On Time, On Point, On Budget!

Reserved for you. How an app for massive restaurant tables’ reservation works

One of our customers has decided to start an online reservation service for restaurants in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, with long-term goal to cover all Russian major cities. We have created the app for restaurants who will use this service. Read more to know how it works.   If you are a service company and you cannot provide easy access to your services online, you lose up to a half of clients. When a customer comes to your website and doesn’t find a way to make an online order, every second visit ends with nothing (or probably a visit to your competitor’s website). The main problem of automatic online orders and reservation systems is that for most of the local companies it is too expensive to create. The return of investments will take months, if not years. Not every small business looks so far. Some minimize the costs with a simple trick: “Leave your number, we’ll call you back”. It’s 200% better than nothing, but this solution has a ton of gaps. One of our customers has decided to solve this problem massively – at least, for restaurants and cafes. RestAdviser is a service that helps a restaurant organize online reservation with its solutions, manage guests and do other useful things. In addition, it works also for restaurants’ clients benefit, providing ratings, feedback from various resources and minimizing the perfect place search difficulties. Now RestAdviser works in two major Russian cities – Moscow and Saint Petersburg and has a long-term goal to cover all Russian big cities. Enterra was to develop a mobile app for RestAdviser users – restaurant owners and managers. With this app, hosts and other responsible are able to see online reservations, confirm them, choose tables for guests and manage all this process. iPad was chosen as a preferable platform. The Task Convenient and functional restaurant app with the following options:
  • Create halls, tables, other important elements with a visual designer
  • Receive reservations data and display it in the app
  • Change reservation details if needed
App Logic The application workflow is relatively simple and clear though during the development we had to correct several nuances. How is a reservation made? RestAdviser App scheme In the visual designer, a restaurant host may create an unlimited number of halls and tables, and point every important inner element, like the scene, windows, doors, walls. The guest may choose the best possible option available. Tables positions may be changed by a restaurant, like when a big celebration is planned. The reservation may be moved between the tables. We had almost no problems with the development of handy and good-looking designer, and it is a subject of proud. In our mobile app portfolio, there were already several projects with extremely important visual, intuitive UI – for example, vector graphic editor Grapholite or database designer Mobi DB. So all we needed is to use our experience on the new task. In addition, RestAdviser has asked us to create a beautiful calendar. We have been thinking for a while, and then found a sleek solution at Habrahabr (in Russian). Small Important Details The development process has revealed several important nuances.
  1. RestAdviser services are provided on a subscription basis, but no one wants to buy the cat in a sack. Restaurant hosts may use the main app functionality free without authentication: to try the visual designer, to check usability, to ensure that it will fit their needs. But synchronization with the server and the tables reservation are available only for authorized users – those who are subscribed.
  2. Potential reservations conflict that may appear if one table is reserved within 5 minutes both in the app and on the website. Let us imagine a popular restaurant with a limited number of well-situated tables that everyone likes. In this case, the very last reservation stays on the table. The displaced one gets to the special list of unallocated requests and needs to be managed by a restaurant host.
  3. Time confusion. Mind that service is going to be federal, and Russia has 11 time zones. In addition, these time zones are changed from time to time in some regions. To prevent confusion, we set the server strictly on the Moscow time zone. The app “knows” it, and shows a user his local time, taking the time difference into account during synchronization.
The Result App Screenshot App ScreenshotApp Screenshot This entry was posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 8:15 am and is filed under Mobile.