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Taking control of the customer relationship with a custom-built food ordering platform

Having outgrown a 3rd party solution, Camile decided to develop a real competitive advantage by building their own restaurant ordering platform.
Client

Camile

Client since

2016

Services provided

Complex eCommerce, iOS & Android Mobile Apps, ePOS Terminal Software, Complex System Integrations, Technical Support, System Maintenance, Hosting & Cost Management, Security & Risk Management

The problem

Camile were (and still are) growing rapidly. Not only in terms of locations and customers, but also in the service lines and menu items offered to customers. In 2016 they were using a 3rd party ordering system, Mobi2Go, that they were fast outgrowing.

In an industry heavily influenced by large scale aggregators such as JustEat, Deliveroo and UberEats,
Camile needed a platform that would enable them to take control of the customer relationship and deliver a truly differentiated experience to users.

By building their own platform, Camile aimed to develop a far greater understanding of why and when customers order what they do, increase the relevance and effectiveness of their customer communications and create clear brand and experience differentiation between themselves and their competitors.

Characterstics of the project

Complex e-Commerce
The system needed to take into account real-time changes in menu items, availability, delivery times and location for each of its restaurants.

The volume of potential order combinations, combined with their dynamic nature, meant that every part of Camile’s process needed to be scrutinised to ensure a robust, user-friendly platform.
Best in class UX, UI and Visual Design
A core goal of the product was to deliver a differentiated and superior brand experience.

Effortless UX, seamless UI and beautiful visual design were therefore essential in order to deliver a competitive advantage.
Extremely robust technical architecture
This is business-critical software. Technical issues would mean many customers would be unable to place orders, likely forcing them to opt for a competitor and directly impacting Camile’s revenue.
Multiple, complex integrations
The iOS and Android mobile apps, ePOS terminal software, web ordering platform, stock control and many other systems all needed to communicate perfectly in order to provide accurate information to customers, to each restaurant and to management.
Detailed insights & reporting
To deliver a real competitive advantage, the systems needed to not only show which product line at which store was most popular, but also answer the question of why.

These insights are far deeper than would be possible using a 3rd party platform.

The required commercial impact was tangible: greater customer loyalty and more revenue.

The process

At Steer73, we believe the origins of any great digital solution lie at the intersection of 3 key areas:

1. What a business needs
2. What users expect and demand
3. What the available technology is best placed to deliver

It was vital that during every stage of the process, these three areas were kept top of mind.

Scoping

First, we needed to understand the business. Both in terms of its key challenges/opportunities and, exactly how it functioned. This involved getting to grips with:
  • How each restaurant operated
  • How HQ operated
  • The entire system worked: Not a single delivery experience but a complex blend of onsite dining, click and collection and delivery
  • The needs of franchise-owned stores compared to corporate-owned locations
From here, we needed to gain an in-depth understanding of the customer needs and expectations. The market is highly competitive and includes a number of large 3rd party aggregators including JustEat, UberEats and Deliveroo.

We conducted in-depth research into how other food ordering apps operated and spoke with users about their needs, expectations and desires. Throughout this process we needed to understand both what users expect, what is best practice, where there is opportunity for improvements and where we could add ‘magic moments’ that truly differentiate the Camile offering.

Finally, we considered the technological landscape to assess what solutions were available, which included both customising off-the-shelf software, and building our own.

The core requirements identified were a platform that was adaptable, scaleable and one that can be rapidly updated as per Camile’s needs. Very soon, it became apparent that nothing but an internally owned, managed and hosted technology platform would support their key business goals, objectives and growth.

Solution definition

This is the stage where we defined how the requirements from scoping would be delivered, detailing exactly how the system would work.

We would build, manage and host our own technology platform, including an iOS app, an Android app and a web ordering platform.

To ensure timely delivery, consistent improvement and effective use of budgets, a clear definition of v1 and a detailed product roadmap were created.

Implementation

In addition to the seamless integrations, a fluid UI was essential for translating multiple variables for each order, and real-time changes to parameters, into an effective customer experience.

Significant amounts of testing, experimentation and utilisation of best practices were used to decide on the optimal UX, UI and visual design.

Launch

In the incredibly fast-changing world of food delivery, the new Camile platform immediately represented a clear competitive advantage. It provided Camile with a direct-to-customer relationship and the commercial tools required to operate in a market with increasingly strong delivery aggregators.

As the pandemic hit, they continued to deliver extremely strong growth and financial performance, largely due to the fact that Camile “was doing 70 per cent of its sales off premises before the pandemic took hold.” where “more than half our sales come from our own proprietary app.” – Brody Sweeney CEO of Camile – Irish Times

Continuous improvement

With Steer73 as their technology partner, Camile have continuosly improved the platform, enabling them to deliver an even stronger, more differentiated experience to their customers, with more actionable insights for the business.

Camile have been able to capitalise on the competitive advantage of owning their own technology with exciting new additions, such as delivery by drones.

There is a fantastic roadmap in place and Steer73 look forward to supporting Camile in their growth for many years to come.

Through owned technology, we can rapidly support the addition of new stores and engage with new technology partners to offer truly ground-breaking (i.e. drone delivery!) services.

The outcome

Greater profitability

By transitioning from a reliance on 3rd party aggregators, that each take sizeable commissions, to dealing directly with the customer, Camile has been able to increase margins from online sales.

Higher customer lifetime values

By using the detailed analytics of the platform, as well as owning the customer relationship, Camile is able to understand what a customer wants and why. Leading to more relevant marketing and more orders per customer.

A more stable, predictable revenue stream

By owning the customer relationship, understanding what factors influence orders and controlling the content on the platform, Camile is no longer at the whim of 3rd party promotions and unexplainable peaks and troughs.

A truly differentiated customer experience

Camile controls every aspect of the customer experience, enabling them to differentiate themselves from the competition, stand out and improve brand salience.

Custom, unrivalled analytics

Camile has been able to remove much of the guesswork involved in their business, which in turn can result in improved menu development, marketing and resource planning.

Move to digitally-led growth

The new system gives Camile the ability to move to a digitally led business and represents a transition from reliance on third party providers and walk in or phone based orders.

This proved instrumental in delivering strong financial performance throughout the pandemic.

"Steer73 have taken the time to understand our project in detail, and to design and build a best-in-class platform. "

― Brody Sweeney, CEO, Camile​

Ongoing support

Following the initial build of the platform, as a technology partner to Camile, not only do Steer73 provide continuous product development based on an exciting roadmap, we also deliver a host of support services so that Camile can focus on running their business while we ensure their tech works as it should.

These services include:
Technical Support (Infrastructure): Providing a support team to respond to downtime or issues with system infrastructure.

System Maintenance: Preventative, corrective and adaptive maintenance work to ensure smooth, ongoing operation of the system.

Hosting & Cost Management: Managing hosting and other technical services.

Security & Risk Monitoring: Penetration testing, regular vulnerability scanning and monthly reports on any security risks.