Hertfordshire Catering Ltd.
Hertfordshire Catering Limited (HCL) is an education catering company (originally part of the Hertfordshire County Council) based in Hertfordshire. They pride themselves on providing healthy and nutritious school meals to primary and secondary school children across the region. We started working with HCL after winner the tender for the design and build of their new company website.
Aims & Ambitions
At the time, this was one of the largest projects we had undertaken with a vast audience. HCL cater for over 400 schools in the area so that meant that thousands of children, parents and teachers would be accessing the website daily.
The brief for the website was to be fun, different, stand out from the saturated market competitors and appeal to all audiences from children to parents to HCL staff and school leaders. The website is colourful, playful and lighthearted to suit the all without alienating the more professional user. It carries a lot of information about produce, suppliers and food standards. It also houses over 400 individual school pages where their menu and any special events are shown.
There are several points of interaction on the website including menu rating where children can have their say on their school meals and vote for their favourite foods and also a dedicate children’s page for drawings, fun and games. There is an interactive events calendar to show what events are coming up and special theme days in the schools. There is a staff log in area where they can access important staff policies and documents from home.
The HCL website is an ever developing project and we are currently working with the company to develop an online special menu request system for parents who have children with food allergies or intolerances. This is due to launch in early 2016 and will the first system of it’s kind in the industry.
Over a 12 week period after the HCL website was first launched and promoted, the website received over 4,000 hits with 14,200 page visits. This was a real win for HCL as they were establishing themselves as a separate company, away from their previous ties with Hertfordshire Council.
Using analytics and user behaviour monitoring including heat mapping, we discovered that one of the hottest areas on the site was vacancies. It was the most visited page one the website, as a direct result HCL has appointed 40 new members of staff.
The website has been a great success for the business and has been recognised as a premium marketing tool by several prestigious industry awards. This has not only boosted the business profile of HCL and their clients but has also attracted a lot of attention from industry leaders.
The website also features an online vacancies application for people who want to work for HCL. This is something that we later developed into a much grander project to help the in house team manage the high numbers of job applications. They needed a solution that was going to reduce the amount of time spent processing vacancies.
We designed and developed a staff portal for vacancies to allow HCL managers to log into the system and mange the application process of their candidates. They can reject candidates, invite them for interview and choose to employ them all in one place. The system sends out communications to the applicant to keep them informed as to their status in the process and also keeps the manager undated with any new applications that come in.
The Good Food Club
Following the great success of HCL in it’s first two years of business, they have been able to work with the council and public heath leaders to generate a new food culture for the children in their schools. Together, they have developed an initiative called ‘The Good Food Club’ in which children in selected schools can sign up to join the club. An activity pack is then sent out to their school for them to complete 12 cooking, growing and activity tasks. The idea is to change child and family attitudes to food and living a healthy lifestyle.
We have worked closely with HCL to develop an online log in area for each child involved in The Good Food Club. This log in area includes an online task list where the child can upload a photo of them completing the task and shows their pack progress. Once they have completed all of their tasks, they will get a certificate and will be able to receive the next pack with new tasks to complete.
The Good Food Club has seen over 5000 children register since March 2015, with 23 Primary Schools taking part. The scheme has so far been nominated for two leading industry awards and is now in it’s second phase, rolling out to more schools in early 2016.
Over the past two years we have been managing HCL’s social media accounts including their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and You Tube pages. During this time we have worked hard to increase their followers and audience interactions by sharing popular stories, industry related news, interesting ingredients and recipes and HCL news and information. We used the social pages for recruitment, hosting event pages and boosting posts to maximise impressions and interactions with great results and increased visits to the website. We also regularly launch competitions for #FruityFriday to engage with the staff and schools were cooks can send in their photos of fruit sculptures they have created in schools to get more children interested in enjoying fruit and vegetables, it’s one of their most popular features and always receives high ‘like’ and ‘share’ numbers.Back to Case Studies