We have in the past discussed the value in the teaching business, particularly in teaching skills. One of those skills we identified was cooking. Cooking appeals to so many people at different levels so it is open for an exploit like cooking classes. You have so many choices to look at. Some people want to learn how to cook from zero experience or ability. Some people want to learn specific cooking techniques or methods such as baking and braaing. Some want exposure to a specific cuisine such as Chinese, French, Italian, Greek or Zimbabwean. You have a wide variety of options in this arena and as you can already see cooking classes make a good idea. So let’s discuss the details of starting the business.
You have choices when it comes to how you will deliver your cooking classes. You can have in-person classes or online classes. You can further break down the in-person classes to host, where you provide the venue or in-house where you make a home visit. Given what we’ve been through in the last few years it is best to be flexible in the delivery method even if you have a preference. The choice you make here will go some way towards impacting the other factors in your business so read the rest of this with that in mind.
Licensing and permits
You will have to talk to your local area authority to understand the licencing and by-laws for this type of business. Licencing and requirements differ from local authority to local authority so you will encounter different responses depending on where and how you plan to operate. If you are hosting in-person classes at a venue that venue will need its certification and inspection. Some rules will apply for in-house and online classes too.
While cooking is a wide disciplinary area what most people want in cooking classes is some sort of mastery and mastery comes with focus. So while you can offer classes for as many things as you are good at, what you want to offer customers to give your business the best legs to stand on is mastery of cooking techniques, styles, methods and cuisines. The best way to achieve this is to focus on particular areas.
Facilities and Equipment
We’ve spoken a little bit about the licencing and permit aspects of facilities if you are going to offer hosted cooking classes. Equipping and kitting out the facilities will play a part in your licencing of course but the considerations stretch beyond compliance matters. What will be needed to carry out the type of cooking classes you want to teach? You will also need to think about the crockery and even cutlery to get everything right. You may be forced to consider a flexible approach which allows students to bring in their equipment. Blenders are a good example of something that students can be asked to provide.
If you are delivering the classes online you will need to think about equipment but for one person. Now as someone with some experience in this arena I will tell you first hand there’s a lot you can get away with. For example, the lack of a mixer doesn’t make you a bad teacher but rather an opportunity to show you’re a great teacher because you show hand mixing. Just don’t take it too far. You will make a significant investment in equipment regardless of your approach.
As mentioned before you will find people with many different needs when it comes to cooking classes. While it is not essential for the majority you might want to consider some sort of certification or accreditation for your courses. This is not simple but it may be just what you need to take your courses to the next level. The accreditation process usually involves some interaction between you and the accrediting body as they will need to assess the course. Once they are satisfied they will award accreditation or certification. The costs of this usually come in three parts. A once-off cost for the assessment process, an annual or other periodic membership and payment for certification per student.
When it comes to your marketing just remember to cater the messaging to the target audience. Speak in terms that the users understand and use rather than trying to be as fancy as possible, you can save that for use after they have passed the classes.