“All non-essential shops, bars and restaurants are to be closed ”
Words that undoubtedly resonated around the nation and had tens of thousands of businesses up and down the country all asking the same question of “what are we going to do”?
One ray of light that still was left for businesses was that the government was still actively encouraging online companies to still operate and that cafes / restaurants and pubs could operate in a delivery and takeaway model providing they could adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Here at Jump24 we saw an immediate problem, how do businesses (especially food based) that until that point had been an on-premise operation, adapt their business model overnight? At about 10pm that evening a few of us jumped onto a call (admittedly some with a glass of vino in hand - after all it was a Friday!) and chatted through the problem to see if there was a way that we could assist. One point that we all agreed on is that we were very fortunate, our team were able to work from home and to all intent and purpose our business could continue to operate through this period with minimal impact. With that in mind it didn't seem fair that so many other companies were going to have the rug pulled out from under them overnight.
So what could we do? We're not an F1 team or a manufacturer who could provide breathing apparatus or medical equipment, but what we could do was what we know best and that was to build a web platform, a platform to help small businesses remain open, switch to takeaway and still receive orders. All available to use for free.
So that's what we sketched out, a way that a company could promote themselves, accept orders online and even take payment for that order in advance. This needed to happen in a way that didn't impact the economics of that business, didn't require them to fundamentally change their operational processes, or invest in new hardware. We knew that there were alternatives that a business could use whether its Deliveroo, Just Eat or Uber Eats but these can have complex on-boarding, high fees, changes to operational processes and more importantly they remove the vendor from the relationship with their customer, something we vowed to avoid. To cap it all off we set ourselves the target of getting it into the hands of businesses within…7 days…!
So with the basics ironed out and the architecture of what was needed agreed, we sent out a call to arms for the rest of the team and all credit to them, first thing Saturday morning everybody mobilised to help out wherever they could.
By the end of the weekend, with the team having given up their time we ended up with the majority of the foundational work in place across both the front and backend, including the brand (Awe-der, as in 'Order' or 'made to order'). A pretty good start by any measure!
Heading into Monday morning we hit our first hurdle of trying to get this released within our 1 week target. We were fully booked with client work (which is an amazing place to be) and this left little time for working on Awe-der. A problem that existed until that evening, when unprompted our team then voluntarily gave up their spare time to continue to push the project forward. A great act that wasn't mandated or asked for and we were very aware that our team is already cooped up at home all day in front of screens. To then spend more time doing work in the evenings has added strain to their everyday routines and we cannot thank them enough. Throughout the week, the time people have found and put into this product has been phenomenal, but we all believe passionately that Awe-der can make a real difference to businesses around the country.
So where are we up to? As of writing we are still behind where we want to be. We had hoped to have released by now and we wish that at this point we were writing a post to celebrate the launch of our freshly designed product. We can't, but we are so, so close!
Being transparent, our main front-end developer has been ill and the team are tired, but still they are carrying on. We're currently implementing the finished UI and are in final functional testing therefore only a few days away from launch.
Our next post will hopefully be the presentation of the Awe-der platform and how it can be used to help as many small businesses around the country as possible.
More news soon, in the meantime If you or anyone you know is interested in signing up, the details can all be found at Awe-der.net and as always in these troubling times, stay safe and wash your hands!