Hi. It’s Joe here from Rouxbe.
As many of you know, over 4 years ago we set out to create something different – an online cooking school where motivated home cooks could learn to cook better. That was, and will continue to be, our focus here at Rouxbe.com.
To date, we have students in over 200 countries. Our site is used by thousands of home cooks, professional cooking school students, restaurant and hotel training programs, and even students in high school culinary programs from Canada to Australia.
We are very grateful to you, our student and customer, for your belief in what our team has created. We hope it has helped in some small (or big) way.
In the coming days, some important changes are about to occur that will require all users to select from one of our paid tuition plans in order to access all of our content. We will no longer be offering free access to close to 500 of our instructional videos. Below I would like to explain the reasons behind this important decision, but before I do, I’d like to share with you the two guiding principles that we use at Rouxbe to determine everything we do.
Content will be king! Our instructional content will be the best. We will constantly aim to create content with the highest educational value in mind and will not compromise by cutting corners or producing content based merely on popularity. To date, we have spent millions of dollars on our premium video content and we will continue to spend millions more in order to continue your education.
User experience will never be compromised. The Rouxbe Cooking School will be built for the user, not advertisers. We will focus solely on content and services that help our students become better and more confident cooks.
While we are certainly happy with our success to date and the feedback we have received from our students, success has led us to make one very important decision:
To continue to offer the best online culinary education, we need to start charging for access to ALL of our content and services. In short, we need to focus our teaching resources on those that pay for the service.
This includes all of the cooking school lesson content, step-by-step video recipes and tip and technique video content. This change will take place sometime over the next ten days or so. Please click back to Rouxbe.com periodically or follow our blog for updates.
This is a big change from the current basic membership offering where about half of our 1,000 videos are available to non-paid members.
Why the change?
The simple answer is that we are currently giving away too much content for free (about half of our content). It costs a lot of money to create our premium instructional content and we feel it’s worth the small investment to access it (read sample testimonials here). Learning to cook better will actually save you more money than the cost of membership alone and compared to other professional cooking classes, it’s dirt cheap. And when you become a student at the Rouxbe Cooking School, you can watch the content any time of the day, as many times as you like – something not possible with any other offline cooking class. Some might not know this, but in order to create an average cooking school lesson, we invest 2 to 3 weeks of production time from four or five chefs, writers and production personnel, to write, shoot and then edit each lesson in our cooking school. On top of that, we then have to pay the costs associated with delivering this content over the Internet to the homes and workplaces of our students. In order to continue to invest in new content and its delivery, we have only two viable options, in our opinion: go to an advertising model OR switch to a straight subscription service.
We chose a straight subscription service over an advertising model because it provides a better user experience (no ads in your face and/or content production that focuses on product placement rather than on delivering educational value). Equally important, a subscription model enables us to continue to offer exceptional customer service and chef support to our committed students. Since we launched our site, our team of chefs have answered tens of thousands of cooking-related questions. And, while we are certainly not perfect in getting back to every single question within a few hours, this is a standard we are working towards, as we feel that feedback is an important component to any learning process. At present, about one-third of our customer support time is spent with non-paying members. As we continue to scale in size, this will continue to erode our ability to deliver the best educational service to paying members.
We aim to be the best online culinary education site – not the biggest. The ad model only works if you are one of the biggest sites.
Will there be any content for non-paid users?
The short answer is no. We will be offering a few sample videos, along with a free 7-day trial for new users to check out the site and content. All text recipes along with recipe and lesson preview videos will remain free.
How will the free 7-day trial work?
Students that would like to try the Rouxbe Cooking School can sign up for a free 7-day trial membership. Trial membership, which will require a valid credit card, will provide students with full access to the entire Rouxbe site during the trial period. Students will not be billed until day 8 after their trial. Two days before the first charge to their credit card, all students will be reminded of the pending charge with instructions on how to cancel their trial before billing occurs.
Why are we asking for a credit card in advance?
As mentioned above, we are not looking to be the largest site on the planet. While we love helping out anyone that is struggling in the kitchen, we have to focus our time and effort on working with students that are truly motivated to learn to cook better. In our mind, students that are not willing to invest at least $15 per month to access over 65 professional cooking classes (and growing) complete with chef support, are simply not motivated. Make sense? We hope so, as we certainly don’t mean to send out the message that we think we are the best thing since sliced bread. We simply want to fully commit to those that make a modest monetary commitment to us. If we simply focus on driving traffic and a lot of new, non-paid users to our site, this will only take our attention away from providing an exceptional education – including one-on-one chef support – to those that really want to improve their cooking skills.
Will there be any additional services provided in the future?
Yes! In addition to many more lessons, we are also in the process of developing some new features that may include live classroom discussions with Rouxbe Chefs, a certification program where students can graduate through various levels, and a personalized learning path for those that might need a little more one-on-one assistance to help move them toward whatever cooking goal(s) they are trying to achieve.
Thanks in advance for your understanding. For those who have considered joining Rouxbe in the past, now is the time to ask yourself if you truly want to learn to improve your cooking skills. What you learn here at Rouxbe will transform your cooking and recipe experiences from any of your favorite recipe resources.
If so, sign up right now, receive 25% off the annual price.
Cancel anytime. Tuition is guaranteed.
If you feel that you simply can’t afford to join the school, email me directly at jgirard @ rouxbe.com and I’d be happy to schedule some time to chat with you. Cooking is a life long skill that will save you money and we’d welcome the opportunity to validate this with you. If you feel it’s just too expensive, then I’m telling you right now that Rouxbe is simply not for you. There are plenty of great free online resources and I’ll even email you a few links if you send me a note. In both cases, please mention “request for membership chat” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to comment below or drop us a note using the contact link on the bottom of any page at Rouxbe.com. Both Dawn and myself (Co-founders) read every contact form that is sent into Rouxbe. We will get back to you.
(Click on video below for message from Joe)