Cooking classes, demonstrations and workshops continue to be an integral part of the independent gourmet housewares segment. It is not only an additional revenue stream for the independent channel, but cooking classes and workshops help to create the in-store experience that consumers have come to demand.
Cooking classes, too, allow retailers an additional point of purchase for hard lines. Demonstrating product while in a class or workshop allows consumers to widen the breadth of their product knowledge. Additionally, it may also encourage a consumer who may have previously been intimidated by a product to make a purchase for at-home use.
For the 60% of respondents who have cooking schools, 10.7% said they offer multiple classes per day, while the majority (35.1%) said they offer classes multiple times per week.
For those retailers who do not have a cooking school, getting creative with cooking classes has seemingly been beneficial. One of the ways to take advantage of creating a cooking experience with customers without a cooking school is through the use of cookbook classes. In these classes, customers all cook at home from the same cookbook and then meet at the store. A potluck-type dinner takes place and the customers learn tips and tricks from each other, as well as the store owner, manager or event head. Not only does this create an experience for customers, but it helps connect them to others in the community that are also interested in food, beverage and cooking skills.
Demonstrations have also proved important to retailers without a cooking school and 34.5% of those respondents noted that they plan to hold workshops and demonstrations. While full classes may not be feasible, being able to demonstrate a product in front of customers is not only beneficial for potential purchases, but it also becomes a point of entry for interaction.
Vendor-driven classes and workshops have continued to be important to the independent housewares segment. These classes and workshops help create buzz among customers and retailers tout these special events as ways to drive more in-store traffic. Additionally, the presence of an expert as well as a brand/product ambassador gets the consumer excited, especially if they are a brand loyalist.
While cooking classes are pinned as an experience — whether it’s date night out or a gathering of friends — they are also important educational tools for gourmet housewares retailers. It is these experiences that position the staff as a knowledgeable resource for questions and concerns. It is also a way for those teaching the classes to show off the right tools and techniques.
According to those retailers who responded to the State Of The Industry survey, there are several types of classes that have increased in popularity during 2019. Knife skills classes continue to be tops in the industry, followed by ethnic cooking and pasta making classes.
Workshops, however, take a bit of a different path. Many popular workshops are complementary to the housewares business and encompass entertaining aspects. These include calligraphy, cheese and charcuterie and flower arrangements.