: FoodTech Archives - railwaymen

Shawarmer

Bilingual software for the FoodTech

from the GCC region

MOBILE APP

WEB APP

ABOUT PROJECT

About the company

Shawarmer is a quick-service restaurant founded in 1999, which has grown to more than 90 restaurants across the whole Saudi Arabia region. The Shawarmer mission is to take a traditional street food and through innovation, creativity, and experimentation, constantly modernize and interpret shawarma with new flavors, sauces, and variations in wraps and sandwich styles. The company wanted to have mobile apps which will enable users to conveniently order food for pick-up from all of their Shawarmer restaurants.

OUR WORK

Project Management

Android

iOS

Backend

QA

UX & UI

1. PROCESS

Our client came to us thanks to the GITEX tech show in Dubai. As a company known from prior experience with building custom software for businesses from a GCC region (ProTenders) – we were a perfect match!

Shawarmer company had some existing software made by another provider but wasn’t entirely happy with it, as it wasn’t as reliable as they wanted it to be. That’s why at the very beginning, our goal was to rewrite the current hybrid app to two separate native ones (iOS and Android), slightly change its flow and uprate its general functionality.

For starters, our development team consisted of 6 people (one each: CTO, Project Manager, UX/UI Designer, Quality Assurance, Android and iOS) which faced a huge challenge, to adapt their efforts to the local infrastructure. Besides rewriting, the app also required the UX&UI improvements and preparing the comprehensive interface documentation.

While working on the project, we suggested some additional features and improvements, which met our client’s acceptance. So after some time, we’ve expanded our team to 11 software development experts – CTO, Project Manager, UX&UI Designer, 2 x Quality Assurance, 2 x Android, 2 x iOS and 2 x Ruby on Rails developers.

2. THE CHALLENGES

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

Even though between our (Cracow) and Shawarmer (Riyadh) headquarters there is almost 5000 km of distance, the time difference is very small – only one hour. Nevertheless, when it comes to cultural differences they are much more visible. For example, in Poland, we usually have weekends (Saturday – Sunday) off, while in Saudi Arabia it is slightly different, with free Fridays and Sundays as their regular working days.

shawarmer app region

Bartosz, Project Manager​

“Initially, there were some cultural differences we needed to overcome – for example, different non-working days during the week or bigger holidays. We had to make sure that they won’t affect our mobile app operation in any way. Some of the application features required cooperation with different departments from our client’s company (eg. IT and marketing), so smooth communication was extremely important.


Thanks to this project, we had a chance to learn a bit about Saudi culture – for example, while working on prayer time feature development. As the project scope and our involvement have grown significantly (eg. KIOSK project) since the first release, I believe, that we’ve been successful in all of these points.”

QUICK ACCESS FOR THE APPROVER

Another challenge that we faced was the proper right to left (RTL) writing support. Shawarmer mobile app had to be available both in English and Arabic language. That’s why while doing the Quality Assurance we had to make sure that all of the texts are inserted right.

shawarmer quick access

Milena, Quality Assurance​

“It was my first contact with the Arabic language. At the very beginning, it seemed to be very complicated but at the same time, from the testing perspective – it was a very ambitious challenge! Every app view needed separate design, including opposite mobile device navigation buttons. Even though the Shawarmer team gave us translated documents, the fact of working with different alphabet was truly demanding. I can say with full confidence, that working on the Shawarmer App project is a great experience for me!”

NCR POS SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Shawarmer app goal is to make ordering pick – up food from the restaurant as convenient as possible so integrating it with the local POS system was very important. That was the biggest challenge for us from a technological point of view. Fortunately, we have experience with gastronomy business (POSbistro) so not without the obstacles along the way, we managed to make Shawarmer app integrated with NCR POS system properly.

ncr pos systems

Kamil, CTO

“The application was challenging from the start as it is not a regular web application or simple API. Firstly we had to understand POS integration from the application existing version which used .NET components. Doing reverse engineering we found out how it works on the backend layer. Based on that and with the agreement from the client, we have built new integration from scratch which used REST API from POS. Thanks to that, we were able to provide new functionalities and scale the integration to accept more traffic. We’re still facing new challenges that we need to resolve or overcome due to POS limitations when scaling into more restaurants. That’s why this project is very interesting and there are still a lot of topics that we need to approach there in a specific way.”

