Case Study: Web-based software product for the restaurant industry
Clients: US-based entrepreneurs
Business goals: Early market entry with a B2C product for restaurant reservations and dynamic pricing services
Product: The front end comprises a responsive website created with Bootstrap. The back end is based on PHP and contains logic with complex calculations.
9 months of full-cycle software development led us to delivery of a Web-based B2C product for the restaurant industry. It's a platform for dynamic pricing services and reservations at restaurants. One of our main goals was to consult the clients and help them form and elaborate their ideas, creating a properly documented product vision.
A few words from the Client
"It has been a great experience working with MobiDev, they are a talented, creative and professional team. Communication was excellent and they always found great solutions to every challenge we faced throughout our project. It felt like having our own "in-house" IT department, only better given the size of their team and their strong technical skills. We will engage them again soon for the second stage of our project. You can't go wrong choosing them as your development partner."
Input & objectives
This project was initiated by two co-founders: an experienced entrepreneur and PR expert, and a banker, her husband. They approached us with an idea to unite restaurants and diners under a new B2C platform. It would allow restaurants to increase their revenues and occupancy during peak and off-peak hours. Diners would receive offers from restaurants according to rich customizable preferences; it would be an opportunity to either get discounts during off-peak hours or pay surcharges and book tables during prime dining time. The entire system would revolve around the idea of dynamic pricing.
Our main objective at the earliest stages was to help the clients form their ideas into a cohesive and well-documented vision. Then we assembled a project team and provided full-cycle product development from scratch. Afterwards, we launched it together with a marketing campaign, adjusting the product to the needs of early adopters.
Finally, at all times we helped take the clients' ideas to new levels, in terms of both technology and functionality. We facilitated the process with our abilities to find and implement optimal tech solutions, offering ways of saving the budget from unnecessary expenses and remaining flexible.
One of the most distinctive things about this restaurant app development project lay in continuous changes in product requirements, even late in development. The most natural solution was a dedicated team and quick start of development that would be guided further with easy communication chains. The team had to demonstrate flexibility and rapid focus shifts for frequent cases of need. The roster varied according to workload, but generally included:
We agreed to start from UI/UX design; it would help us clarify the logic and product requirements. The client had a huge amount of ideas, one better than the other, and we could test and prioritize them on the spot. Vital project artifacts—including user stories and acceptance criteria—were created at the UI/UX design stage.
Our standard Agile processes were tailored to the client's scheduling as well. Our goal was to roll the product out as soon as possible. We needed to strengthen the efficiency of our communication, which comprised daily mailing and weekly calls. Our conversations and call summaries helped us go far beyond the original ideas and shape the product. It's worth noting that the clients were extremely responsive and attentive. Both of them provided our app developers with full answers to all questions immediately.
Frequent changes in requirements were never too good for the budget. However, this fact was slightly balanced out by putting the lesser ideas into a properly maintained backlog.
Although project documentation was not put forth by the client as the object of the highest priority—which the delivered product was—the team started to elaborate main artifacts thoughtfully from the beginning. With every change, the documents were modified accordingly.
The QA process was characterized by extensive testing on 5 desktop browsers (each one on different operating systems), 3 screen resolutions, 2 iOS versions and 2 Android versions (+2 browsers for each), and both landscape and portrait orientation for every case. Later on, the client decided to single out 2 relevant browsers and 4 devices to support, leaving the lesser ones for next versions. Thus we managed to bring the release date closer.
Since ongoing changes constituted main risks, the progress was measured with feature-based deliveries over the first 6 months, while the remainder of the time was spent on making the system work seamlessly together. Beta users were first involved to test the app as diners on a special demo server.
The first version of the product was deployed within 9 months from the start of development.
Delivered product & applied technologies
This is the product that was eventually delivered. We assembled a forward-looking tech stack to make the product reliable and extendable, with a number of effectively implemented 3rd-party integrations. The front-end, a responsive website, was the favored option; it ensured faster delivery and at the same time allowed users to access it from any device. For further details, take a look at the scheme below.
Achievements and plans for the future
This collaboration grew into a trustful, inspiring, and productive partnership, and we are proud of the product that was finally delivered after months of extensive brainstorming and committed work, following web application development principles. The product was first launched in NYC. The first restaurant responded and signed up in just a couple of weeks, and 3 more joined soon afterwards. When a sufficient number of restaurants signs up, the marketing campaign will involve diners – which means everyone who likes to dine out with convenience and pleasure.
After a sufficient amount of feedback, the product can be evolved in the direction dictated by modern app development for restaurant business. Among plans for the future we can name mobile apps, and the same team might be allocated at any time necessary. Additionally, data science could be used to generate relevant offers based on statistics gathered over a certain period of usage. The value of this feature lies in automation, and it requires data about most popular dining times, discounts and surcharges, average bills, and regional data.
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