“A nuclear bomb went off in our industry,” said Kimbal Musk, co-founder of Kitchen Restaurant Group, a hospitality corporation that operates 15 nationwide restaurant chains. When COVID-19 emerged as a global pandemic in early 2020, government issued stay-home orders had an immediate impact on every business sector. Among the industries most affected by these orders were restaurants which relied heavily on foot-traffic and the in-person dining experience.

Restaurants were unprepared for the dramatic shift which occurred overnight to their business model. Suddenly, they could no longer depend on in-person dining customers and had to quickly shift their focus to socially-distant fulfillment, such as pick-up, drive-through, curbside, and delivery.

Musk, who has a personal mission of devoting himself to world-changing projects, decided to lead the charge in re-defining the new restaurant dining experience. And he knew just who to call to help him.

Dine-In And On Demand

Within the Kitchen Restaurant Group portfolio, Next Door Eatery was a natural fit to develop this new tech for. Mobelux collaborated with their in-house design team to develop a frictionless ordering and fulfillment experience for iOS and Android.

These apps to accommodated for curbside, delivery, and carryout, but Mobelux also collaborated with Next Door Eatery to pioneer an industry defining dine-in experience that was driven by mobile technology. At Next Door Eatery, all orders (including dine-in orders) are placed within the mobile apps instead of face-to-face with an employee, and are delivered with minimal human interaction.

Because Next Door Eatery has multiple locations and only one app, Next Door Eatery and Mobelux devised a unique solution for routing orders to the correct location while offering a frictionless dining experience. In lieu of complicated location services and microlocation sensing, the apps allow the user to input a unique number found on each table to ensure their order comes to the right table (hey, sometimes the simplest solution is the right one).

The Tech

While Mobelux is an expert in building scalable platforms from scratch, we didn't have the luxury of time; we had to move fast in order to meet the Next Door Eatery re-opening date. We decided to integrate with Olo (a platform which supplies menu data and online ordering APIs) and Wisely (a customer relationship management solution for the restaurant industry).

With the platform set, we turned to the apps. iOS historically takes quite a bit of time to develop the user interface so in order to rapidly deploy we developed the UI in Apples' new SwiftUI framework, which can provide significant front-end development savings if used appropriately (watch our Director of Development Jeremy Greenwood discuss more about it here).

Finally, Mobelux developed a white-labeled CMS for Next Door Eatery which allows their team to control the content and functionality within the apps which are not powered by Olo or Wisely, such as marketing copy, custom content, promotions, and more.

Utilizing these technologies allowed us to build a functional app that was in front of Next Door stakeholders in 5 days, and fully a functional app ready for polish and marketing in just 6 weeks.

Launch Day

Mobelux began Kimbal's native app project in April 2020. The culmination of all the hard work and collaboration between both teams was the launch of two native applications: one for iOS, and another for Android. By the end of May 2020, Mobelux had successfully delivered both native apps.

Through our collaboration, Next Door Eatery was able to use their new apps on the first day of their reopening, and Mobelux provided remote assistance and training to ensure a smooth launch.

I have always wanted to streamline the ordering and payment process at my restaurants but the timing was never right. When the COVID-19 global pandemic hit in March 2020 we faced the crisis with optimism and enlisted the team at Mobelux to help us innovate a safer, more streamlined ordering system. In a few short months of rapid development, we launched Next Door On Demand as one of the industry's first in-restaurant, mobile dining applications.

Kimbal Musk

If you need to reimagine your business model and the technology that supports it, we can help! Email us today at contact@mobelux.com to get started.

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