Before July 2017 a Cafe and Patisserie called Efendi Bey in the heart of the city of Hanover had no digital footprint except social accounts like Facebook and Instagram and we approached them to digitalize their business. Neither they nor had we thought that there would be ample opportunities in doing so. For a medium-size cafe business, the investment towards the digitalization was not an easy option but at the end it really paved the way and we will show you in next section entire case study about the digitalization of a small-medium size business.
The target of the digitalization was to work one day completely paperless which would mean bringing a change and changing mindset, the latter being the most difficult. Just being paperless is not enough for any business but the clear benefits were digital processes thereby ensuring no order is forgotten and organized ways of working as the digital process would guide the process flow thereby increasing the customer satisfaction and providing better service and ultimately increased sales!
Note: before 2018 June there was no online business at all!
First Step towards Website
A colleague in our office was celebrating his birthday and bought some sweets from Efendi Bey the sweets were so tasty people in the office started asking the whereabouts and started googling but no one found the website. At this very moment we approached them and asked them for an appointment and discussed the idea about the website and web-shop and so on. The website was developed with a Cake Configurator. So what was so different about the website than other websites? During this time one of the latest technology in the market was ReactJS and we offered Efendi Bey an option of using the state of art technologies to develop the website. We made use of ReactJS, NodeJS, PM2 and MongoDB.
The site was finally developed using some good high quality images and most importantly the Cake Configurator that was the most critical function on the entire website.
The users were able to configure the cake online and make payments either online or cash or bank transfer.
The payment gateway integration was a boon and it really helped Efendi Bey and also us figure out whether it was worth of an investment.
The website since beginning had google analytics integration and this helped us as well to share the actual figures in the case study.
As its visible from the trend the year was quite successful with an upward site visit trend.
Until 2020 March there was an upward trend and then came the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact can be seen as well, however after few weeks of downtrend the upward trend started again. The Covid-19 pandemic situation was the worst nightmare for restaurant owners and while the restaurant businesses were completely going down, the early digitalization entry did definitely help Efendi Bey to benefit out of it. In Germany, the blockade was lifted on online orders and deliveries. As online guests already had access to the online menu, the website visit trend really started going up even during the pandemic and hence the digitalization and investment towards it was not a bad idea. After all, the world is moving towards digitalization and the early the business gets onboard the more benefits they will reap even in tough situation like Covid-19 Pandemic.
We also did google SEO integration and AdWords for Efendi Bey, which we will discuss in following sections.
So in the first step towards digitalization there was
- Responsive Website on latest Technology ReactJS, NodeJS, MongoDB
- Payment gateway integration using Paypal API
- PDF generation for the orders
- E-mail Integration with the application to send the order confirmation, table reservation or event reservation confirmation
- Google Analytics integration
- Printer integration to print the online orders which was until now handwritten (not paperless yet but from handwritten to machine printed was still an achievement as the chances of not understanding the handwriting was already solved).
The buck doesn’t stop here this was only the first step back in 2017. The other challenges started popping up.
Challenge begins with The Change
Implementing a website and offering online ordering feature, table reservation and event reservation feature seemed to have been easy now that it was already implemented and working but the order fulfilment started giving challenge on the other hand. The website that was mainly intended for the end users included a guided procedure for the ordering process. But this was taking too long for employees at the Efendibey counter. So even though online orders were coming through the website, the employees at the cake counter were still taking handwritten orders. Secondly, for some cash orders payments were yet to be made. Some people were getting the emails in the junk. And hence, we realized there was a need for optimization. All these issues were taken care of in the phase 2 of the digitalization process with design of the One Pager cake ordering application specifically for employees at the café. Now they were able to take orders much faster and much more happily as it gave them more options for cake designing at their disposal with fewer clicks and they were able to print the order.
So, in the second phase towards Digitalization there was:
- MEAN stack used and AngularJS with MongoDb and NodeJS was used (another trending Technology in use)
- AWS integration using the Cognito service was used for the user authentication for Admin (another state of art technology in use.
The second step – Different users different view different usage
In the entire digitalization process flow, the parties involved were:
- online customer for whom there was a website available,
- the bakers who only would like to have a Kanban kind of board and ingredients needed for the next day,
- the employees at the counter and
- the admin who can see everything.
It was decided to make use of the iPad for One Pager order and the application worked like a charm on the iPad.
