Ordering at restaurants is a manual process. Wait staff goes to patrons to collect order information, either via hand or by app. The waiter still has to be in person in order for the order to be processed. Order updates and changes still have to occur with the assistance of wait staff.
What it does
Food Bar is a service that enables restaurants to manage dining orders. Through Food Bar, patrons can use the app to place orders without interacting with staff. Restaurant staff can view incoming orders in real-time.
Order submission and order management is free, but marketing and analytics tools will be available at a cost.
How does the order process work?
- Patrons taps an NFC sticker on their table with their phone
- The FoodBar app opens if the patron has the app
- Else, a webpage will open
- Patrons place orders through the menu
- Patrons have the option to pay through the web app menu and save payment information for future usage.
- Patrons can also assign/share payment responsibility with the other guests.
- Kitchen receives the order request and associated table
- Kitchen processes the order and/or:
- Wait staff brings order to table
- Patron goes to retrieve order
How we built it
For the user facing client, we are going with a mobile app. We will have a web app for restaurant staff to process order information as well as use premium features. We used Flask and Postgres for the backend.
Challenges we ran into
Spent time discussing how to make the patron "sign-up" process as frictionless as possible whilst obtaining useful marketing data.
When the patron signs up, we will collect phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses for communications/notifications. Phone numbers can be used to provide order status update texts to patrons.
We considered the possibility of using SMS, QR codes, or NFC for vendor and table identification. We could either scan a QR code/NFC sticker to identify the vendor and optionally the table number or text a unique identifier for the table to a specific number. We found that NFC is widely used in Europe, but not necessarily as much in the United States. We elected to use NFC for the purposes of the demo for the added benefit of speed and usability. In the future we could make the other options possible and allow the vendor to decide.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Creating a very fast means of ordering in the NFC enabled mobile app
- Functionality in web app to triage orders
- Menu management in web app
- Reporting in web app
What we learned
- Research suggests that marketing is a very important need for restaurants. Through our app, we can conduct marketing campaigns since we can collect contact information and provide a platform for push notifications.
What's next for foodbar.app
We could use our food and drink order management app as a foundation for the following features:
- Allergy filtering
- Food reviews
- Live menu updates (late day discounts, sold out)
- Waitress assignment to tables
- Accounting, since we track sales
- Payment collection (Stripe/Venmo/Paypal etc. integrations)
- A/B menu testing and marketing
- User favorites/previous purchases
- Recommendation engine for patrons with previous order history