Due to the corona crisis, small businesses experience payment defaults, terminations, rising financial burdens and finally bankruptcies. Because of restrictions their customers are not able to support them anymore. On the other hand, a big part of the population is suffering due to social distancing from the missing contact with their loved ones. A platform is necessary, which brings citizens during hard times together by still visiting their favorite cafe/restaurant/bar virtually and support them through donations.

Our goal: An online platform that allows you to bring your coffee-table gossip and after-work beer feeling with your friends into your living room. And even better than that: You can support your local gastronomies through donations by buying a virtual coffee.

What it does

Our web platform shows a map of your city, where you can find nearby cafes, bars and restaurants. Meet your friends virtually at your favourite café, talk to them via voice chat or meet new people. It's up to you whether you want to sit at a private table (private channels) with your friends or make new acquaintances at open tables (open channels). You can then support the cafe/restaurant/bar of your choice by buying digital drinks. You choose between three products and transfer the amount spent to the respective restaurant.

How we built it

The developer team used MongoDB, Express.js, Node.js, React.js,, and AWS. The design team used Sketch, Adobe Illustrator and Zeplin.

Challenges we ran into

In development:

  • All developers had to learn the web framework React
  • Meteor caused problems as backend framework, so we replaced it (at 3am) (under tears of joy)
  • Setting up voice chat with WebRTC took several attempts and was achieved by first developing a video chat, which was then reduced to voice chat

In the promotion:

  • The Instagram algorithm blocked some of the actions
  • Taking care of the development of the prototype and public outreach at the same time

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Concrete elaboration of our concept including visualization
  • A working website with map view
  • Unbelievably positive feedback and support from various Munich gastronomy businesses, as well as from friends and acquaintances
  • Our own logo for the recognition value of our product

What we learned

  • Good, regular, clear agreements and central documentation are important and work (almost) smoothly thanks to the initial set-up of suitable tools such as Notion and Discord
  • The tech and design team always the busiest

What's next for LOCALL

  • Expansion of the website through small features such as gamification (implementation of table games) or individualisation of the virtual pubs, e.g. through background music or events
  • Possibility of involving restaurateurs for closer contact and exchange between shop owners and customers
  • Expanding our outreach to help as many local businesses as possible
  • Search for and expansion of financial support
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