Meet Midtown Atlanta Young Chefs Academy Franchise Owner Lynlee Bradley
Former employee liked the business and its potential so much that she wound up purchasing her own franchise in a high-growth Atlanta neighborhood
“I liked working there so much I bought the company.” It’s an old line of ad copy, but it’s true for Lynlee Bradley, who owns the Young Chefs Academy kids cooking school franchise in the Midtown area of Atlanta.
Bradley has been involved with Young Chefs for five years now, “loving it from day one.” She’s worked as everything from weekend teacher’s assistant and location operator to full-time franchise owner. She loves the creativity the kids bring to the classes, as well as how the business fuels her own passions.
What were you doing before you discovered Young Chefs Academy?
I went to culinary school for baking and have a degree in pastry making. Anything to do with cooking has always been a passion of mine, so I have had many restaurant and bakery jobs. I also really love kids and had always wished I could find something that would connect those things. That’s why Young Chefs Academy has been life-changing for me.
You spent some time in franchise locations; what made you decide to become an owner?
I was able to build a relationship with parents and their kids, and then with the siblings of those first kids when they became old enough for classes. To be part of that from a customer-service standpoint, as well as learning how to manage this business, was very special for me. I also realized that I was more and more working for myself, which was nice. Becoming an owner just continued that line of thinking.
What’s your favorite activity while running the business?
I love being there when we are teaching children essential cooking skills at a very young age. They spend so much time in front of television and video games, and this takes them away from that and shows them how to cook good food and eat in a healthier way.
It is so much fun to see them prepare a meal they can serve to their parents and families. For many people, dinner can be a real ordeal. Some of these parents tell me their kid is a really picky eater, and then we create a safe and fun environment where they learn more about food. They wind up actually liking something they didn’t before. We have seen some very amazed parents leave here!
How easy is this business to run?
It’s very simple. The corporate team gives you all the tools you need, all the equipment you need. They write the recipes and design all the teaching platforms and curriculum for the classes, camps and workshops.
They also work with us on new ideas, so we have input as opposed to just taking what’s given with no chance for feedback. We are always encouraged to come up with our own ideas, but at the same time we owners realize how hard they have worked on marketing, curriculum and design. There is a style to a birthday party, or a camp. There are teaching points that need to be covered, and we can be a little flexible in there as well. I’m a pastry chef, so I always have ideas about cake decorating or French pastry workshops. This is a business that gives you a roadmap to follow while also celebrating your uniqueness and your own flair.
What do your revenue stream and growth trajectory look like?
It’s very broad, which is good. We have income generated by the classes, camps, workshops and birthday parties — there are many ways to capture business. We also have partnered with both the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, which was a creative way to bring in more income.
We have almost doubled our membership within the past year, and we anticipate that we can double it again and keep on going. We have a lot of things planned and are at a place where we can add even more to the schedule. Things here are really good now — and looking even better for the future!
Through classes, workshops and camps, Young Chefs Academy takes kids into the kitchen and teaches them not just how to cook, but also how to work independently and as a team to master new skills. A Young Chefs Academy franchise is a fun, scalable and profitable business providing a rewarding enrichment opportunity that kids and parents love.