OAK'S LAB DIGITAL Expertise:
“We are building enterprise level software, targeting multi-concept, multi-location operators, food halls with delivery and ghost kitchens.”
Devin is a seasoned entrepreneur who has founded and exited from seven venture backed technology startups. In addition to his successful career as a founder, Devin also ran his own early stage venture fund stewarding startups from ideation to series A.
In late 2019 Devin identified a market opportunity: top restaurant and food brands were not partnering with third party delivery companies. Why? Chefs and leading restaurateurs were concerned about brand standards and poor customer experience. As a result 3rd party delivery apps have a hard time proving out profitable unit economics at scale because they are stuck with small AOVs (Average Order Values) and unsophisticated restaurant operators.
Devin teamed up with Scott Howard, an award-winning chef, and Barry Werner, a seasoned restaurant operator and investor. Together they laid the foundations for Crave by engaging leading restaurant brands and designing a fully virtual food hall using a ghost kitchen format leveraging proprietary technology focused on multi location, multi brand enterprise restaurants.
In order for Crave to become a success Devin had to nail the technology. His vision was dependent on a scalable tech infrastructure consisting of a consumer mobile app and facility management software. Having worked with OAK’S LAB on other startup projects, he selected us as his partner to transform his vision into a real product that users love.
Top restaurant brands became Crave investors and together with OAK’S, Crave developed its own proprietary tech stack. In order to be the best, Crave had to operate on their own rails by opening their own facility. With this first-of-its-kind technology, Crave was able to aggregate top brands with higher AOVs into this ghost kitchen. The first Crave location opened in Boise, Idaho in November 2020 and quickly scaled to $500k in monthly revenue within the first six months of operation.
The success of the first location has laid the foundation for Crave to build a next-gen software business by both scaling to multiple new locations across the United States and licensing the software to top restaurant and food brands around the world. We are very proud to have partnered with Crave on their journey.
At the heart of the Crave buildout was a clear roadmap that aligned the business goals and outcomes with our product team’s capabilities. The roadmap we put together for Crave allowed us to break the project down into different product and business phases which allowed us to measure our progression while having a clear plan for the future.
Prior to building out the Crave product, it was vital for us to understand who we are building the product for, what the current competitive landscape looks like, and how we should tailor our product development process to fit the needs of the project. In this phase we laid the foundation for the project and delivered:
- The Product Field
- Market Research
- User Personas
- Prioritized Epics and User Stories
- Use Case Diagrams
- User Flows
- Success Metrics
"During the foundation and discovery phase we formulate our assumptions about business and users to test and validate them. The real product is made when users prove your assumptions wrong - that's the fun part!"
Product Manager, OAK’S LAB
Once we had a clear scope for Crave in place, we moved on to the design phase. In this phase of the project, the main objective was to prepare everything for the engineering team to operate as efficiently as possible, while ensuring that the first release of the product delighted our early adopters. In this phase we delivered:
- Brand Styleguide
- Low Fidelity Wireframes
- High Fidelity Design Prototype
- User Testing
- Design System
- Data Model
- Infrastructure Proposal
- Software Architecture
- Security Analysis
- 3rd Party Services Analysis
The design system allowed us to streamline the workflow between designers and engineers, which was important for the success of the project.
Lead Designer, OAK’S LAB
Since kicking off the project in 2019, Crave has been continuously iterating, transforming, and improving. In 2021, we can see the best version of Crave so far. It’s been a fun and challenging journey and there is still a long way to go. Moving forward, we’re confident that the Crave team will be able to leverage all that we have created to continue improving the product.
CDO, OAK’S LAB
We worked closely with Crave's in-house marketing team to evolve the brand in order to evoke the feeling of high-quality yet comfort food. Throughout our creative journey, we helped create a styleguide covering the logo, color palette, typography, and product usage guidelines.
We set out to architect and engineer a robust multi-platform system allowing customers to mix and match their favourite dishes from different restaurants within one order in one mobile application. The platform then routes all orders to the Crave facility and distributes them to each specific restaurant kitchen through a kitchen operations web application.
The entire facility was then administered by a comprehensive facility management and logistics web portal. In order for a smooth engineering process that was flexible enough to handle ad-hoc business requests, we intended to follow the agile philosophy and implement the scrum methodology. However when COVID hit the business pivoted to release 6 months earlier than planned and so we hustled hard to build an MVP within two months.
As a cross-continental team working in multiple squads from both the US and Europe, it was vital that we operated on a fixed schedule with ceremonies that allowed for the teams to work independently yet stay coordinated while working on the most important things for the business. These are the key ceremonies we still run on today:
- Backlog Refinement
- Sprint Demo
- Sprint Retrospective
- Sprint Planning
"As a leader on Crave, I try to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, improve, and help others grow and enjoy their work. In our team there is no space for the word impossible. Every problem has a solution and is only as big as we make it."
Lead Engineer, OAK’S LAB
At the time of writing, (August 1, 2021) Crave has raised over $10M and is generating $1.4M in monthly orders through their mobile app, which is currently limited to serving Boise, Idaho. Crave is in the process of finalizing the terms for their series A investment round and plans to expand its technology to hundreds of cities across the US and the world.