Shawarmer App: Food Tech Software

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  • Date Published
  • Reading Time 8-Minute Read

This complex food tech application enables one to order food & analyze complex user data through 2 native mobile apps and Admin Panel.

About the Company

Shawarmer is a quick-service restaurant founded in 1999, which has grown to more than 90 restaurants across the whole Saudi Arabia region. The Shawarmer mission is to take traditional street food and through innovation, creativity, and experimentation, constantly modernize and interpret shawarma with new flavors, sauces, and variations in wraps and sandwich styles. The company wanted to have mobile apps which will enable users to conveniently order food for pick-up from all of their Shawarmer restaurants.

Our Work

1. Process

Our client came to us thanks to the GITEX tech show in Dubai. As a company known from prior experience with building custom software for businesses from a GCC region (ProTenders) we were a perfect match!

The Shawarmer company had some existing software made by another provider but wasn’t entirely happy with it, as it wasn’t as reliable as they wanted it to be. That’s why at the very beginning, our goal was to rewrite the current hybrid app to two separate native ones (iOS and Android), slightly change its flow and uprate its general functionality.

For starters, our development team consisted of 6 people (one each: CTO, Project Manager, UX/UI Designer, Quality Assurance, Android and iOS) who faced a huge challenge, to adapt their efforts to the local infrastructure. Besides rewriting, the app also required UX & UI improvements and the preparation of comprehensive interface documentation.

While working on the project, we suggested some additional features and improvements, which were accepted by the client. So after some time, we expanded our team to 11 software development experts — CTO, Project Manager, UX&UI Designer, 2 x Quality Assurance, 2 x Android, 2 x iOS and 2 x Ruby on Rails developers.

2.  Challenges

Cultural Differences

Even though between our (Cracow) and Shawarmer (Riyadh) headquarters there is almost 5000 km of distance, the time difference is very small – only one hour. Nevertheless, when it comes to cultural differences they are much more visible. For example, in Poland, we usually have weekends (Saturday – Sunday) off, while in Saudi Arabia it is slightly different, with free Fridays and Sundays as their regular working days.

Qucik Access for the Approver

Another challenge that we faced was the proper right to left (RTL) writing support. Shawarmer mobile app had to be available both in English and Arabic language. That’s why while doing the Quality Assurance we had to make sure that all of the texts are inserted right.

NCR POS System Integration

The Shawarmer app’s goal is to make ordering pick-up food from the restaurant as convenient as possible so integrating it with the local POS system was very important. That was the biggest challenge for us from a technological point of view. Fortunately, we have experience with the gastronomy business (POSbistro) so not without the obstacles along the way, we managed to make Shawarmer app integrated with the NCR POS system properly.

UX & UI Improvements

The application required UX & UI improvements and the preparation of comprehensive interface documentation. Based on a Brand Book that we received from our client, we redesigned the whole app making it clearer and more visually engaging.

3. Mobile Apps

Our client wanted to have two separate native mobile apps, both for iOS and Android users. This approach enables us to ensure better User Experience which in the end makes users more eager to use the app. Both of the apps have the same functionalities.

Push Notifications

Tracking order status changes: the customer receives the notification when his/her order is ready for pickup from the restaurant. Shawarmer can send promotional information to customers from their database.

Contact Line: Client-Shop

The Shawarmer app enables users to share their feedback by rating the received dishes on a scale of 1 to 3 or writing a comment. Thanks to this data, restaurant owners have a chance to improve various aspects of their business. App users can also write their opinion on a specific restaurant (as there are more than 90 Shawarmer branches) which gives the owner valuable info about which locals are doing better or worse than others.

App Usage Data Analytics

The app is tracking all of the data connected with the way users are experiencing the software. How long do they stay in it, on which screens do they decide to leave it or how long does it take them, to make an order successfully? All of these events are integrated into Mixpanel analytics. Thanks to all of that, the app owner can constantly improve its product, to make it as convenient and user-friendly as possible.

Payment Integration

For iOS users, we integrated Shawarmer App with Apple Pay, as this solution is becoming more popular year by year and in 2018, reached almost 400 M users worldwide. Users are also able to use all of the other popular payment methods like credit cards, including Mada.

4. Admin Panel

Both Shawarmer mobile app and KIOSK (our separate product, that we’ve built for our client to make ordering food stationary as convenient as possible — more about Shawarmer KIOSK app soon) is also supported by a dedicated Admin Panel, which allows easy access to any system settings. It also includes tools for tracking customer feedback and overall sales statistics.

Customer Profile Management

Thanks to the panel, the restaurant owner is able to see data about each of its clients (the ordering history). How much food are they ordering, in which flavors, and at what time of day. Thanks to that knowledge he can, for example, focus on products that give him the most profits or award customers, who are making the highest number of orders. Shawarmer app users can evaluate each order and leave their opinions. Tools built into the admin panel allow the Shawarmer crew to assign customer relations representatives for each client feedback so customer satisfaction stays high. Built-in tools allow for quick data review.

User management for the admin panel allows for the easy addition of new staff to the system with proper permissions. Because of this, it’s easy to add a marketing analyst who’d like to review overall sales or a branch manager, who may be interested in checking what kind of feedback is his restaurant getting.

Issues Reporting Thorough Analytics

In case something went wrong, Shawarmer app users can report issues, which will be available to see in the panel by the restaurant owner in the reviews section. He can address them directly from the Panel to make sure that his services are of the highest quality. To avoid complaints that are not reasonable, the admin panel is also stored in the database and presents various data like service speed (preparing/picking time) or the time of the payments.

Users are also able to send their general opinion about the specific restaurant or dish like “it was good, but I would add some less onion”. Reviews and feedbacks are visible in separate areas of the admin panel. Thanks to all of that the restaurant owner has a chance to analyze various aspects of his business and make sure everything is working smoothly.

Basic Content & Features Management

Using the Admin Panel, Shawarmer restaurant staff with the right permissions can change the content inside the app in real time. They can change banners visible in the app, the “about the company” section and more, without stopping the app. The Shawarmer mobile app has a “prayer time” functionality, which notifies the user that he/she will need to wait a bit longer to receive his/her food. The period of that time is also manageable from the Admin Panel. In case of any issues the app owner, with the right permissions, can always turn on a maintenance mode.

Data Visualization

The admin panel not only gathers all of the data from the Shawarmer mobile app and KIOSK but also displays them in a clear yet comprehensive visual way. You can, for example, see charts showing what was the reviews (good or bad, how much of each?) this week/month/year and compare it with the previous period. It can also display which are the top 3 restaurants so far or which cities are bringing the biggest profits. That way analyzing even the biggest amount of data becomes much more convenient.

Results & Further Development

Our work resulted in building two fully functional mobile apps (iOS and Android) alongside with available from the browser Admin Panel. For today, more than 35 000 (25k iOS, 11k Android) people are using the Shawarmer mobile app monthly, giving more than 2 000 of them a day!

Currently, we are still cooperating with Shawarmer, working on additional features, that will be implemented soon. Among them, we can distinguish an option to order your food with the delivery.


“Railwaymen team helped us in rebuilding our Mobile applications with strong base. Their professionality made the process very smooth and fast. We did this in very short time even we had a lot of obstacles. Building the base in very professional way and as per the standard with the alignment of the up-to date technology helped us to start another project with them (KIOSK “self-service”) in very short notice and finished it as planned.”

Abdulaziz AlMusaireaeBrand Extension Director