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Online and residential cookery courses

Ann Hood, past contestant of BBC Masterchef (January 2009), founded Ann's Smart School of Cookery in Essex in 2006, with the aim of sharing her passion for cooking with others. Over the years the school has gone from strength to strength, offering cookery adventures for everyone, whether it's a one-off lesson or a corporate event.

Client brief

Ann previously used an off-the-shelf booking system that was creaking at the seams. It was unable to adapt to new ways of customer bookings, where experience and voucher companies play a strong role, or to some of the particular requirements of Ann's business, such as booking extras alongside classes and sending recipe emails to customers. Angelfish was commissioned to provide a new bespoke booking system to address these shortcomings that would grow with the business.

Software functionality and application

Admin Site (back end)

  • Cloud-based system with password-restricted access for administrators.
  • Setup and manage class types (eg Breadmaking, Pizza masterclass) and events.
  • View and update event bookings and extras.
  • Send class lists with dietary requirements to chefs hosting the events.
  • Allow customers to view their bookings, add extras and change dates via a Customer Portal.
  • Set up and manage gift vouchers for experience companies (eg Wowcher) and Smart School direct vouchers.
  • A comprehensive suite of reports to manage the accounting associated with redemption of multiple voucher types.

Public Booking System

  • View available classes by type and date.
  • Select extras at the time of booking.
  • Book classes and pay by either card or voucher redemption.
  • Customers can log into a portal to view their bookings and purchase vouchers, including special offer vouchers made. available once they have attended a class.
  • Customers can log into Live Zoom video classes as well as attend classes in person.
  • Purchase Smart School vouchers that can be used to pay for bookings.

Angelfish comments

Smart School is a great example of a system that has developed from a relatively straightforward initial brief into a complex system that has evolved wirth Ann's business and manages the sometimes complex breadth of operations. We have seen her business adapt rapidly to unprecedented changes and her bespoke booking system has responded to each of these changes by providing the necessary functionality. A striking example of this was the rapid development of a Live Zoom class booking and viewing system at the time of the Coivd pandemic, when lockdown rules prevented any form of personal class and threatened the existence of many businesses.