Food trucks have been struggling in the new business environment. With canceled food truck events and prohibiting public gatherings, there have been fewer ways for food trucks to make money.
Being a regular customer of food trucks, I want to help and make it easier for customers to do business with food trucks. The Square API provides contactless commerce options. It also provides the ability to eliminate one of the most inconvenient things about the experience, waiting in line.
If you want to get something to eat you usually have to wait in line to order and some of those lines take over 30 minutes. If you want to get some food from more than one truck you will have to wait in line AGAIN
The waiting time is a big deterrent for those who have only have a short amount of time to eat. With the new environment we are in, people are social distancing and looking for contactless ways to handle transactions. Both of these things are not currently happening when ordering from a food truck.
I created this app for food trucks and their customers. With the app customers can create their own orders, freeing up the employees to make the food who would otherwise take the order. Instead of waiting in lines and passing payment back and forth, customers can now social distance and get their food in a contactless way.
What it does
There are two mobile apps - a customer app and the food truck app:
Food trucks would set up an account on the Street Truck app. They can add their truck information, authorizing square to use this app, and add the menu and their schedule (hours and location). That is all that is needed to start processing orders from customers!!!
Customers can use the Street Eatz app to view the menu and make an order to the food truck. No setup needed for a customer. Once an order is processed both the customer and food truck will see the order on in their apps. Once the order is ready the food truck can mark it completed and the customer will receive a notification to pick up their order at the food truck.
Food truck app: Street Truck
- Add truck information
- Connect square merchant account
- Add menu items and price
- Add truck schedule
- Take orders from the app
- Manage orders that have been paid for
Customer app: Street Eatz
- View available food trucks that are operating at the given time
- View menu of the food truck
- Order food from the app
- View current and previous order history
- Push notification when food is ready
How I built it
Using flutter for the frontend and firebase for backend services. I used the square SDKs to handle payments.
Challenges I ran into
Unfamiliarity with all the technologies used. It was a big learning curve.
Working through the square authorization process. A lot of trial and error to figure out what I should be doing. The community forms helped when I was completely stuck.
I ran into a bug that I thought was going to be a blocker from fully integrating the Reader SDK, but I was able to get past it. https://github.com/square/reader-sdk-flutter-plugin/issues/45
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I was able to get a functioning app that can help food truck owners in this challenging time. I think this app adds value to both the food trucks and their customers.
Overcoming the technical challenges presented while working this app increases my confidence in making apps going forward. The knowledge I have gained makes me feel like I have superpowers to create something great.
Excited to see where this leads.
What I learned
I learned all the technologies involved that I can now use to make new apps going forward.
I learned that I would like to pursue an entrepreneurial venture where I can add value and make things better.
I learned I would like to continue pursuing this idea. Maybe one-day food trucks will all be using it.
I think the next step is to get it out to food trucks to validate the idea and iterate making it better. If successful add more features that I have been thinking about.
Thank you for checking this out!