Cooking Class Service Business Idea

Business Summary:

If you’re the one who always gets compliments for her food at family get-togethers – and you keep up with cooking and nutrition trends -- you might consider a business teaching cooking classes. With today’s emphasis on healthy cooking, and the new “slow food” movement taking hold, cooking has become less routine and more of an art for many. You could try lessons as a lucrative sideline to a catering business, or you might join forces with a gourmet kitchenware business. If you can secure a license to hold classes in your home (check with your city’s health department), your start-up costs will be minimal. Some culinary arts teachers specialize in teaching cooking to children – others teach cooking for weight loss or diabetes management. Another recent development has been giving cooking lessons for business teams or couples groups. Whatever format you choose, you’ll find this a creative and entertaining way to make a good living.

Start Up Cost: $1,000 – $10,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

First and foremost, you must enjoy cooking, be extremely skilled at it, and be artistic in the presentation of meals. Enjoying working with people is another requisite skill – making cooking classes fun as well as educational depends on the enthusiasm and self-confidence of the instructor. No matter how much you enjoy cooking, taking refresher courses or obtaining a certificate in culinary arts would be of significant value to your resume. Another plus would be experience in a restaurant kitchen, with or without pay, and the mentoring of an experienced professional. Offering lessons in the art of cooking requires watching trends, having a working knowledge of nutrition, and enjoying teaching others how to prepare tasty and healthful meals.

How Much Can You Earn:

As with many business start-ups, your earnings will depend on the hours you choose to work, the number of clients you secure, and your cooking skills. Available information from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) indicates that first-year earnings can exceed $40,000. A popular Philadelphia culinary teacher makes $70 to $85 per lesson, but this pricing will vary greatly with geographic area and with the individual teacher’s experience and credentials.

Understanding Customers:

Clients will be coming to you for fun and relaxation as well as for knowledge. Many of them will probably have come from a long day of work. They will expect, to some extent, to be entertained while they learn. You should provide handouts of recipes and nutritional information so customers can put together a resource book from your classes. Tasting is a large part of the fun of cooking lessons, so serving your clients a candlelight dinner will guarantee a pleasant evening. By bringing informality and humor together with your talent, you can be assured that word of your classes will spread among those most likely to sign on.

Marketing Strategy:

Count on word of mouth recommendations to bring clients to your door. If you decide to work with a going concern, such as a gourmet kitchen store, make sure everyone who comes through the door is aware of your classes. Design unusual brochures to draw in customers -- distribute them in area shopping centers, restaurants, and community centers. Advertisements in area papers, newsletters and phone directories are important, as is a website when the budget allows it.


Check on all pertinent health regulations if you want to conduct classes in your home. Then determine what kind of classes you’ll be offering, brush up on your skills, and work out your budget. If you decide that you will teach in your home, you may need to do some redecorating and hold smaller classes. If you partner with another business, have your attorney help you work out details of your agreement with your host enterprise. Of course, you’ll need the usual business office, with computer, fax/copier, printer and toll-free phone line. Then go ahead, stock your cupboards and print up some elegant-looking menus and recipes…you’re in business!

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