Do you want to start a cooking class business? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a cooking class business with no money and no experience. Starting a cooking class business from your home especially if you have a standard kitchen is no doubt one of the easy to start but yet profitable businesses one can start in the United States of America.

The reality is that if you are good with making both local and international dishes, you can start teaching people how to cook right there in your home. You will be amazed at the level of response you will get if you list these services online. Besides, you have the option of teaching people right there in your kitchen and also online.

If you have decided to start a cooking class business from home, then you must make sure that you carry out thorough feasibility studies and market survey. This will enable you determine if your present location has the right demographic composition and people who will be ready to pay and enroll in your cooking classes.

If you have done the required feasibility studies and market research, then you might want to venture into this business. If you have been pondering on how to start a cooking class business from your home, but you do not know how to go about it, then you should consider going through this article; it will sure give you some guide and direction.

20 Steps to Starting a Cooking Class Business at Home

1. Understand the Industry

Cooking class business falls under the trade and technical schools industry and establishments in the trade and technical schools industry comprise of schools that offer vocational and technical training in a wide range of subjects. The training offered by trade and technical schools often leads to job-specific certification.

Instruction may be provided in diverse settings, such as the company’s training facilities, the workplace, the home or through distance-learning methods. Key areas in this industry include catering school, music schools and musical instrument training, cosmetology and barber schools, flight training, apprenticeship training and other technical training.

Cooking/catering schools do much more than just teach students how to cook. Practical knowledge is of course important, but cooking schools also give you the theory behind what you’re doing and why it works, and your hands-on practical education is overseen by a certified professional who can ensure that you are using standardized techniques and practices.

Lots of programs include externships or internships that, in addition to giving you on-the-job experience, would help promote professional networking and career development by getting you into many places that you may not enter on your own. The Trade and Technical Schools industry that cooking class business is a subset of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in a lot of countries.

Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 8,876 registered and licensed (accredited) trade and technical schools scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 127,260 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $13 billion annually.

The industry grew at -1.1 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that there are no establishments in this industry that has a lion market share.

A recent report released by IBISWorld shows that the Trade and Technical Schools industry operates in a countercyclical manner. The report shows that the industry revenue grew significantly as a result slow economic growth earlier over the five years to 2016, but has suffered subsequently.

Sluggish economic activity helped the industry to grow as the unemployed sought professional training to improve their job prospects. As national unemployment decreased in recent years, however so has industry revenue.

The report further stated that in recent years, the restructuring of the US economy has accelerated and service industry professions are in higher demand than ever, while growth in manufacturing continues to fail to impress. As a result, individuals displaced by major economic change are still retooling their skill set.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own cooking class business from home is the fact that the business is easy to start and you can start the business with zero capital as long as you have a standard kitchen and cooking utensils.

In summary, starting a cooking class business or a catering training business is a good way of leveraging on your culinary skills to generate money without investing massive capital. It is a business that may not fetch you millions, but it is quite profitable.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who can benefit from a cooking class cut across individuals who want to learn the art of cooking and perhaps go ahead to become professional chefs.

So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your cooking class business, then you should make it all encompassing; it should include housewives, men, children, high school graduates and those who want to work as chefs or run their own catering business.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

If you have plans of starting a cooking class business from home, you just have to create an easy to learn curriculum that comply with the existing curriculum in the United States even though you have the options of operating the business unofficially. Cooking class is a niche area in the vocational school industry.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

One good thing about starting a cooking class business from your home is that you can design your business in a way that you will have minimal or no competition; you can actually create your home market. The truth is that if you choose to teach people in your immediate community how to cook, then you will not be confronted with any real competition.

But if you choose to make the business official and source for clients outside your immediate community, then you should be ready to compete with other people and businesses who are also teaching people how to cook. There are loads of them out there especially well – organized and registered catering schools and some of them also offer their classes for free on YouTube.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

It might be  somewhat difficult to point out well – known brands when it comes to teaching people how to cook from home, because there loads of them on the internet coupled with the fact that most people that run this type of business don’t run it as an official business.

