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MunchBear: A multitenant platform for restaurant ordering

March 2018 – November 2019, Fixed-price

MunchBear is a US-based startup that offers a SaaS platform for restaurants. Their product is an all-in-one solution for restaurant ordering.

The platform supports restaurant registration as well as menu settings and loyalty programs. It also includes a fully branded landing page where restaurant customers can place an online order and arrange delivery.

Alongside the landing page, the platform provides two apps for each restaurant:

A mobile app for the restaurant, where they can manage orders, send requests to the kitchen, and even print checks

A mobile app for restaurant customers to place online orders and choose delivery options, similar to the landing page

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SCREENS:

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Services:

Design

Web

Front-end

Back-end

iOS

Android

QA

Technologies:

React

PHP

Swift

Kotlin

Worldpay

Stripe

MemSQL

Industries:

Food & beverage

E-commerce

SaaS

Team composition:

UI / UX designer

Front-end developer

Back-end developer

iOS developer

Android developer

QA engineer

Delivery manager & PM

THE CHALLENGE_

NERDZ LAB’s task was to create a fully functional product ecosystem from scratch with fixed flows. So, after analyzing the client’s requirements, the NERDZ LAB team identified the following challenges:

Resource constraints

We had to create a completely secure platform that could compete with existing solutions and meet the client’s aims. As the client was a startup, they had far fewer resources than the competition but still needed to create a unique product that could begin to capture the market.

In summary, we needed to take the best approaches of market competitors and also create something unique.

Restaurant entity management

The design brief and requirements implied that we had to choose between two architecture options.

A single-tenant architecture where each organization has its model and database contained in isolation wouldn’t work for MunchBear, as the platform had to manage multiple tenants seamlessly.

Consequently, we opted for a multitenant solution. While this took more work than a single-tenant design as it’s an entirely different way of handling data, multitenancy is ultimately more cost-effective and still allows for efficient threat detection and response.

Automated change deployment

Here, the challenge was how to rebuild branded websites and applications when a restaurant owner updates their details. We had to make this process automatic, as each application is unique and needs to submit to and pass the Apple and Google review processes.

High-volume data processing

MunchBear’s founder and co-owners needed to understand how to move forward. Since the restaurants are all part of a multitenancy architecture (meaning that each restaurant is a unique source of data), we had to aggregate all information on our server. We also needed to optimize all data flows to use fewer resources but still keep things efficient.

Device integration

Our restaurant application needed to work with other devices that restaurants use for workflow automation so that when a restaurant receives an order through its app, it can send it to a printer or its POS system with just one click. These devices include receipt printing machines and different POS systems.

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THE SOLUTIONS

The NERDZ LAB team used the following solutions to meet the project challenges:

Comprehensive competitive analysis

During the discovery phase, we shortlisted and extensively analyzed top competitors in the sector. We collected the findings into a visual matrix that highlighted the features and resources we needed to include. We also carried out user interviews to identify core problems that competitors were not addressing.

A multitenant architecture from scratch

As each restaurant is an entirely different ecosystem (with its own apps, websites, admin panels, etc.), we decided to create from scratch an architecture that would keep the data and operations for each restaurant in isolation. Consequently, it appears not as a restaurant in our system but as a unique instance.

This architecture also allows us to quickly extract any restaurant to its own servers in case a restaurant wants some specific security measurements, providers, or other services.

Automated flows

We created an advanced Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery system that automatically redeploys a restaurant’s landing page whenever a related change is made.

We also used fastlane and other comprehensive tools to automate the app update submission, review, and release processes. This solution replaces the complex manual process for Apple and Google app review with a new and automated flow.

Database Management System transformation

As well as ensuring high-speed data processing and performance, we needed to focus on scalability for the apps bound to the platform. We also needed a familiar and easy-to-use relational DBMS that would be ready for new technologies. So we used SingleStore—a database solution that addresses all these needs, allowing us to combine legacy systems and modern architecture. It enabled us to build a database that supports fast data ingestion and query processing for accelerated time to insight.

Legacy system integration

Most POS devices in restaurants use old data exchange protocols, so we adapted our modern system to be able to work with these. Moreover, we created an architecture that easily allows adding POS systems supported on other devices that a restaurant can use.

DESIGN OVERVIEW

We had to develop a concept which would:

  • Meet all of MunchBear’s requirements and expectations
  • Cover all business needs
  • Be attractive and easy-to-use for end users on both sides (both restaurants and customers)
  • Be competitive in the market

The design process involved collecting specifications from the client, completing market and competitive research, carrying out multiple user interviews, elaborating relevant flows, and building interface elements for the platform’s web and mobile elements. We also created a visual brand identity from scratch to raise MunchBear’s brand awareness.

Design services we provided:

  • Design discovery and research
  • UX design
  • UI design
  • Brand identity

Design solutions:

  • Mobile application development services
  • Web design services
  • Brand identity design

Design workflow

01

Business analysis

We carried out research to clarify the business needs and define solutions to business problems, including software and component development and process improvements.

02

Discovery

NERDZ LAB gathered and analyzed the planned platform, its target audience, the go-to-market, the end user’s needs, the client, and stakeholders. This phase led us to a clear product vision, mission, and scope statement.

03

Information architecture

Our team created a comprehensive view of the product’s information architecture, including its infrastructure, features, hierarchy, and app structure.

04

Wireframes

We created wireframes of the web and app page layout, showing future interface elements on their corresponding pages. This process gave us a software structure that would meet end-user needs.

05

UI/UX design

We designed an appealing, easy-to-use interface that supported the needs of both restaurants and restaurant customers. We followed through by testing and reviewing the client-side apps to optimize interactions between design elements and end users.

Product designing process_ snippets

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Wireframing data collection process

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Creating style guide, UI kit and web admin

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Mobile admin panel

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Client app

THE RESULTS

01

A fully market-competitive solution covering the relevant niche

02

A multitenant platform for multiple restaurants managed through one system

03

Automatic deployment of changes made by restaurants

04

High-speed data processing for accurate operational data analytics

05

A solution that integrates easily with third-party devices and systems

TESTIMONIAL

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Aldo Jaramillo
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MunchBear

They’re extremely aware of trends and understand what our users are looking for. They expanded on our idea in ways I wasn’t expecting, which made me feel like we made the right decision in hiring them.

Read the full review here

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Aldo Jaramillo
logo

MunchBear

They’re extremely aware of trends and understand what our users are looking for. They expanded on our idea in ways I wasn’t expecting, which made me feel like we made the right decision in hiring them.

Read the full review here