What is VenuEats?
VenuEats is an idea that I had created after noticing a gap in the service industry. When at a sporting event you often see crowded lines of people waiting to get drinks, meals, or snacks at a concessions stand. What if we could bring the concessions to the consumer? What kind of effect would that have on not only the consumer but the venue itself?
Looking into this idea some more, what I found was that most consumers were pressured by people behind them and were not able to fully browse the menu before ordering.
The idea, broken down
What if there was an app that knew when you were at a participating venue? What if this app allowed you to browse the food offerings of the entire venue, without requiring the consumer to wander across the stadium?
This is where the idea of VenuEats really starts to shine.
My goal with VE was to create an app that would automatically recognize when a user is at a specific venue, automatically load all menu items, display specials, and allow the user to order concessions directly to their seat.
When polling friends, family, and friends of family members I found the following:
- Most consumers would be more likely to purchase concessions at least once.
- Consumers would feel less stressed if they no longer have to stand in line. They would also no longer have to worry about squeezing past other venue attendees to get back to their seat. No more worries of spilling or dropping something on the way back to their seat.
- The ease of ordering would greatly entice them to use the service and order multiple times rather than just once around halftime.
- If the app can be used at multiple venues, consumers would be happier and not feel like their phones are full of junk applications.
While the app has not been used at a large scale venue yet, there are some general expectations for the app and the effects it would have on the venue.
- Increased sales with less congestion in the line.
- Increase in jobs offered by the venue if the venue chooses to staff their own courier service for the application.
- Increase in profits with the ability to better regulate and specify what goes in and out of the kitchen.
- Happier consumers/visitors who are enjoying more of their event without having to get up numerous times.
Building the App
Building an app like this is not easy. It takes a lot of time, a lot of teamwork, and a lot of critical thinking. Because of this, I chose to bring this app idea to my workplace. It is an idea that can be turned into a SaaS product that will help us add to our staff. It’s an idea that we can use to make a profitable business that will prove to be beneficial for all of our employees.
React. From the get-go I knew I wanted this project to be a React Native project with tons of built-in goodies. It needed to have Apple Pay, Google Pay, third party authentication, and more.
I also knew that we would need a dashboard application for the venues to manage their offerings, orders, and more. Again, React. React is my favorite framework to develop with at the moment, and the more I use it the more proficient I continue to become. I’ve been loving the development lifecycle of React, and so has the rest of the team.
For our database we chose to get a little creative. This is a solution that is likely to trickle out as we continue to push more in the direction of microservices for our application, which will all have their own data sets on a sister VPC. For the time being though, we chose to use MongoDB’s new product, Atlas. Atlas took a lot of work off of our hands, gave us third party authentication, and more. It’s a great product for any start up application or business, and is rapidly developing into a more robust product.