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FoodVizor Case Study: How to Implement a Kitchen Management Software Into a Ghost Restaurant Chain

A restaurant software that manages orders, accelerates kitchen workflow, and reduces IT costs

SEO copywriter

Foodeliny is a ghost kitchen restaurant chain with 10 years in the market. The ghost kitchen format means the restaurant prepares food for delivery only, there are no seats or pickup options.

At the end of 2019, Foodeliny began expanding and opened new branches. The load increased, their systems did not cope with the order processing, and the company was trying to find a way through the new challenges.

They reached out to HeyInnovations, and we created a new all-in-one management platform called FoodVizor. The software helps manage orders, kitchens, and couriers. After its launch and implementation, Foodeliny saw a 10% increase in the order processing speed. Meanwhile, working in a dedicated team model helped the company to reduce IT costs by 1.5 times.

With the previous software, one mistake could leave thousands of customers without food

Before, Foodeliny’s internal system comprised separate services, with each service being managed by its own team. The teams updated some features from time to time, but such changes had no significant effect on the overall picture. The services had a very weak connection between each other, and their multiple integration and support scaled to infinity.

Such architecture was expensive in maintenance and inefficient for the business processes. An error in one service led to the other services crushing as well. And with a high load, the system could leave thousands of customers without food altogether.

Our studio faced the challenges that came with such complex architecture when we started developing the Foodeliny mobile app for food delivery. We were responsible for the mobile frontend; the backend was linked to a website developed by another contractor. The website was constantly raising errors that were flowing into our project. Foodeliny did not like that and stopped working with us.

How a failed startup and $300,000 paved the way for a new platform

In 2019, Alex, the CEO of HeyInnovations, launched Baristika, a coffee shop that operated as a ghost café. It took orders and coordinated the work of baristas and couriers through a digital management platform that we developed specifically for this project. Baristika had to shut down because of an inefficient business model, but the digital platform stayed.

Alex presented the project at the Web Summit technology conference. Foodeliny liked the idea and decided to implement the management platform into their ghost kitchens. Thus, Baristika and the $300,000 spent on it helped bring Foodeliny back to HeyInnovations.

A new management platform created by a dedicated team

In the new collaboration, our CEO took control over the digital products at Foodeliny. He assembled a team inside our studio that worked exclusively on the Foodeliny services. The product manager and backend developers worked on the project full-time, while designers and frontend developers joined the team only for specific tasks.

Such a work model is called “a dedicated team”. Within this model, a studio provides a team to work on their client’s project, and takes over the management and risks associated with employees, so that if someone takes leave from work or quits, the development does not shut down. The team supports the project after release and transitions to the client’s company if necessary.

While working in this model, Foodeliny spent 1.5 times less on the development, got a new kitchen and food delivery management software, and a ready-made team of professionals.

As a result of our collaboration, we created the FoodVizor management platform that allows to coordinate orders, kitchen, and logistics. The system features a web interface for kitchen administrators, a tablet application for chefs, and a courier mobile application for iOS and Android.

The platform estimates cooking time and generates a line of orders, creates itinerary sheets, calculates the shift pay, and much more.

A dedicated team that thinks in KPIs

Within the dedicated team model, an outsource team of employees gets access to the client’s current business metrics. The team’s task is to increase the metrics, and if the client doesn’t like the result, they end the contract.

In order to achieve positive results and earn a cash bonus, the team implements nonstandard tools, tries out new ideas and introduces novel solutions. The team is interested in fulfilling the customer’s KPI as quickly as possible, as this is the main mark of its efficiency. The client in this model benefits by getting a ready-made team of middle and senior specialists that they don’t need to recruit and onboard, thus running lower risks and saving more time. Such a model facilitates a quick start of the project and transformation of the company.

The platform estimates kitchen load in menu items

Before developing FoodVizor, our team studied different kitchen management software programs, but the existing production processes at Foodeliny were so unique that ready-made IT solutions wouldn’t have worked for them.

