How Cooking Classes Can Build Your Restaurant Brand
Give your chefs the opportunity to shine. Since Frank is the face of Bonanno concepts, he loves that cooking classes give his chefs an chance to engage face-to-face with guests. “I think sometimes the chefs are a little overshadowed by my name, so this gives them the opportunity to sit with people,” says Frank. “It helps them get their name out there.”
Plus, since the chefs have freedom to choose the subject of the classes, they can have true ownership of the event. Frank says one of his chefs held a crock pot class and had four crock pots going at once in preparation. “He was so excited to do it.”
Don’t be afraid to be scrappy. If you think you need a dedicated space to hold a cooking class, think again. Frank’s team hosts them in the various restaurants and sets up tables for the group and Bunsen burners for the demonstrations. At Bones, he has a counter that makes a great stage for a cooking class, but he makes it work at the other restaurants, too.
“We try to do something that fits the theme of the restaurant,” he says. “I did a lobster mac and cheese class at Mizuna; at Smokehouse, [Chef] Ryan [Higgins] is doing a rubs and sauces class.”
Additionally, the classes fill up without much marketing effort on the part of Bonanno Concepts. Frank promotes the series in his newsletter to guests, but since the classes are relatively small (12 to 15 people) they sell out quickly.
“We’ll show you three or four dishes, and as we make them we put them up for everybody to eat,” says Frank. “They’re not really hands-on, but they are intimate.”