Building pre-order technology: how to do it right
Fast food should be just that: a fast, effortless and convenient fix. Yet behind the scenes, the complexity of systems and operations involved can be truly staggering. So, when Burger King Germany asked us to future-proof their brick-and-mortar business with a mobile meal pre-order, pick-up and payment feature, we knew we were in for a real treat – a sophisticated system integration challenge on par with some of the most tricky tasks in software development.
Never change a running system?
There’s a reason why many major corporations rely on a relatively complex mix of bespoke systems. Developed over time by different departments – and based on a huge spectrum of different hard- and software components designed to tackle a wealth of client-specific requirements – these gradually evolving architectures might not always be simple or intuitive, but do keep the overall business running. Change one tiny aspect, and the entire process could grind to a halt. So, considering the sheer spectrum of bespoke systems for purchasing, sales and distribution, controlling, manufacturing and even point-of-sale devices used by most multinationals, a radical spring clean to streamline operations might disrupt everyday business for months or years.
Too big to not fail
What’s more, although nobody likes to talk about it, failure rates of IT projects at this scale are truly staggering. Hampered by mismatched expectations, runaway budgets, failed communications or, frankly, bad planning, 68 % of system integration and reorganization projects are quietly written off and buried in the budget after a year or two.
For Burger King Germany, this was certainly not an option. To boost revenue, increase customer retention, and generally future-proof their fast food empire, the fast-food giant decided to launch a seamless pre-order and pick-up service with plenty of personalization options: an app that would be as fast and flexible as the brand itself, ready within months, not years, integrated into existing payment and purchasing systems – and all this without disrupting regular operations, since missing even a day of sales would be inacceptable a company that prides itself on ubiquitous availability, speed and convenience.
Add a complex feature like mobile ordering to the mix, and integrating all these new and existing systems becomes a massive undertaking: from online ordering to offline cash registers, from cloud structures to physical systems, from inhouse kiosks to secure app payments, from spontaneous mobile orders to just-in-time food preparation.
Faced with this complex challenge, our seasoned project managers, software developers, and architects were well aware that investing a sizable chunk of time in advance to unravel complexity would save valuable time and resources further down the line. Which systems would be affected or involved in the process? What options were available to connect and integrate standalone offline systems? And, most importantly, who were the relevant stakeholders who could aid integration – or throw project-stopping spanners into the works?
Bringing everyone to the table
A lot of people tend to forget that system integration is not just about making various systems talk to each other, but also the stakeholders involved – from third-party system administrators to external marketing agencies. With this in mind, we made sure to consult everyone concerned, letting them register their concerns and recommendations before the actual app development. Based on this sound foundation and plenty of research, our team of 11 seasoned experts finished the integration of the CRM systems, POS solutions, new payment options, and order processes within six months – and within budget.
Extra pickles, hold the mayo
Easy and intuitive to the max, the app makes ordering and payment a cinch with a minimum of interactions. Since the app also learns from user behaviour, all choices, recommendations, and interaction opportunities reflect individual user preferences. Whether fry fiend, burger lover, or flexitarian: every user can be sure that the right meal is waiting for them the moment they walk into their chosen Burger King branch.
To hit the sweet spot between speed and freshness, the app automatically triggers an alert when a user approaches their pick-up location. Here, they can simply skip the queue to receive their bespoke order. Meanwhile, intuitive microtargeting offers great scope for organic promotions and upselling opportunities that add value to the user experience – and the client’s bottom line.
All about experience
We’ve already mentioned that it takes both technical foresight and veteran management experience to weave everything together without running into managerial roadblocks, stumbling over obscure lines of code, or taking the whole system offline (yes, this happens). Our comprehensive fintech experience also proved invaluable for fine-tuning the app’s PCI-compliant payment system.
Boost to the balance sheet
While customers enjoy friction-free payment (and tasty burgers!) after selecting their payment of choice, the app itself is also a clear financial win for Burger King Germany. The highly visual, no-pressure pre-ordering environment is designed to encourage larger purchases, while guided user journeys increase upselling opportunities and highlight higher-margin products in-app. Overall, the app’s pleasant and intuitive set-up is likely to boost revenue considerably - while also increasing customer satisfaction. What’s not to like?
We’re certainly happy with the smooth process and slick result. We especially would like to thank our friends at BURGER KING Germany for the trust they placed in us and the great collaboration during the whole project. To us, this always felt like a true partnership and not your regular client-contractor relationship.
Feel free to try it out for yourself at one of Burger King’s test locations in Germany. We promise: using it won’t break the bank – or the system.
“They were hands-on and solution-oriented — it was easy to work with them. They helped us find what was best for us and worked with us to solve any problem through a good solution.”
Malte Fiedler, Senior Manager Sales & Analytics
It’s rare for an agency to offer one-stop solutions for excellent project management, app development, and system integration. By shouldering a lot of responsibility, our team’s honest communications and intense in-house collaboration ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. This is a must for complex projects: all involved have access to pertinent information and all involved work towards one common goal, developing holistic, cross-departmental approaches to solve even the trickiest tasks.
So, whether fast and lean MVP implementation, agile PoC project, or highly complex brain buster: our flexible, hands-on approach and expertise in all three key areas guarantees reliable, high-quality results at any scale.