UX & UI IMPROVEMENTS

The application required the UX&UI improvements and preparation of the comprehensive interface documentation. Basing on a Brand Book that we’ve received from our client, we have overdrawn the whole app making it’s more clear and visually engaging.

ux ui improvements
sylwia-747d30e7e0970ea079d127ac48bba9edf058f666d5258050e4d110834f70611e

Sylwia, UX&UI Designer​

“In the first stage of building Shawarmer App, our main goals were to provide a project that will be easily expanded in the future and improve the app general user experience. From the very beginning, we focused on analyzing app workflow and we’ve marked points that might be difficult in use for the customer. At the same time, we worked with documentation provided by the client (especially Brand Book) as Shawarmer the company has quite strict rules regarding its visual identity. We recreated the whole existing project in designing tools and implemented all the necessary changes. The whole team was involved in the designing process and that was crucial, to develop consistent and efficient solutions that meet both users and system requirements.”

3. Mobile apps

Our client wanted to have two separate native mobile apps, both for iOS and Android users. This approach enables us to ensure better User Experience which in the end – makes users more eager to use the app. Both of the apps have the same functionalities as follows.

PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

Tracking order status changes: the customer receives the notification when his/her order is ready for pickup from the restaurant. The Shawarmer can send promotional information to customers from their database.

push notifications

Agnieszka, Senior Android Developer​

“Providing the user with updates is one of the main goals of mobile applications. To handle that we focused on the way the user interacts with the information in our ecosystem. We have implemented a smart system for user notifications that use data collected through analytics in the application. Thanks to that, the user always knows all about his orders and ongoing offers.”

CONTACT LINE: CLIENT - SHOP

Shawarmer App enables users to share their feedback through rating the received dishes on a scale of 1 to 3 or writing a comment. Thanks to this data, restaurant owners have a chance to improve various aspects of their business. App users can also write their opinion on a specific restaurant (as there are more than 90 Shawarmer branches) which gives the owner valuable info about which locals are doing better or worse than others.

app contact line

APP USAGE DATA ANALYTICS

The app is tracking all of the data connected with the way users are experiencing the software. How long do they stay in it, on which screens they are deciding to leave it or how long does it take them, to make an order successfully? All of these events are integrated into Mixpanel analytics. Thanks to all of that, the app owner can constantly improve its product, to make it as convenient and user-friendly as possible.

data analytics app

PAYMENTS INTEGRATION

For iOS users, we integrated Shawarmer App with Apple Pay, as this solution is becoming more popular year by year and in 2018, reached almost 400 M users worldwide. Users are also able to use all of the other popular payment methods like credit cards, including Mada.

payments integrations

Piotr, Senior iOS Developer​

“Providing the user with updates is one of the main goals of mobile applications. To handle that we focused on the way the user interacts with the information in our ecosystem. We have implemented a smart system for user notifications that use data collected through analytics in the application. Thanks to that, the user always knows all about his orders and ongoing offers.”

4. admin panel

admin panel shawarmer

Both Shawarmer mobile app and KIOSK (our separate product, that we’ve built for our client to make ordering food stationary as convenient as possible – more about Shawarmer KIOSK app soon) are also supported by a dedicated Admin Panel, which allows easy access to any system settings. It also includes tools for tracking customer feedback and overall sales statistics.

CUSTOMER PROFILE MANAGEMENT

Thanks to the Panel, the restaurant owner is able to see data about each of its clients (the ordering history). How much food are they ordering, in which flavors and in what time of day? Thanks to that knowledge he can, for example, focus on products that give him the most profits or award customers, who are making the highest amount of the orders. Shawarmer app users can evaluate each order and leave their opinions. Tools built into the Admin panel allow Shawarmer crew to assign customer relations representatives for each client feedback so customer satisfaction stays high. Built-in tools allow for quick data review.

User management for the Admin Panel allows for the easy addition of new staff to the system with proper permissions. Because of this, it’s easy to add a marketing analyst who’d like to review overall sales or a branch manager, who may be interested in checking what kind of feedback is his restaurant getting.
profile management

ISSUES REPORTING & THOROUGH ANALYTICS

In case something went wrong, Shawarmer app users can report issues, which will be available to see in the Panel by the restaurant owner in the Reviews section. He can address them directly from the Panel to make sure that his services are of the highest quality. To avoid complaints that are not reasonable, the Admin Panel is also storing in the database and presenting various data like service speed (preparing/picking time) or the time of the payments.

