Cooking class businesses (catering schools) are trade schools, sometimes also called vocational or technical schools that train people on how to cook or become professional chefs or cooks. These schools are non-degree schools that can provide diplomas, certifications, or even associate degrees, depending on what type of trade program is completed.

Available data shows that in terms of revenue, the global cooking class market was valued at US$ 489.18 million in 2020 and is anticipated to reach US$ 2317.04 million by 2029 growing at a CAGR of 18.9% over the forecast period (2022 – 2029). Please note that the annual pricing segment accounted for a major market share in the global cooking class marked in 2020.

Steps on How to Start a Cooking Class Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

The first step in the market research process for your cooking class (catering school) business is to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source for information that will help you maximize your business, give you reliable data of what your potential market will be looking out for from a cooking class (catering school) business, the specific cooking courses people will spend a premium on and also to help you operate your cooking class business with less stress.

a. Who is the Target Market for Cooking class Business?

If you are thinking of opening a cooking class (catering school) business then you should make target demographics all-encompassing. It should include school leavers, housewives, aspiring chefs, professional cooks and caterers, and every adult in the neighborhood where your cooking class business will be located and of course on the internet.

b. Is Cooking class Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, a cooking class business can be profitable because there are loads of people who are willing to learn how to cook.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the cooking class business because cooking class business is a niche idea in the trade and technical schools’ industry.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • San Francisco Cooking School
  • Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park
  • 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.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Cooking Class Business?

Yes, there are county or state regulations and zoning laws for cooking class (catering school) businesses. Players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing such business in the county or state where their business is domiciled.

In addition to that, it is important to state that in the United States, government agencies and departments routinely grant variances to rules and regulations. Often, you only have to fill out a short form. In other cases, your request may have to be publicly heard before your city council, zoning board, or other body. Please check with your zoning or planning department to find out what options are available to you.

f. Is There a Franchise for Cooking Class Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for cooking class (catering school) business.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • A Good Kitchen Facility
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Cooking Utensils and Teaching Aids
  • Employees (Faculty Members)
  • Startup and Working Capital
  1. Memorable Cooking Class Business Names

  • Loveth® Cooking Class, Inc.
  • Chef Madonna® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Chef Pamela® Cooking Class, Inc.
  • Cook Pro™ Cooking School, Inc.
  • Esther Godwin® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Al Baroness® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Lady Annie® Online Cooking School, Inc.
  • All Food® Cooking School, LLC
  • Top Skills® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Matilda KC® Home Culinary School, Inc.
  • Maria De La Rosa® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Chef Queency ™ Cooking School, LLC
  • Chef™ Cooking School, Inc.
  • Miguel Morrison™ Cooking School, LLC
  • Isabella Ray® Home Culinary School, Inc.
  • Chef Julie® Cooking School, Inc.
  • Garry Bright© Catering School, Inc.
  • Georgina Paulson™ Cooking School, LLC
  • Jill Noel™ Cooking School, Inc.
  • Good Dish® Home Culinary School
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Cooking Class Business?

Even though there are several options when it comes to the business structure of a cooking class business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • General Business License
  • Fire and Safety Permit (Fire certificates)
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • State Occupational Licenses
  • Operational State Facility Inspections (Building Permits for your Kitchen)
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • Clean Health Certificate
  • Food handler Certification
  • Catering Training Certificate
  • Diploma – Culinary Arts
  • Diploma – Restaurant and Culinary Management
  • Diploma – Pastry and Baking Arts.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a cooking class (catering school) business, you may need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to challenge people in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties especially as it relates to your designs or logo et al.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?