For example, Foodeliny didn’t employ packers, as there was no use in them at off-peak times. During a mild kitchen load, the cooks both cooked the food and assembled the orders, and during the peak hours, they only prepared and plated the meals.

Another difference with the existing kitchen software was that Foodeliny used a single menu item as a measurement unit. Estimating the kitchen load in menu items is more accurate than giving an estimation in receipts because one receipt can contain just one pizza, and the other—ten.

FoodVizor displays the receipts only at the packaging stage so that the cook can check everything and assemble the order correctly. The cook clicks on the system screen only after the dish is ready. This small thing distinguishes the platform from its analogs, where cooks need to record both the start and the end of the preparation. In kitchens with a high load, extra clicks count as extra work.

For example, the existing systems are well suited for restaurants with line production, such as pizza and pie restaurants. These are the kitchens where the dishes are prepared in fixed stages: sheeting dough, adding the filling, baking.

In Foodeliny, they have a non-standard preparation process. To adjust to the workflow, FoodVizor offers separate settings for each dish. For example, some maki should be baked, others—not. To some maki cooks add masago, and do it on a separate board. In order not to soil the rest of the maki and not mix the ingredients together, cooks need to arrange the maki into different working areas. And when cooking noodles, cooks cannot move further until they have fried all the ingredients.

FoodVisor also helps to find bottlenecks in the production: it indicates the specific stages that slow the preparation down. The new system helps to understand which stage needs optimization to accelerate the ticket times and improve the quality of food and service.

The software takes into account such specific nuances because we developed and tested it right in the client’s kitchen.

Cooks, administrators, and couriers helped shape the platform’s interface

Our development team tested the platform interfaces directly in the client’s restaurants. We studied how administrators took orders, how cooks worked with receipts, and couriers delivered the orders. We took the interface prototypes and some general ideas from Baristika. But soon we realized it was much better to test and perfect the ideas on the spot. This way viable solutions come up faster, there is more time left for debugging, and only relevant tools go into development.

For example, initially, the team did not plan to make a separate interface for the chef. But when we implemented the cook tablets into the workflow, the chef asked for a personal tool to control the load. Right on the spot, he explained to us what parameters he needed to monitor and supervise. Now, the FoodVizor system allows the chef to control the kitchen load and decide how to allocate cooks.

The new system immediately offloaded the production

The team started testing FoodVizor in the kitchens when the order flow was relatively mild. It turned out that the management and employees did not want to work in a new way. At such a production pace, they did not see how the new system could be helpful: there were few orders and the cooks had no problem working with paper receipts. They did not understand why they had to press some extra buttons on their tablets.

The situation changed when the peak hours came. Employees didn’t have enough time to read the receipts and arrange the preparation line. That’s when FoodVizor came in handy to relieve them from unnecessary work. The system optimized the production process and increased the speed of order preparation by 10%.

Using the platform only several hours a day to ensure a smooth adaptation

We understood that it would take some time to rebuild the long-standing kitchen processes, that’s why we implemented FoodVizor step by step. At first, the system worked several hours a day, during low-demand hours. If the number of orders increased, the kitchen switched to their old system with receipts.

When the employees got used to the new processes, and our team adjusted to the production, the system started to operate the whole day. It was only off on Fridays and on the weekend.

Our team was testing the system for three months at four Foodeliny productions. During this period, we collected the feedback from employees, refined the system functions, and eliminated errors. After that, we launched FoodVizor in 12 kitchens within 15 days. Soon the software was operating in all 36 facilities.

Learn how FoodVizor simplified the work of couriers and administrators in the detailed case study.

The result: accelerated order processing and increased restaurant turnover rate

FoodVizor increased the order processing speed by 10%. It spared cooks, administrators, and couriers from unnecessary work with receipts and a ton of conflicting programs, and transferred the workflow into one management software. In 2021, it helped to increase the total chain turnover by 45%, compared with the previous year.