Many people may think that they can run a restaurant, but the truth is the restaurant industry is much tougher than it looks. Even when run successfully, restaurant margins are slim compared to other industries due to high operational costs. On average, restaurant profits margins range from 2-6%, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for error if you want to keep your doors open.
You may have seen the statistic that more than half of all restaurants fail within their first year of operation. Investing in culinary school education can help teach you valuable business skills that could be the difference between failure and success.
Learn How to Control Costs to Turn a Profit
Culinary school is about more than just learning cooking skills and techniques. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers culinary programs that explore the many facets of running a business. The Food and Beverage Operations program, for example, consists of a wide array of hospitality management and restaurant operations courses that can be completed 100% online, finishing with an in-person industry externship in your area.
Escoffier’s online degree and diploma programs in Culinary Arts include introductory courses focused on yield cost analysis, portion sizing, and how to reduce waste. For example, in the Culinary Foundations course, students analyze ways to minimize costs while still maintaining a full range of customer services.
Students dive deeper into these subjects in the Restaurant Operations course, where they are introduced to accounting and managing budgets, focusing specifically on metrics that are related to restaurants and other food and beverage businesses.
Tiffany Moore, a graduate of the online Culinary Arts program and entrepreneur, credits much of her business success to her education. She’s been able to apply many of the skills she learned at culinary school in her family’s catering business, Event Hall @ Cascade, and is in the process of launching her own restaurant, Lola Pecan.
“It’s definitely helped me learn the business side of becoming a chef, because it’s not all about ‘Oh, I just love cooking for people.’ There is a business to everything that you enjoy doing. Escoffier definitely taught me those skills.”
Tiffany Moore, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Graduate
Learn How to Effectively Manage Employees
Employee retention is notoriously low in the restaurant industry, so it’s important to have the managerial skills to deal with issues like high turnover. In Escoffier’s Restaurant Operations and Foodservice Management courses, students explore subjects like employee training and motivation, and how to create a safe and positive work environment.
Students getting a degree in culinary arts, baking & pastry, or food & beverage operations will also have the opportunity to learn about professional communications. This includes topics such as listening skills, verbal and nonverbal communication, conflict resolution, and cultural differences in communication. These skills are not only vital to communicating with your employees, but also maintaining good relationships with vendors and customers.
Escoffier Online Culinary Arts graduate Tiffany Moore attests to the importance of these managerial skills, and how they’ve helped her in her entrepreneurial efforts: “Anybody can say they are a chef. As far as the management portion, that is where Escoffier is really helping me actually run a restaurant, run a café, or run a business.”
Learn About Local Food Regulations
As part of the Culinary Arts program, Escoffier’s Culinary Foundations course spends time on food safety and sanitation, focusing on the importance of proper food handling, food storage, cleaning, and pest control. This course also takes you through material found on the ServSafe® exam with lecture, knowledge checks, and food safety-related quizzes.
Students getting an associate degree or online diploma in Culinary Arts will expand upon the basics in the Culinary Entrepreneurship course and dive further into business planning and government regulations in the food service industry.
Keep Up on Food Trends & Craft Creative Menus
In the Regional Cuisines course, Escoffier students explore the history and culture underlying various global cuisines. Students have the opportunity to learn to replicate classic dishes from Asia, the Middle East, as well as some North African recipes. This course also examines traditional foods of the Americas, including current food trends, and the culinary and cultural influences of Central America and the Caribbean.
Escoffier recognizes the increasing focus on sustainable foods in the restaurant industry is a trend that is here to stay. The Farm to Table Experience® focuses specifically on sustainable and locally-grown foods. It explores concepts such as traditional vs. nontraditional farming, as well as the impact of land and sea animal-based food sourcing as practiced globally. Studying at Escoffier exposes students to international food movements that helps entrepreneurs stay current in the culinary field.
A culinary education can also present you with important considerations to think about while planning menus, including things like sourcing ingredients and price analysis for menu items, as well as the menu’s visual design.
Network with Professionals and Find a Mentor
Culinary school is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs looking to start a restaurant or expand their business. Escoffier’s Chef Instructors have lots of varied experience in entrepreneurship, so there is an added value in learning and getting advice from them first-hand.
Additionally, there is the element of having a network of other students and alumni that you can draw from as you build your restaurant career, whether as a future business partner or hiring employees with experience. Many students in culinary school end up meeting fellow culinarians who become valuable friends or even business partners later in their careers.
Budding entrepreneurs Paire Pospisil and Julie Ratzesberger met while enrolled in Escoffier’s Culinary Arts program in Austin, Texas, and decided to start their own business together, a cafe and market called Elgin Local Goods. This is just one example of the many culinary students who benefit from the entrepreneurial environment at Escoffier.
And while there are arguments for learning on the job, culinary school provides an environment more conducive to learning, according to Anthony Avasakdi, Online Culinary Arts graduate and Manager of Culinary & Operator Support Services at Ventura Foods: “I always felt that it is important to have education on your side to reinforce what you get in the workforce. Learning in school and learning on the job are very much different from each other.”
Running a restaurant is hard work with many components. Examining the business side of things as a culinary school student can allow you to better see the whole picture and transfer those skills to your business ventures. Take the first step towards your business goals and request information today.
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