They do it part – time and some do it for free especially if the classes are posted on YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms. But in the case of well – organized catering schools that teach people how to cook, here are some of the leading schools in the United States and also in the globe;

  • San Francisco Cooking School
  • Culinary Institute of America
  • Institute of Culinary Education
  • International Culinary Center
  • Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
  • L’Academie de Cuisine
  • Kendall College of Culinary Arts
  • New England Culinary Institute
  • The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington
  • Culinary Studies Institute at Oakland Community College
  • San Diego Culinary Institute
  • The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
  • Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College
  • The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College
  • Great Lakes Culinary Institute at Northwestern Michigan College
  • The Culinary Institute of New Orleans
Economic Analysis

Even though it is not advisable to ignore economic analysis when you want to start a new business, but if there is any business that can fly without conducting economic analysis, then cooking class business from home should be one of them especially if you are doing it as a hobby and not with the intention to grow big.

Having said that, if you want to make good money from this business and you want to register and build a brand around it, then it is imperative that you conduct or hire a professional to help you carry out economic analysis.

If proper economic analysis is conducted for the business, it will enable you know the exact amount to invest in the business, the equipment and resources needed to run the business, the returns you are expected to make within a period of time, and of course the amount needed as running cost for the business.

Economic analysis will show you the advantages and cost implications of starting the business on a small scale, medium scale or on a large scale.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a business of this nature you have only one option and that is to start from the scratch. This is because it is a business that predominantly revolves around the cooking skills of the owner of the business. Plus, it is a business that can be run as a one-man business.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

Despite the fact that starting a cooking class business from home has minimal challenges and threats to deal with, that does not mean that you are not expected to face one or more threats and challenges. You are likely going to face challenges especially if you decide to make the business big.

Some challenges you are likely going to face when you start your cooking class business from home in the United States are unfavorable government policies especially as it relates to getting approval to make your kitchen a commercial kitchen. We are not ruling out the fact that you will likely be confronted with challenges from well – organized catering schools and of course online cooking schools.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

One good thing about starting a cooking class business from home is that you can successfully run the business without formalizing it. This is because the business can be run part – time and anybody can run the business including stay at home moms.

In case you choose to make the business formal, then the best legal entity to use for this type of business is the sole proprietorship; it just about the ideal legal entity to use for a home cooking class business.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Generally, when it comes to choosing a name for a business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.

If you are considering starting your own cooking class business from home, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Jason’s Mom Cooking Class
  • Stella Cutis Home Cooking School
  • Baton Rouge Community Culinary School
  • Finger Licking Home Cooking Class
  • Joy’s Home Kitchen Cooking Class
  • High – End Home Culinary School
  • Chef Home Cooking Class
  • Dora McKeon Home Cooking Class
  • Cutting Edge Home Cooking Class
  • Green Kitchen Home Culinary School

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

If you want to run your cooking class business from home without formalizing the business, you might not have a need for purchasing insurance policies. If you choose to formalize the business, then note that you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from.

So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your cooking class business from home. Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own cooking class business from home in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

You are not required to file for intellectual property protection/trademark when starting a cooking school from your home.

But, if you want to protect your unique cooking recipe and training manual, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Aside from the results you produce as it relates to training your students on becoming a good cook, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some catering training schools stand out. If you want to make an impact in the vocational school industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.

Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own catering school/vocational school;

  • Clean Health Certificate
  • Food handler Certification
  • Catering Training Certificate
  • Diploma – Culinary Arts
  • Diploma – Restaurant and Culinary Management
  • Diploma – Pastry and Baking Arts

Please note that you can successfully run your cooking class business from home in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license (accreditation from regulating bodies).

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized even though you can run a cooking class business from home without legal documentation.

