13 years as a member of one of the largest terrace bars in Seville, Puerto de Cuba, provides many anecdotes to tell and a heap of experiences. That was the prelude that Antonio Bustamante lived, and that led him to detect the need to connect diners directly with bars and restaurants, with two main goals: to offer a better experience to the end customer and to obtain greater business profitability.
It was after the lockdown in Spain, with the rise of digital payments and QR codes as the default solution for most hotel and restaurant establishments, when Antonio saw the perfect opportunity to respond to this need thanks to technology: create a solution that would allow customers to order and pay from their table, without the need to wait for a waiter, quickly and safely.
With a clear idea but without a technical team, Antonio connected with Z1 as a technological partner to launch his MVP. “I knew Z1 for a long time and closely followed the evolution of the studio. During that time, I was able to appreciate the quality of delivery of their products and their ability to offer innovative and efficient solutions”, explains the founder.
By having Z1 create the Qamarero MVP, Antonio was able to focus on other important aspects of the business, such as validating the market, recruiting talent, or looking for funding.
By trusting Z1 to create the first version of his product, Antonio was able to focus on selling and promoting Qamarero, finding his first clients, recruiting talent, and looking for funding, with the peace of mind of knowing that he had an experienced team in the area of product design and development. He knew that only after launching a quality MVP and having a solid product-market fit would it make sense to create his own internal team.
We started creating the MVP of Qamarero defining the main features and sub-features for the principle use cases: the solution to order and pay for the diner and the admin for the business. We noted down a detailed description of each feature and user story with all the key points and possible relationships. But above all: we clearly define the limitations.
“We started a dialogue with Antonio to delimit the list of functionalities,” recalls Lucía, Lead Product Designer at Z1. “It's tempting to try to encompass all the ideas that cross your mind, there are loads of options, but to create an MVP effectively, you have to remain calm and delete everything accessory to move faster."
"Creating an MVP effectively means deleting everything accessory to move faster," Lucía Guillén, Z1 Lead Product Designer.
In the case of Qamarero, we put down many key questions on the table, such as to what extent it was necessary to go into the detail of the product to be able to order it: “Well-done or undercooked meat? Chips or salad side dish?” All this, in the end, is accessory or complementary. In other words: it is very interesting in order to improve the product, but it is not necessary to get an MVP out there and start testing the product. We decided to resolve this specific matter in some general notes at the checkout in the Just Eat style. Finding the simplest solution with the fewest steps possible for users is what we aspire to in version 0.
Only when the user flows and the list of features in the form of blockframes are limited, we continue with our process: validating the UI with the wireframes. More testing and new iterations appear, which are evaluated and validated or discarded in a friendly negotiation between the founder, design team, product managers, development leads, and clients. Each one puts their experience to work to come up with the best solution, the most efficient design, the one that we pass on to development so that it comes to life.
Finding the simplest solution with the fewest steps possible for users is what we aspire to in version 0.
In the meantime, we are also making progress toward the branding of the product. At this point, the dialogue continues. Antonio has several ideas in which the QR code is the protagonist. Our vision takes us through other paths, and we suggest an elegant glass with a thick outline with an orange dot as if a slice of fruit were in it. A cheerful and identifiable touch, which can be adapted to accompany the different services that the brand plans to provide, unifying it, and which acts as a notification that "it's time to enjoy your day."
For the logo, we tried several fonts until we opted for Kamerik 105. A modern, minimalist, geometric typeface that has a Q with a strong personality. For the copies, we proposed DM Sans: open, free, friendly and precise. We love this typeface for its almost monolinear shapes. We applied optical corrections to the joints of the strokes where needed to maintain a uniform typographic color.
The developers, how could it be otherwise, also pour their know-how into this conversation. “The responsive system had to be optimized for all mobile devices and operating systems with their peculiarities: iOS vs Android,” recalls Mariluz Aniceto, one of the front-end developers involved in the project. “We work with Nextjs, React, and Typescript for the front-end, and we handle the communication with the backend through Apollo Client. This allowed us to be more specific when requesting data from the back and improve performance. Thanks to Apollo, in addition, we can have data in the cache and update it quickly when sending the requests”, she assures.
For Mariluz, the way to implement prepayment was especially interesting by including the option of not sending the order to the kitchen if the economic transaction has not been completed. She also highlights the challenge of offering the user the entire menu loaded to make navigation easier. "We opted to include an infinite scroll of the menu, avoiding loading products from section to section," she explains.
Our design and development teams have been working together for years, facing technical challenges, adopting new technologies, and researching to implement the most efficient procedures. This has many benefits from a founder's perspective: from speeding up the product launch to reducing the risk of investing in their own technology resources before they have a clear path forward.
"Having an already established procedure based on experience has allowed me to granulate the problems to be solved," says Antonio. "I have been able to validate very specific product hypotheses with clients in a tremendously agile way." But also, “the human team behind Z1 makes work very easy and fun. We are thrilled with the result and grateful for our partnership with Z1”.
This is palpable in the feedback that diners, bar and restaurant owners and waiters, who are receiving 5% more tips than they otherwise would, are offering on the product. “End users love the ability not to have to wait to order or pay. The bar and restaurant owners are happy as Qamarero helps them to work more efficiently and therefore earn more,” concludes Antonio.
The startup is growing fast: more than 100,000 orders have been placed with Qamarero since the MVP was launched last June, its team has grown up to 18 people, including product managers and software engineers, and they are beginning to sell their services in countries like Portugal, Guatemala, Mexico and the US. Besides all that, they have managed to raise a first round of financing of almost one million euros that will undoubtedly help them achieve their long-term goal, and this is, that when someone goes to a bar or restaurant and reads a QR, that QR is from Qamarero.
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