Users are also able to send their general opinion about the specific restaurant or dish – like “it was good, but I would add some less onion”. Reviews and feedbacks are visible in separate areas of the Admin Panel. Thanks to all of that the restaurant owner has a chance to analyze various aspects of his business and make sure everything is working smoothly.

Mateusz, RoR Developer​

“Both Shawarmer KIOSK and mobile app are gathering a lot of valuable data – the key is to make displaying and analyzing them as convenient as possible. This is where Admin Panel steps in. Thanks to the possibility of filtering the gathered big data and presenting it as charts, everything becomes much more understandable and leads to making up highly – educated business decisions.”

BASIC CONTENT & FEATURES MANAGEMENT

Using the Admin Panel, Shawarmer restaurants staff with the right permissions can change the content inside the app in real-time. They can change banners visible in the app, “about the company” section and more, without stopping the app. The Shawarmer mobile app is having a “prayer time” functionality, which notifies the user that he/she will need to wait a bit longer to receive his/her food. The period of that time is also manageable from the Admin Panel. In case of any issues the app owner, with the right permissions, can always turn on a maintenance mode.

DATA VISUALIZATION

Admin Panel not only gathers all of the data from the Shawarmer Mobile App and KIOSK but also displays them in a clear yet comprehensive visual way. You can, for example, see there charts showing what was the reviews (good or bad, how much of each?) this week/month/year and compare it with the previous period. It can also display you which are the Top 3 restaurants so far or which cities are bringing the biggest profits. That way analyzing even the biggest amount of data becomes much more convenient.

data visualization

5. TECHNOLOGIES & INTEGRATIONS

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FINAL PRODUCT

shawarmer final application

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The result of our work is the construction of two fully functional mobile applications (iOS and Android) alongside a browser-accessible Administration Panel. The app is popular with both operating systems. On Android-supported devices, the number of downloads according to the Google Store is currently over 500,000. On the other hand, for the iOS operating system, Shawarmer has been rated more than 55,000 times on the App Store platform.

Currently, we are still cooperating with the Shawarmer, working on additional features that will be implemented soon. Among them, we can distinguish an option to order your food with the delivery.

Testimonial:

“Railwaymen team helped us in rebuilding our Mobile applications with strong base. Their professionality made the process very smooth and fast. We did this in very short time even we had a lot of obstacles. Building the base in very professional way and as per the standard with the alignment of the up-to date technology helped us to start another project with them (KIOSK “self-service”) in very short notice and finished it as planned.”

 

Abdulaziz AlMusaireae,

Brand Extension Director

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales

Alamar Foods

Integration of Restaurant Chain Systems for a Middle Eastern Food Service Operator

MOBILE APP

WEB APP

ABOUT PROJECT

Through the development of a backend API, we were able to implement an e-Wallet supporting the leading restaurant chain in the GCC Region.

 

About the company

Alamar Foods is a Saudi Arabia-based Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operator. The company is a franchisee of brands such as Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts for Arab countries Over its three decades of activity in the market Alamar has developed a huge amount of trust among customers. Such support allows the company to introduce technological and business innovations to continuously improve the comfort and quality of customer service.

Alamar’s mission

The company aspires to be an international leader in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. Alamar seeks to achieve this goal through steady growth and the introduction of market best practices. By investing in the highest quality technological solutions, the Saudi giant seeks to increase the quality of its services while keeping in mind the user experience of its customers.

OUR WORK

Project Management

Frontend

Backend

QA

UX & UI

CUSTOMER OBJECTIVE

Enhance existing client-side tools with additional functionality that will translate into
convenience and positively impact user experience.

THE CHALLENGE

Implementing the e-Wallet system via a backend API into customer applications supporting
several hundred restaurant points.

1. PROCESS

The cooperation with Alamar began in the second half of 2021. The original idea was to develop an e-Wallet that could be integrated with the client's products. This solution is often compared to a prepaid card due to its similar operating principles. With the ability to recharge the account, the user can use part of his funds to easily pay for orders.

The cooperation with Alamar began in the second half of 2021. The original idea was to develop an e-Wallet that could be integrated with the client's products. This solution is often compared to a prepaid card due to its similar operating principles. With the ability to recharge the account, the user can use part of his funds to easily pay for orders.

Communication & Workflow

As in the case of previous projects such as Shawarmer, we had to work together to develop a model of cooperation that takes advantage of the cultural commonalities and contrasts between Poland and Saudi Arabia. We refined all the rules of cooperation related to the differences occurring in our working systems (different working days in both countries), and adjusted the appropriate model of communication in order to keep up to date with the client on the progress of the work.

