How to Start a Cooking School: Large Scale or Small

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How to Start a Cooking School Business Overview:

Attention foodies: if you love to cook and enjoy teaching others your craft, you should learn how to start a cooking school. Learning to cook is very popular today as seen by the boom in television programs that teach the inexperienced home cook how to cook like a restaurant chef. You don’t have to have skills of a restaurant chef to run a successful cooking school, however. You only need to have a passion for food and a love for passing that passion on to others. Being able to cook a lovely meal for a friend or loved one is an empowering and rewarding skill to have. Individuals take cooking classes to learn proper techniques and gain knowledge they can take back to their own kitchens so they can cook for themselves and others. Couples enjoy taking cooking lessons so they can share a hobby and have more fun in the kitchen. When starting a cooking school, you should consider what type of school you will operate. There are so many choices, it’s important to have a business plan to help you focus your efforts. You could choose to run your cooking school out of your home and just offer classes to a few people at a time. People will pay extra for these “private” lessons and they will enjoy the personalized attention. You could hold your cooking classes at a local established business like a specialty grocer, gourmet shop or wine store. If you enjoy teaching a large group, you could lease out the commercial kitchen of a catering company or college during their slow time of year. You should research cooking classes that are already offered in your area then figure out a specialty that is not currently available. You could offer classes in a certain ethnic fare, baking or grilling. Before you open for business you need to be sure to have the proper certification for the safe handling of food and beverages. Neglecting to get this certification can result in huge fines. Next you’ll need to market your business around town. Advertise with flyers posted at grocery stores, specialty food shops, wine stores, in parks, etc. You may find that this is one of the most popular business ideas available and with great skills and a fun teaching environment, you might soon have to find a larger space and hire a staff to help handle all your students.

A Day in the Life of a Cooking School Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.You will begin your day by checking your schedule and appointments. If you hold classes at your home, you will go to the store, buy items you’ll need for class and return home to prepare your kitchen for your students. If you hold classes away from home, after your trip to the store, you’ll set up in the wine shop, culinary school kitchen or where ever your classes are being held that day. You will greet your customers, collect payments and proceed with the class. At the end of the class you and your students will enjoy a meal to taste all the recipes you made during the cooking session. At the conclusion of the session you will distribute business cards and encourage your students to spread the word about your business and to come back themselves for another lesson.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals looking to gain cooking skills they can take home to their kitchens.

What You Need to Start:

  • Cooking school business plan
  • Marketing plan and materials
  • Cooking skills
  • Kitchen (home or elsewhere)
  • Cooking materials (pots, pans, utensils, etc.)
  • Ingredients
  • Food handling certification
  • Business license
  • Insurance
  • Staff (optional)
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Cooking classes are fun and exciting.
  • Start-up costs are relatively low.
  • You can choose to offer classes for as many people as you choose (and have room for).
  • You are likely to get repeat customers and referrals.
  • It is rewarding to pass along your passion to someone else.

The Bad:

  • There are likely plenty of cooking schools in your area so you’ll need to offer something unique to set your business apart.
  • If you are not properly certified to handle food and beverages, you could be fined.


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