I was approached in 2006 by a franchisee in Central Florida who was unhappy with the POS system provided by corporate. He wanted a system that was easier to use so he could spend less time training and he wanted the ability to track orders from the time they were placed to delivery, something that is common today but was innovative at the time. Being given the freedom to experiment with new technology was an amazing experience and definitely one of the biggest learning opportunities of my life.
The client was a Hungry Howie's franchisee who was making a name for himself at corporate by coming up with innovative menu items. They allowed him to experiment with new items and selected two of his stores to test new products. After complaining about the POS system to corporate for a while he decided to create his own. I was one of three candidates for the job but, as the client later told me, I stood out because he could see I was passionate about the project and I expanded on his ideas instead of taking control of the project and ignoring his input.
The application was developed in C# and was designed to work with the existing equipment that was standard at the time including:
- Windows PCs
- Receipt printers
- Cash registers
- Touch screen monitors
The client also wanted delivery updates so I created a simple web application that allowed the drivers to update order statuses on the road. This will feed back to the store via SOAP and let the client know when deliveries were complete. Today order updates are standard but this was a revolutionary idea at the time.
Eventually the project was taken to corporate who showed interest and invited us to demo the system. The system was used in several locations throughout the Southeastern United States until it was eventually phased out for a mobile-friendly product.