About the client
Green Fig Catering Company have been a client for quite a few years. We designed their first website and have been marketing it for them ever since, with a lot of success. So, when they were approached by a large local business to provide onsite catering services, they came to us for help.
The Virtual Canteen
Paxton Access Ltd a Brighton based security door specialist were in the process of building a new state of the art canteen for their staff at the Brighton headquarters. But they couldn’t do the same at their Eastbourne manufacturing plant as it just wasn’t possible. Paxton wanted a way to provide high quality, fresh food for the Eastbourne staff and wanted to use a local company to do this.
They found Green Fig via their existing website and realised that they could definitely provide the right type and quality of food. What they didn’t have, however, was a way for the staff to order their food. Just sending an email or calling wasn’t going to cut it.
Green Fig needed a way for Paxton staff to be able to browse and select the food they wanted and place orders in advance. They also needed a way to collate and process all the orders they would get; while Paxton needed a way to oversee everything as well as allocating orders to their staff. They would receive a discount to the cost of the food, deducted straight from their wages at source.
This is definitely something a little more complex than your standard WordPress website.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
With these types of projects the first thing we need to do is plan, then plan some more. Planning may seem boring, but it is essential. And in particular with this type of project. There are so many variables and they all need to be documented. We look to create with the client, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This details the minimum working system that the client needs, a phase one if you like. This will work perfectly and do what you want it to, but also allow you to use the system and find out what works well and what doesn’t. Then you can add the bells and whistles if you need to.
In this case the MVP was to provide a secure ordering facility for Paxton staff, where they could select from a range of fresh food, delivered daily. Green Fig needed to be able to add and remove food items, changing the selections and setting out weekly menus. They also need a system to manage all orders and automatically print these for production. Paxton needed to be able to manage staff and give discounts to them.
We decided on a bespoke website application designed and built in WordPress & Vue.js.
WordPress handles the user information and gives Green Fig Catering Company an easy to use Dashboard which they are familiar with. It allows them to change the menus, remove food that is unavailable and manage the data coming from the application.
The menu picker was created in Vue.js. This allowed us to handle the data coming from the forms in a seamless and real time manner for the end user. Using Vue.js here gave Sokada the seamless real time feel to the application, giving the user a “mobile app” feel but inside of the website.
The project has three distinct areas, all with bespoke requirements of the project. Here are a few examples we had to consider:
- The system needs to be secure, with individual user/staff logins
- The system must be easy to use and work equally well on a desktop PC or mobile device
- A user must be able to order any selection of food, daily, a month in advance
- Users must be able to cancel orders easily, prior to a daily deadline
- There must be a method for reviewing the food provided
Admin interface (Green Fig)
- Easy to use system for adding food items, based around weekly menus
- Menus would include multiple food types, such as salads, baguettes, soups and desserts
- All with optional elements such as types of bread and salad dressings
- Daily notifications of orders for the next day
- An order management system allowing for bulk processing of orders
- Automated manufacturing lists to allow for fresh food to be created accurately
- Order overview to allow for quick profit and cost calculations
- To allow for new users to be added and access granted
- Facility to track staff usage and calculate food cost deductions from monthly wages
- Facility to review how happy staff are with the system
Food Heaven or Food Hell!
Well there was a tight deadline which meant working over Christmas and New Year. But the facility was launched on time. A soft launch period enabled all three parties to work together, to find and fix any issues; of which there were surprisingly few. Great communication and attention to detail and of course effective planning meant that the project was delivered to a very high standard.
Initial food sales were slow but once staff members realised how easy it was to use and that it worked, these have now risen dramatically. Food reviews are very good. Green Fig react quickly to comments to keep Paxton staff happy, which really helps this.
Paxton are really pleased because their Eastbourne staff get fantastic fresh food delivered daily, so they aren’t missing out.
We are happy because we still get the occasional tray of brownies at meetings!