I would love to start teaching cooking classes to kids, ages 5 and up, at my restaurants but have no clue how to get started.
– Marketing Manager, QSR
In short: don’t. Especially with kids. Teaching can be a great way to build visibility and loyalty for your brand, show off your talents, and generate additional revenue. But to do this in a foodservice operation brings with it more risks than benefits. First, you are insured as a restaurant—if a guest slips in the dining room or an employee cuts herself in the kitchen you could deal with it. But if I kid gets hurt in the kitchen? The lawyers would have a field day. Further, many municipalities like New York City have language in the health department regulations specifically forbidding visitors in food preparation areas. Children are not known for their ideal sanitation practices.
That said, the idea of teaching is a good one—just not at your restaurant. Partner with someone in the education business already—a school, youth program, cooking school or community college to bring your expertise, brand strength and energy to their site. You may earn less overall but can focus on keeping the restaurant doing what it does best—serving food and beverage—and build some partnerships that may benefit everyone.
More on restaurateurs teaching cooking classes here.