Shane Kost is the founder of Chicago Food Planet Tours. After establishing his own successful food tour business, he then founded Food Tour Pros to teach other entrepreneurs how to start their own food tour business. Shane will be speaking at Industry Day at the 2014 Food & Travel Expo on October 3rd. We asked him a few questions . . .
1. Tell us how you first got into food tourism.
I started Chicago Food Planet Food Tours in 2006– a mix of history, architecture, culture and, of course, tasting Chicago’s finest and most famous foods.
2. You then decided to share your knowledge by launching Food Tour Pros. Tell us about that company.
A lot of like-minded individuals contacted me prior to Food Tour Pros in search of answers to how best start their Food Tour Business. Most of them failed, or at least provided low value, low quality tours. We saw an opportunity to help industrious people make a successful living by providing them the tools they needed to succeed– so we started Food Tour Pros to fill in these gaps in 2009.
3. How have you seen food tourism change after doing this for nearly a decade?
The biggest change is how many people these days proactively look for food-related activities and tours when they travel, or even if they’re “staycationing”. Ten years ago I had to tell more than 90% of the people I met what a “Food Tour” was; now it’s down to about 25%.
4. What is your first advice to someone who is thinking about starting their own food tour?
They need to have a fun-loving, outgoing personality who truly enjoy people, food and tourism. These qualities tend to lead to superior, high-quality Food Tour Businesses.
5. What is your advice to foodies looking for a great tour experience?
Foremost, they should focus on supporting Food Tours in general as they are directly and indirectly supporting the local community and economy. After that, deciding on which tour experience meets their interests is crucial- don’t focus solely on how much food you’re hoping to receive, but on the quality as well. With so many high quality Food Tours now available, it’s hard to have a bad time.
For more information on the Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo on October 3-5, 2014, please visit http://tastetrekkers.com/expo.
You can also view scenes from the 2013 Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo below.