Design and Development of a Restaurant Management App and a Recommendation Platform
About this project
In running a restaurant business, the food is just a small part of the equation – passionate restaurant owners often learn this fact the hard way. There’s delivery service, orders, booking systems, food waste management, hiring, administration and many, many more areas that they need to manage on a daily basis.
Even though there’s a digital solution for every job to be done, operating dozens of applications at the same time – and onboarding the staff to use the right ones – can consume precious time and increase the risk of human error.
Meanwhile, restaurant goers don’t want to miss an opportunity to dine in top-rated dining spots. Lurking on recommendations in popular apps is usually the first step to find a venue, but the number of reviews doesn’t quite translate into their credibility. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority research stated that fake reviews influence £23bn in consumer spending each year.
A day in the life of a restaurant owner: a new beginning
It was a real-life experience that triggered the idea of supporting restaurant businesses. Andrea Tassistro, the co-founder of Foodetective, saw shady practices in the industry for himself:
“I used to run a food truck company in Switzerland called ‘Green Van’. It turned out that after three months we were selling 1000 burgers a day. Obviously, the competition wasn't pleased with that fact, they visited our site and wrote bad comments about us. We did a little research and discovered that the people who wrote it had never tried our burgers”.
It was time for a new player on the market: a curated recommendation directory and all-in-one management platform to empower restaurant owners in running their businesses.
Boosting profitability for F&B businesses
Foodetective aggregates all kinds of restaurant management services in one place (thanks to an open API and a developer portal) and enables restaurant owners to manage their businesses using a single platform.
It brings all food tech ecosystems into one place; such as delivery service, takeaway orders, catering, booking system, mobile payments, and many more. It also lets food tech solutions be integrated without any hassle.
Restaurant owners can use Foodetective For Business to design, set up, and manage their activities across multiple sales channels. The platform helps them to orchestrate crucial services and focus on the core business: providing the best quality food to customers.
Foodetective is also a global foodie community that connects users to the best dining spots in their proximity. The app helps find the perfect venue based not only on basic criteria like destination or cuisine, but also adjusts the search to more individual preferences, e.g. dietary restrictions or type of meeting (family, business, date, etc.).
Thanks to AI implementation, users also get personalized recommendations on where to eat based on their previous behaviour.
All reviews posted on Foodetective are created by vetted professionals and food lovers. A collection of credible recommendations gathered by Food Detective’s makes the product stand out from their popular competitors.
Many user groups, two platforms, one project
The goal of the project was to build two intertwined products for the food & beverage industry. The first one would be a leading recommendation platform with honest and trustworthy food reviews, which helps users to find the best match for their lunch. The other would be a one-stop-shop and data aggregator for business owners, which would help owners deal with numerous processes in the restaurant.
The aims of the project included:
- Designing a more intuitive interface to outperform the existing monopoly services
- Integrating a large amount of third-party tools within one platform: bookings, delivery, takeaway orders, mobile payments, queue management, and catering companies
- Choosing the technology that would allow for web and mobile integration
To dine or not to dine: project challenges
The services provided by Netguru included: UX/UI design, web development (frontend and backend), React Native development for iOS and Android as well as further maintenance of the whole platform. To help the client approach new markets, Netguru ran a product discovery workshop.
The technology behind the project posed a particular challenge because of the original metasearch engine that would process criteria like "perfect for a meeting with your mom” or "vegetarian in London”.
At the same time, the UX/UI team needed to find ways to simplify a complex, technologically advanced platform for a non-tech-savvy user base of the B2B tool.
The developers needed to tackle the aggregation of multiple third party providers. The two integrations worth an extra mention include Sendgrid for email automation and Stripe for online payments.
To secure all bases for the multi-platform application, the developers implemented an intricate testing process. The design assumed six types of users for different interfaces (admin, web, mobile), which required particularly advanced testing paths.
When developing the platform for Android and iOS devices, the team came up with a simple yet smart idea to optimize the time and cost. To avoid correcting the same bugs twice, they decided to desynchronize their work by starting iOS development two weeks after Android.
Results: the sweet reward
With more than two years of hard work, we were able to accelerate the product’s potential and accomplish several milestones:
- Centralizing the entire restaurant management in one app,
- Developing a customer-friendly platform with a strong database of proven food businesses,
- Creating a proprietary metasearch engine capable of making highly personalized recommendations like "perfect for the first date", "perfect to eat with your boss" or "good for celiacs",
- Building an API to be shared with possible contributors in the future.
Foodetective aims to become a standard for the food tech industry.
- 1.89M restaurants in database
- 15000+ businesses listed online
- 91 cities in selection
- 150000+ users
- 1200 reviewers
- 28 months of work on the project