Bartosz, Project Manager​

“E-Wallet system for Alamar Foods was an interesting project to build since by design it connects to many different systems, not one specific app/website. Because of this we had to design a flexible tool which handles many different business cases. This has allowed the E-Wallet system to merge seamlessly with current Alamar tools and architecture.”

2. The features

alamar mobile feature

API DEVELOPMENT

After reviewing the solutions offered by Alamar, we came to the conclusion together that the best solution would be for Railwaymen to craft a purspose-built backend API. All this in order to be able to integrate the available client-side solutions with the new functionalities in the easiest way possible.

EXAMPLE OF USAGE:

In Saudi Arabia, it is common to identify a user by phone number. Therefore, when a user completes an order, cashback is credited to their account. Since Alamar supports a growing number of restaurant chains, the solution must allow the user to be able to receive funds from any of them.

 
alamar e-wallet

E-WALLET

In the aforementioned API, we decided to include the customer’s expected e-Wallet. In this way, existing tools at Alamar Foods and future products can easily be integrated with the newly developed functionality.

It took the RWM team of developers around 3 months to put together a basic version of the feature. In addition to the API, we created a basic admin panel

In a later stage of cooperation, we began expanding the e-Wallet with additional capabilities. Our work included, among others, a feature that allows restaurant owners to generate promotional coupons. With such a marketing option, the user can use the coupon he receives and apply the discount applicable to his order. Another improvement we are working on is the streamlining of the Customer Service functionality. In case of any inconvenience, the user will be able to seamlessly contact the service and describe the problem occurring. The Customer Service department, upon receiving the request, can then quickly process it and decide, for example, whether the customer should be compensated for the e-Wallet funds.

Piotr, Ruby on Rails Developer

“E-wallet was a very interesting project but also very challenging. When implementing the functionalities, we had to remember to make them highly scalable to handle multiple requests simultaneously. I also had the opportunity to get familiar with popular payment solutions used in the Saudi Arabic market, thanks to which the process of payment to top up the wallet became simple and intuitive for the user. It was a very developing experience.”

alamar support

MULTI-REGION SUPPORT FOR THE TOOL

Due to the client’s presence in multiple regions, our role was to develop a support solution, with one system responsible for the company’s international branches handling different currencies. With the help of an appropriate configuration we made it possible to oversee all transactions from a single tool without having to switch to different systems for each country.

 

Paweł, Ruby on Rails Developer

“Alamar was the first project I worked on as a Junior RoR developer. For me, the biggest challenge was the implementation of bulk top-ups and their optimization for thousands of simultaneous top-ups. Working on this project was a great and very useful experience from which I could learn a lot.”

alamar reports

REPORT HANDLING

The administrative part being developed in the second phase also included work on reporting, data gathering and analysis. The reporting form was developed based on the client’s needs. The reporting process also includes statistics related to the discount program provided through coupons. In the administrative panel, decision-makers have access to detailed information related to the number of coupons redeemed and their value used.

alamar user portal

USER PORTAL

The first version of e-Wallet only included the ability to fund a customer’s account with cash through an API we developed. However, in a later stage of the work, the client decided to implement a user portal for replenishing the funds. It is also worth mentioning that depositing money can be done in different currencies. With GCC customers in mind, we have made integration with the Moyasar system, which allows handling payments valid in that region. The solution created by Railwaymen supports STC PAY and MADA cards, which are as popular as the aforementioned Moyasar.

 

Ania, UI Designer ​

“I had an opportunity to work on Alamar Foods project and would say that it’s been a great journey on creating an app. This is an excellent solution for managing clients and offers. We made it easier for users and admins to access the personal portal with benefits and offers, so they will never miss a chance to use this and stay loyal to their favorite service. ”

3. TECHNOLOGIES & TOOLS

FINAL PRODUCT

alamar final product

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The result of our cooperation with Alamar Foods was a streamlining of the functionality of the company's existing business tools for Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts by integrating them with a custom backend API. We developed a solution that integrates the local payment service, can handle a large number of user cases, and at the same time is fully scalable. Further development stages of the project include the possibility of applying other customer service enhancements from within any application released under the Alamar Foods brand.

We are real!

Let's get it started!

Do you have project details?

estimate project
Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales