Tanner Agar is a young chef who took advantage of a gap he found in the marketplace from personal experience.
While working as a chef in cities around the world, including Toronto, Chicago, and Spain, Tanner noticed a barrier preventing chefs from reaching their true potential. Chefs often have products and recipes that fit a niche in the market, but there was a problem. The chefs were often overworked and had little time and/or money to pursue individual products outside of the operations their own restaurants. The ones succeeding in this area were well-renowned chefs with already large followings, a dedicated staff to their endeavors and available capital to put towards new projects. Tanner didn’t think it was fair that other great chefs were unable to grow their business.
The idea: To work with chefs to get their products out to a wider audience without using up too much of their time or money.
The idea was one thing, but pulling it off was a much greater challenge. Tanner started researching what it would take to create The Chef Shelf. Instead of building a manufacturing plant or paying a manufacturer $10-15,000 just for the setup, Tanner came up with the idea of creating and packaging the products in the chef’s current kitchen. This wasn’t the easiest answer, but the most cost effective and efficient solution to test the market and provide a product to consumers without a significant initial investment.
National Elevator Pitch Competition
Tanner won $1,500 and other prizes and recognition for placing 3rd in the 2013 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) National Elevator Pitch Competition, which was hosted in Chicago. After winning the elevator pitch competition hosted at his school, Texas Christian University, the university sponsored his trip to the National Conference. When asked what he took away from the event and the competition, Tanner said, “I think the most important part of both the competition and the conference is that they are a vast array of judges, speakers, and other entrepreneurs whom are willing and passionate about helping others to grow their companies. I was fortunate to attract the attention of a few judges and will be speaking with them this week about how they can help me to develop my brand.“
Tanner is currently working on expanding his business while continuing to pursue his degree at TCU and working as a waiter.
Interview Highlights – Make sure to listen to the full interview here!
– Complications that arose including dealing with health departments.
– Why The Chef Shelf only exists because of great chefs.
– Biggest hurdle so far: getting people to know about it.
– Information about what products The Chef Shelf has been able to get into the market. Sweet Ancho Chile Relish anyone?