Restaurant launches online cookery school after upskilling through DigitalBoost

A restaurant has expanded its offering online during COVID-19 with the launch of a cookery school and takeaway service, after engaging with Business Gateway and DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital training programme.

The Inn at Kippen is based in Forth Valley and was taken over by partners Paul Smith and Laura Carey in November 2019. Prior to the pandemic, Paul and Laura engaged with Business Gateway and identified that the business would benefit from a digital marketing strategy. They were able to access 1:1 support through DigitalBoost and were introduced to a local expert who reviewed and updated the Inn at Kippen website and provided guidance on using social media platforms.

After lockdown was introduced, Paul and Laura used this knowledge to launch an online cookery school via Facebook Live. They delivered an average of 65 packs a week to customers, with thousands of people watching the demonstration online where Paul showed viewers how to cook and plate a restaurant quality meal.

Alongside this, they also introduced a takeaway service, ‘Inn the Hoose’, a five-course tasting menu promoted through Facebook.

Through this expanded offering, Paul and Laura were able to remain active and keep the business going.

“We are incredibly thankful that we engaged with Business Gateway, and our adviser Simon, from the start. They gave us the confidence we needed to try something new, and without them, I am not sure how we would have approached lockdown. While the new restrictions have posed a challenge, as our business isn’t currently eligible for funding under the updated guidance, we remain focused on identifying ways we can adapt to ensure the survival of our business over the winter.

Paul and Laura also accessed start-up support through Business Gateway and received 1:1 support from a business adviser. They received guidance on their premises, with Business Gateway providing advice about how to take on their lease. Their adviser also invited them to attend relevant events prior to the pandemic to help them broaden and deepen relationships across Stirlingshire.

Simon Orr, Adviser, Business Gateway, said: “Like many other businesses across the hospitality sector, Paul and Laura were massively impacted by lockdown and the closure of their business. However, they have approached the situation head-on and provided a brilliant service to their customers across Forth Valley and beyond.

“Their story really shows the benefits of investing in your online channels, particularly during this period where a strong digital strategy is a vital asset for businesses. While it may not be an area everyone is knowledgeable about, the DigitalBoost programme, alongside the wide package of Business Gateway support, is there to help you upskill and develop your online channels and get the most out of your website, social media platforms, and more.”

For more information about Business Gateway or DigitalBoost, please visit

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