Cooking classes are a lot of fun both for the instructor teaching the techniques and the students. However, there are some mistakes that will cost you money and customers. There are five big mistakes that cooking classes make, but that you can avoid.
Mistake # 1: Buying Too Much Food
One of the biggest costs in the restaurant industry (including cooking classes) is food. If you waste a lot of that food, you are not going to be profitable. In the restaurant industry, food costs account for 28-32% of overall sales. This is a percentage that is probably pretty similar for a cooking class. You won’t have the employee overhead of a restaurant, but you still have to buy the food for the classes. If you buy food and it goes bad or you buy more than you need for the attendees to cook with, then your costs might be higher.
Pay close attention to how much food you are actually using and reduce your purchases accordingly. Asking students to register ahead of time and prepay will allow you to gauge the number of students you’ll need to feed.
Mistake # 2: Giving Large Portion Sizes
You aren’t feeding an army! Smaller portion sizes are perfectly acceptable, especially if you are teaching the students how to make several dishes. One way to ensure you reduce portion sizes is to use a small salad plate rather than a large dinner plate. If students are eating and taking a full dinner home as well, then you either need to increase your prices or reduce the amount of food you allow each student to cook. Smaller portions are more likely to be received well.
Mistake # 3: Making Cooking Classes Too Difficult
You’ll have all different levels of cooks in your classes. Some will be beginners who don’t even know what a paring knife is and some will be expert cooks or perhaps even past students of yours. If you want to offer some advanced cooking techniques, then offer advanced classes. Otherwise, teach students how to make a recipe that doesn’t have too many steps. You want the student to be able to repeat the recipe at home, too, and impress family and friends. They will then ask where he or she learned to cook that dish and you’ll gain valuable word of mouth marketing.
Mistake # 4: Miscalculating Time
Remember that you are an expert cook. You can whip up a meal much faster than an amateur. In addition, you’ll stop throughout the preparations to show the students how to chop, prep, and present the food. You may have to walk around the room and offer some additional help. There will be at least one catastrophe. You need to build all of this into the estimated time to take the class. If your attendees are planning on two hours and it takes four, they may miss other commitments or simply grow exhausted and not have fun.
Mistake # 5: Being Too Serious
People take cooking classes to try something new. Most of the time, they want to have a good time. If you are extremely serious or fuss at Mary because her vegetable rose looks like a mushroom, your students aren’t going to enjoy the class. It should be an obvious part of serving customers, but it is easy to let your personal life or aches and pains drift into the classroom. Put a smile on your face and force yourself to have a good time so your students will as well.
Cooking classes are a great girls night own, bridal party, or just for fun event. Take the time to ensure you don’t make these five mistakes and your students will have a wonderful time and be well fed in the process.