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QSR Apps & Integration with 3rd Party Services

March 4, 2024

This work study explores the development and implementation of innovative solutions that helped the relevant businesses grow to the next level. Beating out the limitations of proprietary architecture being controlled by companies like OLO, Punchh, Novadine, and Revel.

In countries like the United States, the experience of online ordering and delivery is closely controlled by a few companies. These companies offer extensive solutions that cater to all kinds of different QSR brands and their unique needs.


There is a catch. Oftentimes when these services are being used, when you grow as a business you run into the typical issues with any ERP style solution:

1 – Lack of customization to meet demands of specific workflows and features your business needs.
2 – Ecosystem lockdown hindering you to integrate with technologies you might want but simply can’t have in your tech stack.
3 – The exorbitant fees of hiring consultants and dedicated solution provider style companies for implementing what are patch on solutions to meet your needs.

Enter the world of custom development using technologies that are open and easy to upgrade as long as you have a generalist dev team.

In my time as a PM for several QSR projects we had to develop workarounds that enabled growth for the business, offered a reliable alternative to proprietary solutions being currently used, and improved the user experience compared to what was being offered by the white labeling service brands.

UI images of various QSR Apps

Work Examples

1. Frontend Revamp for OLO Based QSR

The business was tired of ‘looking the same’ as every other OLO based online ordering platform. On top they wanted features that their style of restaurant required – such as customizing ingredients in much greater detail than what OLO provides. Lastly, they wanted a robust rewards system which the out of box PUNCHH solution simply did not fulfill.

2. POS based QSR Mobile App

The Revel POS is one of the most commonly used systems for inventory tracking and ordering in many US based QSRs. The issue however is that their system is not a good fit for modern apps. In our case, the business ran a coffee chain, and the Revel POS just could not keep up with their growth in terms of product offerings and variations. The business wanted to enter the mobile space, but simply could not due to lack of interoperability between Revel and modern requirements of the mobile app UX.

3. Food Delivery Aggregator QSR Platform

Aggregator platforms already exist, and they are great for the most part – what isn’t great is that what about the unique needs about a certain group of population that might order a lot online? Yes, University Students. We set out with the goal to build a platform that caters to the specific needs and requirements of University students, gifting food? Rewards that mean more to a student? Bulk ordering? Repeat ordering? Name it all – this had to be done custom, but had to be done clean – enter the University focused food aggregator platform available on Web, Mobile, Tablet with apps facing towards users, providers – and what was unique, a non logged in version for people wanting to gift instantly.

In all of the cases listed above, my experience as PM revolved around 3 key criterias when it came to QSR platforms.

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The User Experience is more important than you think

The user is already hungry, food already takes hours to deliver, and figuring out what to eat is half the battle. Given all these well known problems, it cannot be urged how important is the UX when it comes to developing a QSR platform. My top suggestion for UX would be the following:

– Have a tracking system that works BUT is not intrusive to the experience, it should be there “when” you need it.
– When customizing an item always retain information in case the user decides to click away accidently.
– Have quantity pickers integrated, don’t make it 2 step.
– Quick add to cart is a must have for things that don’t require customization.
– If something is a ‘combo’ make sure to have customization tied to the product type.
– Keep the images light, you don’t want an app loading like 90s internet.

Gamification in QSR works, as cheesy as it sounds

If Hooked by Nir Eyal has taught anything it is that if your products form habits, they are a success. This isn’t more true than in the food industry. The intent here is not to be malicious and use dark patterns, but to reward loyalty and return of loyal customers.

Repeat order rewards is not a new thing in the food business, daily punch cards anyone?

Doing rewards digitally though is a whole another challenge, especially building a robust tracking system that is as ‘real’ time as possible without being too complex to manage on the backend. Here are my top picks for rewards in QSR apps:

– Have time based reminders that rewards are in your app and they do exist, DON’T over do it however.
– Don’t create a points system that requires a calculator for your users to figure out.
– Be lean with screw ups, make rewards that reward your user continuously – skip the daily order reward
– Your rewards should cater to multiple kinds of habits, not just one. Some people want to eat out daily, and some want to order for the whole family once a month – your rewards should balance out both kinds of extremes.
– Lastly, do not base ‘everything’ around rewards – rewards are an added bonus, they should not take away from the regular ordering experience – lookin at you Mcdonalds.

Which brings us to the last important aspect of QSR apps:

PAYMENTS – all kinds of em

People wanna pay with cash, with cards, with gift cards, with a mix of them, with multiple of them, with someone else’s, with their own – you get the idea. Oh and tips too.

A good QSR app needs to have a robust payments system which knows how to prioritize based on user input. Here are my top picks for a good payment system:

– Tipping is important, in States, have systems that have pre baked options to tip, makeup tipping as easy as possible.
– Gift card should always be the first priority when going with split payments.
– If multiple credit cards are being supported for a payment you need to give users the option to split the payment by default .
– Make type boxes BIGGER, most folks order from phone, make numbers easy.
– Add a button that ‘SPLITS’ everything across all payment methods.
– Save the last payment method by default.
– Lastly, adding new cards should always be in a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-E) compliance manner.

There you go, 

The top issues and solutions to building effective QSR apps that delight the user, grow your business, and help you do better.

Now if you are wondering, how to get around the limitations placed by OLO, or Revel, or Novadine, or Punchh – that’s what you need to hire me for – click below

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