Whilst mobile technology occupies most aspects of daily life, the hospitality industry has remained largely untouched by digital solutions. Ian Martin and Paul Kirkland want to change that by challenging the traditional model of ordering in bars and restaurants. Their solution, Pour, is a comprehensive mobile platform that digitises the experience of a night out on the town, a family meal or even just picking up a sandwich for lunch.
The hospitality industry has seen ordering apps come and go over the years. Whitelabel and brand-specific apps from companies such as JD Wetherspoons and Brewdog offer solutions for individual bar and restaurant chains, however the industry lacks an experience driven platform that encompasses many venues in a given town or city.
The COVID-19 crisis sparked an immediate demand for contactless ordering solutions. Venues that may have previously resisted digitising the ordering process now viewed this as a valid solution to protect both staff and customers whilst maintaining a close to normal service. The stage was set to adapt the Pour platform as a ready-to-go solution for bars and restaurants desperate to re-open and welcome back customers.
The Pour MVP offers a digital solution for ordering that goes beyond a simple transaction tool. Pour’s management system gives venues full control over their orders, their inventory, menus, tables and more. The customer’s experience is also made easier than ever, with a simple ordering system and Stripe integration for quick, safe and importantly, contactless transactions.
Ian & Paul arrived at the Bad Dinosaur workshop with more than just an app idea; they came with a plan and a vision of their company five, ten years down the line. We were quickly able to narrow in on their plans to capture the independent and small chain pubs & restaurant market. We designed their proposition to help those businesses up their technological game, and hopefully carve out future ventures in the entertainment sector.
Our MVP methodology resonated well with Ian and Paul. They quickly understood that ‘Building the MVP way’ was going to launch their new business in a cost-effective and agile way. With their entrepreneurship and love of keeping things simple, it was a match made in heaven.Ian Henderson, Developer, Bad Dinosaur
We love to help a client shape their idea into something truly special. When Ian and Paul came to us with their idea for a location driven drinks ordering app, we were immediately excited about what it could become. Pour was to revolutionise the ordering experience on both the customer and venue side in a seamless manner. Together we envisioned the app's potential to become even more. Pour could be a comprehensive city guide and night out companion: encompassing events, personalised offers/recommendations and real-time venue information and statistics.
At its core, Pour brings together venues across a given town or city and allows customers to place and manage food and drinks orders. Ian and Paul loved the idea that Pour would be an essential companion for tourists and locals alike - showcasing the very best a place has to offer. Our early concepts give the user, at a glance, the ability to determine what venues are nearby, how busy they are and how to get there. Users are able to find real-time information on a venue as part of an immersive digital experience that puts them in the heart of the action. Video, photography, live music promotions and more, bring the venue to life in the palm of the user’s hand.
The vision for Pour as a showcase for best a city has to offer extended into our design for its menu. We wanted to make a feature of the menu and go beyond a simple inventory list. Early concepts envision the menu as a ‘bar’ with beer bottles, pints, glasses of wine etc as a rich swipeable carousel. The individual products have, like the venue itself, an area to showcase their brand - a feature with potential to highlight and promote local producers.
The customer side is only one half of Pour’s unique design however. Staff and venue managers were for Pour founders Ian and Paul, an essential part of the concept. Venues now largely utilise POS systems to log and track customer orders. However Pour’s requirement for live orders required a re-think of the traditional POS user interface. We loved the carousel idea from the customer experience and envisioned staff having a similar tap and swipe driven interface on a tablet.
The printed ticket line used in bars and commercial kitchens inspired the orders interface designed for staff/manager use. Order tickets populate the row in real-time as users complete their food or drinks order. Tickets provide staff with all the information they need to prepare the order. We wanted to give the staff and venue control and accountability over each order and so designed an order approval flow for accepting or rejecting orders and providing customers with real-time information on their orders or any issues the venue may be experiencing. Reporting tools gather data from orders and staff activity for venue managers to track. Full control over inventory is given to managers, who with a single click, can turn products, categories or whole menus on or off. With these tools and more, managers have full control over how users see and interact with their venue.
Ian and Paul have been dream clients to work with. Their enthusiasm, receptiveness and passion for their product at each stage of the design and development journey has been inspirational and has continually motivated everyone working on the project.Finlay Muir, Designer, Bad Dinosaur
Menus can often be monotonous and uninspiring elements of the user experience. As we approached each feature of Pour, we did so with the ambition of making it as exciting and immersive as possible - and the menu was to be no exception. The product carousel was designed as an early concept for Pour’s menu system as a way of bringing customers closer to a venue’s food and drink offerings. How products are branded and displayed in venues is a significant factor in driving sales. Branded glassware, coasters, bar mats, bottles, videos and posters all help to reinforce brand recognition. The concept for Pour’s menu would support this immersion and allow venues to promote products to customers in a way that’s in line with their in-house methods.
Using Adobe XD’s animation tools, we were able to present an interactive concept to Ian and Paul based on early sketches and static wire-frame mock-ups. An alternative version was proposed that presented menu items as branded ‘coasters’ - inspired by beer tap and drinks coaster branding in bars. Oweing to the additional assets required, Ian and Paul decided to hold back the feature from the MVP version of the clickable, however the vision for showcasing products remains an important part of the overall concept and one that is set to evolve further post-launch.
The co-design sessions with Ian and Paul in the early stages were fantastic. We would bounce ideas off each other and together shaped the clickable-prototype into something that we are all very proud off. There's a definite gap in the market for an app that goes beyond just an ordering platform and our design of each feature ensures that following the release of the MVP, the platform can grow into the night-out 'experience' that has been invisioned.Finlay Muir, Designer, Bad Dinosaur
A lot of credit has to go to the Pour guys. They needed to get into the 'MVP-light' mindset at the start of the process and they bought into this from day one. With everything we were proposing, their support ensured we would launch when the product was needed most. Decisions were made quickly and we weren’t bogged down by extensive discussions on individual parts - that is one of the main reasons why the process worked so well.
What makes the team at Bad Dinosaur special is the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our business, their capability to understand our challenges so that every conversation with them feels like an extension of our team and as simple as it sounds how hard working and nice they are to work with.
The fact that the process was collaborative made sure there was give and take on features and that the feel of the clickable wasn’t lost. There was no single person driving the development and almost half of the Bad Dinosaur team had direct involvement in the MVP build. This meant that there was always support, new solutions to problems and a consistent pace each week leading up to release.
The knowledge and expertise each member of the (Bad Dinosaur) team brings is key.
The Pour MVP launched in early August 2020, just as venues were reopening their doors to customers. With several popular venues already signed up in Edinburgh and beyond, Ian and Paul are extremely pleased with the initial reception and have a larger market share in their sights going forward. Following launch, the Bad Dinosaur team have been busy refining the additional features held back from version 1.0. We can’t wait to see where we can take Pour and look forward to continuing working with Ian, Paul and Colin on this amazing product.
Pour have been such well organised clients and we all love working with them. Its a technical project, but having a CTO come onboard from the start showed us that they understand the importance of getting on hand strategic advice from an expert in this sector, especially with the MVP timeframe we faced. We quickly established trust in each other's abilities and that benefitted the entire process.Ellen Groen, Project manager, Bad Dinosaur