These are some of the basic legal documents you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own cooking class business from home in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • Commercial Kitchen License
  • State Permit
  • Accreditation Letter
  • Business License and Certification
  • Business Plan
  • Cooking Class Training Curriculum
  • Foods and drinks handler certificate
  • Kitchen Health Inspection Certificate
  • Proof of district-issued food and drinks manager identification card
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Consulting contract documents
  • Online Privacy Policy Document

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

When funding your home cooking class business, you may not need to raise startup capital especially if you already have a standard kitchen that can pass for a commercial kitchen when health inspectors officer come around.

Before you consider starting a cooking class business from your home, you should have the basic things in place; things like standard commercial kitchen, cooking utensils, gas cookers and all the ingredients you are expected to start your first class with.

In case you don’t have all you need to kick start the business, you can generate money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties, Applying for Loan from your Bank or source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When starting your home cooking class business, you must ensure that your home is strategically located. Your home must be located in a growing-family location where you have stay at home moms, high school students and aspiring professional cooks and chefs.

So in case you are not in such location, then you should ensure that you lease or rent a house in such location and make sure the facility has a kitchen that can pass for a commercial kitchen.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There is no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for gas cooker, bread toaster, cooking utensils, serving wares, food service equipment (microwave, toasters, dishwasher, refrigerator, blender, etc.), Storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.).

You will also need a computer, internet facility, telephone, and kitchen furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

When it comes to hiring employees for a cooking class business from home, you don’t need to bother because you can comfortably run the business with just a cooking assistant but you must be ready to occupy the role of a marketer, an accountant, merchandize manager and the kitchen manager.

The Services Delivery Process of the Business

Home cooking class businesses are established with the aim of teaching students how to cook different delicacies and perhaps to become professional chefs, caterers and cooks.

Since it is cooking class from home, it is expected that when students enroll in the class, they will attend the training right in the kitchen of their trainers except in some cases where the trainer has to go to the house/kitchen of the student.

As usual, the student is expected to pay more for such special service. In order to run an effective home cooking class business, the owner of the business will definitely create a curriculum that will be used to train new students. Please note that most people that run cooking class businesses from their homes usually leverage on YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms to train people on how to cook or sell their ‘How to Cook’ manuals.

Depending on the scale of the training and the number of students that enroll in the cooking class, after the full training which may last for 3 months or more, graduation ceremonies are organized and certificates are awarded.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

As a person who wants to run a cooking class business from home, you need to prove your worth before attracting students to your cooking class. So, if you have plans to start your own cooking class business from home, it will pay you to build first build a successful career as a professional cook, chef or caterer.

People will only enroll in your cooking class or hire your services to train them if they know that you are a pro and they are going to get the culinary skill set they want to get. So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your cooking class business from home, make sure that you create a compelling personal and business profile.

Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past and the number and category of people you have trained. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for students.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your cooking class business from home in the United States of America;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the high school leavers, hotels and bars, local community, and households within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services
  • Attend relevant vocational education expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different category of students and clients in order to work with their budget and still train them on how to cook
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your cooking class business
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your cooking class services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your startup capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or give you high interest rate. Ensure you purchase your food supplies directly from farmers or from food wholesalers in pretty large quantities.

The truth is that the more you purchase directly from farmers, food hubs and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them. So also, it is important that you purchase your cooking utensils directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributor. If need be, you can purchase these equipment, and utensils from fairly used market. It will still save you some bucks.

Another strategy that will help you offer your cooking class services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name.

Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services. You can also try as much as possible to work with independent/freelance marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Any business that has to do with imparting knowledge or training people on how to acquire new skills will definitely be competitive, and you must come up with a unique strategies to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry.

Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to churn out students who will go out there to become professional chefs/cooks. People will always run to you if they know that you have a better option especially as it relates to teaching them culinary skills.

Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that once in a while you offer pro bono services to people who truly want to learn how to cook but don’t have the money to pay for your services.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.

If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products. If you can continue to churn out students who are considered experts and your training service delivery is excellent, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal students and clientele base.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a cooking class business from home is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media. As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use social media platforms to promote your brand, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.

Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your cooking class business;

  • Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal students
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+ and other platforms to promote your cooking class business
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
  • Advertise your cooking class business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site