Castle Pubs are operated by Mitchells & Butlers and are some of the group’s most historic pubs with over 100 unique venues throughout the UK.
Mitchells and Butlers were facing a complex challenge when it came to menu creation for their 100+ Castle Pubs. Individual pubs have always maintained the autonomy to create and develop their own menus, perfectly matched to their customers’ tastes and their pub’s unique character. However, for head office, it was becoming increasingly time-consuming to monitor each pub and ensure they adhered to the overarching Castle Pubs rules and guidelines.
Mitchells & Butlers wanted a digital tool to streamline the process. We proposed a bespoke web app that would allow head office to set specific rules and mandatories for the five different segments of pubs. The app would offer pubs the freedom to create tailored menus, as they always have, but within the stipulated parameters.
From the word ‘go’ we employed a UX-first approach so that the app would make menu creation and management easy for all users. We knew that chefs wanted to build menus quickly and head office users needed clear, concise functionality, so we created a visually attractive and simple-to-use interface by maximising white space and applying the Castle Pubs branding.
To ensure we met all performance and user journey requirements we established three user groups with varying access to features. Super-users have the ability to set targeted mandatories for each segment, such as certain pubs requiring three vegan dishes. They also have access to a reporting function for detailed and up-to-the-minute reports of app activity. The second user group, Retail Business Managers (RBMs) who are responsible for segments, have complete visibility of their pubs’ activity on the app and are notified when their pubs publish a new menu or fail to meet the prescribed requirements. For the pub user group we constructed an interactive menu builder that enables chefs to drag dishes into a digital version of their menu. Users have the option to choose from prescribed fonts, layouts and flourishes to match their pub’s individual style. Once published, the app transforms the menu into a printable PDF and updates the pub’s website in real-time.
Leveraging our experience in Laravel and Vue.js, we built a fast, scalable and secure app. Perhaps just as importantly, we followed best practices to ensure the entirety of our codebase was maintainable which has proved invaluable to our ongoing work and relationship with Mitchells & Butlers.
The menu builder web app was launched to over 100 Castle Pubs and was an instant success, streamlining process for many areas of the business. The app has enabled pubs to produce, print and digitally publish over 11 unique menus through a few simple steps, without the need to seek RBM approval. Super-users and RBM users have reported significant time and cost savings when it comes to monitoring and communicating directly with pubs, with the app providing effective and practical reporting to improve efficiencies.
“The menu web app was one of the most complicated projects I have ever worked on. Castle is a very complex business so the app had to deliver on many fronts including functionality, user journey, individuality and the ability to produce beautiful menus with guest appeal.
After 8 months of hard work, Salad have delivered a food menu app that has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Since launching the feedback received from Director level to General Manager has been incredibly positive and we are now seeing growth in our food sales.”
Nikki Ritchie, Marketing Manager
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