For the bakers we designed 3 sections: the bakers’ ToDo, the bakers’ overview, and an overview showing which ingredients they need the next day.
The bakers start baking the cake in the morning and when they come, they see on a touchscreen that has a Raspberry Pi attached to it a browser that shows the Kanban board with orders sorted based on pickup time.
The baker can click on a link that opens the actual order
The baker also has a possibility to view all the future orders in a tabular format with all the relevant details the columns are customizable based and can be hidden or displayed based on the settings.
The bakers usually check the ingredients required for tomorrow and to give them an overview below overview was created
The bakers usually check the ingredients required for the next day and to give them an overview this snapshot was created
As soon as the baker completes an order, he moves the order to ‘finished’ and triggers a notification to the user that the cake is ready for pickup.
The other challenge in the phase 2 was to tackle the orders which were not getting created due to error on the PayPal API or user changed their mind at the very last step or was not sure. For such a case erroneous orders were shown for employees at the cash counter.
On this overview an employee at the cash counter can see the details about the reservations for the events or the reservation for the table. Especially the table reservation came very handy during the Covid-19 crisis as government made mandatory to record at least name and phone number of the guest and Efendi Bey was able to use the online reservation feature.
Many a times customer wanted to change the order and mostly the customer was calling in the cafe and asking for the change. For this order editing function was developed, wherein the employee logged in was able to search for an order and open the web created order in the admin view and modify it accordingly. The pink color lines were differentiating the online orders with the orders created in the cafe.
Now the admin was having access to all the functions and on top could see an overview on the dashboard. That was helping the owner to decide which cakes should be produced more and which type.
Finally, there was a campaign module introduced wherein admin could run campaigns to give discount codes for a limited time and also for limited numbers.
Once the code is activated the end user is able to use it on the main website
The third step toward digitalization.
Now that the orders started coming and it could be proven that the decision to digitalize and optimize the processes was not digitally bad there were other potentials that could be explored.
Just for the sake of it we share the order from go-live year since June 2018 and the next year 2019 and the year 2020 with Corona Pandemic effect seen so clearly but still not that bad whereas others without digital platform was still struggling to do business.
The same comparison can be done for the turnover figures as well but the upward trend of the orders received speaks for itself and it clearly shows the advantage of moving towards the digitalization.
The third step was home delivery and not only for cakes but also for other products including lunch and dinner. But the client wanted to have it as soon as possible and was also not sure whether this would impact the cake orders and the customer will get distracted but as they say in German ‘Gott Sei Dank!’ Thank God it was not the case. Though it would still be too early to say but indeed it was not a loss-making business, if not a profit-making business from day one. We will present some figures and the work that we did in the following section.
The biggest challenge was to get the work done in 4 weeks due to corona pandemic. Businesses came to standstill all of a sudden and business-owners had to find the way out but for us since the platform was already available, we were able to set online ordering from menu live within 4 weeks’ time.
The design was created with a focus on mobile first as obviously analytics helped us in making that decision easily. Below are some real time analytics figure for last 2 years.
Now that it was clear that the focus was on mobile friendly design the following application was developed.
After introducing the home delivery module, it was essential to include the google map APIs for calculating the distance and fetching the correct address and the route calculation to optimize the delivery.
Not only the google APIs were introduced but also Ecommerce Tracking feature of Google Analytics was implemented so as to Collect and analyze purchase and transaction data.
And the development is ongoing. Stay tuned for the next update on the blog. We successfully helped one company to digitalize. It was a company who wanted to go that path and definitely they see the benefits now. We would be more than happy to help other companies also reap the benefits of digitalization.
If we were to list the major activities that were carried out, they would be following
- SEO using Google AdWords, Google Search Console, Google Analytics
- Google Business was set-up
- Google enhanced E-commerce Integration
- Google map APIs
- E-mail Integration
- Chat Integration (later disabled due to resource unavailability)
- Printer Integration
- PDF Printing of Orders and Invoices
- Responsive web design using ReactJS, NodeJS and Mongo DB
- Responsive web design using MEAN stack.
- Touch Monitor installation using Raspberry PI
- Payment gateway integration using PayPal
- Design of Order-to-Cash process
The entire project followed Agile project development and the tool used was JIRA. The infrastructure team ensured the application security and we own the Linux servers that are highly secured and backed up regularly. The system is so stable that in last 2 years there was 0 downtime.
If you have similar requirement, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be glad to help.