. Once you pass your trial period, your profile and menu will be available to all customers.

Customers who are new to Shef can still place orders during your trial period by using a direct link to your menu. We will send this link as soon as you are approved to start your trial period. Be sure to share your link with friends and family to promote your new business!

During your trial, all customers are prompted to leave a review via email after they receive their order. You can check for reviews in the 'My Ratings' page of your Shef Dashboard. Customers can't order from the same trial shef more than once, so they will need to wait until you pass trial to order from you again.

During your trial period, you can sell a maximum of 20 items per delivery day (this is referred to as "dish capacity" in your Shef profile). Remember that all orders are placed ahead of time on Shef and your food is delivered cold. This gives you time to buy your ingredients, prepare, package, and refrigerate your orders. Your order cut-off time is automatically set to 1 day before each delivery day at 12:00pm (for example: for Sunday delivery, customers must place orders by 12pm on Saturday). You can change this setting in the 'My Profile' page of your Shef Dashboard if you would like more time to prepare orders.

How to be successful in your trial period

During your trial period, we want to see that you will be successful getting orders, completing your delivery days, and receiving positive feedback about your food. Here is the criteria we look for to pass the trial period:

  • You collect your Starter Kit within 2 weeks.

  • You set your availability to receive orders within 1 month.

  • You receive at least 2 orders within your first 5 days of availability.

  • You successfully drop off your first orders (package and label correctly, drop off on time).

  • You receive at least 2 positive reviews from your first customers.

What to do if you cannot fulfill an order

Cancellations disrupt your customer’s plans and can reduce confidence in our Shef community. Because you set your own availability, your customers expect you to fulfill all orders you receive. Repeated issues with canceling or rescheduling orders can result in a failed trial period and restrictions to your Shef account.

If something unavoidable has come up and you know you will not be able to fulfill an upcoming order, please send our support team a message as soon as possible so we can let your customers know. You can message us from the small red chat icon in your Shef Dashboard.

Tips to make a good first impression on your first orders

  • Fill your food containers to approximately 95% capacity. Under-filling containers may disappoint your customers, while overfilling them might result in food spillage.

  • Label your food containers and order your bags neatly & professionally to build trust with your customers.

  • Include a handwritten or printed note to first-time customers thanking them for ordering from your menu. You can also request that they give you feedback!

  • Include a complimentary dessert, side, or snack sample for your first-time customers. This is completely optional and highly dependent on if you can manage it with the current order volume.

  • The most important thing is to take your time and avoid rushing. Please organize and plan your cooking, cooling, labeling, packaging, and delivery to give yourself enough time for each one!

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