March 6, 2019 |
Many countries such as Italy, Thailand and Japan are known for their traditional dishes, and tourist offices all over the world are now offering more and more cooking classes to introduce interested visitors to the local cuisines. Thai start-up Cookly, which was founded in 2015, jumped on the bandwagon and wants to profit from the growing trend of food travel. Through its platform, users can currently book cooking classes in more than 30 countries worldwide: whether it’s making pasta in Rome, learning traditional Balinese cooking in Ubud, or practising the art of lime-curing ceviche in Lima.
Cookly was founded by German national Benjamin Ozsanay, French native Etienne Marleau-Rancourt and Thai national Kowit Charoenratchatabhan. The start-up has its headquarters in Bangkok; however, hardly any of the 30 employees work in the Cookly office in the Thai capital, says CEO Ozsanay. The company’s employees are spread all over the world and work remotely. Before joining Cookly, the now 31-year-old founded the app development tool Polar Labs and travelled across Asia, and has experience with this modern form of working. “You have to be much more organised, especially in communication, if you want to succeed with a remote working arrangement,” he says of his international team.
In two small rounds of financing over the past two years, Cookly has received money from the Thai offshoot of venture capitalist 500 Startups and from Poramin Insom, head of cryptocurrency of Zcoin. The monetisation strategy of the company is quite simple: the portal keeps a fee of 20%, on average, per booking. Service providers can list their classes for free and only pay the fee in case a booking is made. In 2017, the average shopping cart for a cooking class in Europe was worth about 250 euros, according to Cookly. The company has not yet revealed any financials, but according to statements, it is on its way to profitability.
The platform currently lists more than 1,000 courses in over 130 cities. So far, the majority of the clientele comes from Germany, says the co-founder. The startup is currently also building up its network in the USA and South America to drive further growth. However, Cookly does not want to avoid regions that do not have typical or varied cuisines, according to Ozsanay. There, cooking classes for locals will be offered to introduce them to popular dishes from other countries.
Cookly does not only provide a platform for independent chefs to earn some extra bucks, but smart restaurateurs can profit from its service as well. On one hand a restaurant’s online visibility and marketing reach increases by listing itself on Cookly, and on the other hand it allows the restaurant to engage on a much more personal level with its customers.
Restaurants with reliable downtimes can especially use the platform to organise cooking classes during times of the day where the venue is usually near empty and service is very slow. As cooking classes need to be pre-booked, the food cost calculation is easy which helps to boost profitability. A platform like Cookly is definitely a great opportunity for chefs and restaurateurs alike to not only increase brand awareness but also to participate in the global food tourism movement.
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