When it comes to starting a cooking class business, the startup costs vary. It could range from $10,000 (home-based cooking class) to over $200,000 (standard cooking school). This is so because the startup inventory needed to start either on a small scale or large scale will greatly influence the overall cost of starting the business.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $3,300.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – $2,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $8,400.
  • Rent/Lease for small Commercial Kitchen – $35,000
  • Other start-up expenses like stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $10,000
  • Start-up Inventory – $15,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
  • Cooking and serving utensils – $15,000
  • Website: $600
  • Opening party: $3,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000.
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Cooking Class (Catering School) business?
  • The size of the cooking class business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the cooking class
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
  • The cost of insurance
  • The cost for registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the cooking class business.
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your cooking class (catering school) business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility for your cooking class business will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • Rent and lease
  • Supplies and inventory
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
  • Maintenance of cooking equipment
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Chef (President) – $55,000 Per Year
  • School Administrator – $40,000 Per Year
  • Chefs (Instructors) – $36,510 Per Year
  • Accountant (Cashier) – $28,500 Per Year
  • Customer Service Executive – $26,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Cook Pro™ Cooking School, Inc. is an accredited trade and technical school with a bias in training professional chefs, caterers, and cooks that will be located in Santa Monica, California. We are registered under the United States Government. We are well equipped to train people on various cooking skills that will help them meet international best practices as it relates to the industry.

b. Products and Service
  • Cooking classes
  • Pastry classes
  • Culinary training
  • Cocktail training
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to build a highly successful business venture; a cooking class (catering school) business whose brand will be known all around key cities in the United States of America.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to be among the top 3 cooking schools in the world.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a cooking class (catering school) business are to offer training in cooking and baking et al. These schools provide job-specific certifications to students.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Chef (President)
  • School Administrator
  • Chefs (Instructors)
  • Accountant (Cashier)
  • Customer Service Executive

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Ideal location for a cooking class (catering school) business
  • Highly experienced and qualified faculty members (instructors) and management
  • Access to finance from business partners
  • Excellent student testimonials.
  • Unique cooking teaching approach and styles
  • Financial Constraints
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established cooking class brands.
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced and qualified teachers longer than we want.
  • A rise in people who want to join the cooking school trends
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets
  • Increase of the numbers of the human population within our target market area.
  • The arrival of a new cooking class business within our market space
  • Unfavorable government policy and regulations.
  • Steady wage expenses
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
b. How Do Cooking Class (Catering School) Businesses Make Money?

Cooking class (catering school) businesses make money by charging students tuition fees and also the issuance of certificates.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community-based events/programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
  • Install your Bill Boards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your cooking class (catering school) business in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your cooking class (catering school) business on your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your cooking class business is located.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?

The average cost for cooking classes is $45 per hour. When hiring a chef to teach you to cook, you will likely spend between $25 and $100 on each lesson. The price of cooking classes can vary greatly by region.

Please note that virtual cooking classes generally cost between $5 and $300.

b. How Much Profit Do Cooking Class (Catering School) Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but available reports show that on the low end, cooking school owners could expect to earn around $35,000 per year, while the most successful cooking school could bring in around $120,000 in annual income or more.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the cooking class business
  • The location of the cooking class business (online or offline)
  • The management style of the cooking class business
  • The business approach of the cooking class business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the cooking class business.
  • The number of years the cooking class business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?

Cooking class businesses gain a handful of profit on all their students- margins usually range from 20 percent to around 60-70 percent. So, the revenue you would be making will be based on sales made by you monthly and the expenses that you incur while running the class.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $240,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $350,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $480,000
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for cooking classes in the location
  • The purchasing power of residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of cooking class businesses and other trade schools in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • Santa Monica, California
  • Bridgeview, Illinois
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Hollywood, California
  • Albany, New York
  • Van Wert, Ohio
  • West Chester, Ohio
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • Chicago, Illinois
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?

You will need a 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 (countertop, sink, ice machine, etc.) and teaching aids.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard cooking class (catering school) business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief chef (president), school administrator, cashier (accountant, chefs (cooking instructors), and cleaners.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no cooking class (catering school) business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the cooking class business, you will officially inform people in your city that your cooking class is open for business.

a. What Makes a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location to launch the business
  • Hire only competent cooking instructors
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your cooking class business
  • Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • The school is open for the day’s work
  • Students are given different lectures and practical sessions
  • Administrative jobs are carried out
  • The school is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Cooking Class (Catering School) Business?
  • Excellent Culinary Skills
  • Creativity
  • Cleanliness and Organization Skills
  • Time Management Skills
  • Excellent customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Work experience in a cooking school and trade school environment
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration.