Sample these statistics about obesity in children and adolescents aged between 2 and 19 years in the US:
- At 18.5% it affects close to 13.7 million children and adolescents.
- At 13.9% among 2 to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6 to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12 to 19-year-olds.
- (source: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html. Page last reviewed: June 24, 2019)
Susan Caldwell, Founder and CEO at Flour Power knew all about these too well, as also the struggles that go into getting out of obesity and getting into shape. She should. After all she did feature in People Magazine’s Annual “Half Their Size” issue having lost over 150 pounds. But then unlike others who bask in the glow of an achievement of a lifetime, she did something different, and profound! She began a youth fitness program to teach children about being healthy, which included cooking healthy.
What began in 2008 from a single location in Raleigh, grew organically to four corporate locations before farming out franchises in the year 2016. Today, Flour Power is paving its way ahead with 15 franchises in 7 states across the US. The most interesting part in its rise remains the fact that it all started in a gym.
Yes, the same gym where its owner Susan shed loads of her own weight using some serious ‘old fashioned ways’. Wanting to do things differently, on a hunch, she renovated half the gym into a Kids cooking studio. She was never to know then that it would be so popular that folks would line-up for her franchises.
Cut to the present, Flour Power, by its own admission rustles up amazing programs for events such as Birthdays, Weekly Classes, Camps, Adult Classes, Corporate Events, Kids Night Out Events, Virtual Classes and Etiquette Classes for the young, be they toddlers and pre-schoolers or even teens. And it is precisely here, behind the cooking stove that Flour Power does things with a flourish. They tell their audience everything about healthy cooking and eating, and doing it in ways that remains safe, secure, and acceptable for everyone.
Flour Power today is known for its network of franchise cooking studios which dole out the best advice on preparing the right food for the right reason and the right season with the right cohesion – if it is about health.
In doing so, they touch upon food in all its expanse right from the place where it is grown to the place where it is finally consumed. In its search for the ‘holy grail’ of food that satisfies the palate and the appetite, they touch upon areas as diverse as foods for parties (especially birthday parties, kids night-outs, out-door trips and camps etc.), events (mostly corporate events), and the likes. Flour Power teaches these using a mix of mediums and methodologies including weekly physical (currently virtual) classes and virtual classes.
Food as we all know is not only about easing our hunger. It is an art, a science and to some, a way of life. For these reasons and just so that people consume food with a certain respect, veneration and modesty, Flour Power even has Etiquette Classes which teaches everything to kids about how to cook, serve and consume the right food the right way.
In the food service industry, “good” goes beyond taste to include economics. To this end, Flour Power prefers to work with Franchise owners who have the right infrastructure and resources. A young guest walking through the front door should, according to them, leave feeling full and pleasant with the experience, is what they aspire for. And for that, every new franchise owner has to go thru a 40-hour formal training at Raleigh, NC in an actual studio training with kids which involves besides others, leading cooking classes, doing prep work and even hosting birthday parties.
So dedicated Flour Power is to give their little customers the right experience that even before the 40-hour program, that they conduct a ‘Jumpstart to Success Stages and Phases’ program, outlining steps to be taken immediately after the Franchise Agreement come about. This continues with an additional six weeks of online training and a marketing webinar with the Founder. Constant and much-needed handholding within a certain period of the studio going live, is a given.
Susan attributes the company’s success first to teamwork. Her franchise-owners, according to her constitute the best team possible whose commitment to succeed is just amazing and flows through to every part of the organization. The other thing, she says, is Flour Power’s commitment to customers delight.
From being a role model to new staff and franchise owners, to having college interns come to their studios to learn more about how things take place and how the business works in the real world, everything is designed and executed with utmost care and caution for the benefit of the general public.
With children forever drooling at the sight of good food, and health being a perennial concern, she plans to introduce healthy cooking and eating to as many as possible. Flour Power has recently approved to sell franchises in Illinois, Virginia and Maryland and has applied for franchises in New York, Minnesota, Indiana, and Wisconsin besides the south-eastern states in the US. If these were not enough, enticing the cook in every child would be, a Flour Power Studio on wheels which won’t wait for children to come to them but would go right where they are.
Flour Power is here to stay and grow. Because good habits, including cooking and eating right, ought to start early.