client story

Restaurant Supply Chain Management App

A leading quick-service restaurant chain engaged Artisan to create a mobile app to strengthen the relationship between restaurant managers and the distribution service.

Innovation Strategy
Digital Transformation
Unified Commerce


A leading quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain determined the best approach for sustaining accelerated growth was to take complete ownership of its supply chain. Historically, the QSR relied on 3rd party distributors to keep up with high inventory demands in restaurants, but the outsourced model posed several problems:

  • Low-quality Distribution Experience – Third-party distributors have many clients competing for priority and quality service.  As a result, the QSR’s restaurant managers often experienced low-quality, inconsistent service. Frequently, products arrived damaged, and in some instances, they were not delivered at all.
  • Slow Response to Delivery Issues – When issues did arise, restaurant managers did not receive the personalized service and cooperation required to address delivery issues in a timely fashion.
  • Inefficient Processes – The third party utilized antiquated and inefficient delivery processes, relying heavily on paper and email exchanges.

The QSR knew it could solve many of the quality, efficiency, and scalability issues by creating its own controlled distribution operation. However, without correcting communication breakdowns and streamlining manual processes, restaurant managers would continue to spend unnecessary time managing the supply chain instead of actually serving their customers.

The QSR engaged Artisan to create a mobile app that would strengthen the relationship between restaurant managers and the new distribution service.  The goal was to personalize the service to each location’s needs, establish a communication bridge between the restaurant and distributor, and simplify everyday tasks using a modern, digital tool.

Our team began with an Understand phase, a process where we learned from subject matter experts, hosted user focus groups, and physically worked in the QSR’s restaurants to gain a deep understanding of our users’ pain points. The Understand phase resulted in a conceptual design prototype that addressed the QSR’s principal gaps in communication.

Using the conceptual design prototype as a long-term vision, we worked with the QSR to define a minimally viable product (MVP) that could be launched quickly and become the basis for rapid incremental improvements driven by continuous user feedback. We continued to refine the concept during the Build phase of the MVP, keeping our users actively involved and at the center of the process. Ultimately, we launched the MVP ahead of an aggressive schedule, which included:

  • Timely access to existing system data through cloud-native integrations
  • The ability to communicate in real-time regarding issues related to deliveries
  • Automation of key manual processes
  • Android & iOS support for all smartphones in use by team members at all restaurants

As a result of this initiative, the QSR experienced the following:

  • 100% conversion rate - Within a month of the initial launch, team members at all participating restaurants began using the mobile app as their primary means of reporting and resolving delivery issues.
  • Reduced time to resolve issues – The total average time to resolve issues dropped by over 90%, giving restaurant managers valuable time back to focus on the customer.
  • Immediate access to timely information – The total number of calls to the distribution center dropped substantially because restaurant managers now have access to the information they need.

Following the success of this initiative, the QSR placed the mobile app at the center of its adaptive supply chain strategy, which will ultimately give restaurant managers a personalized “demand-centric” view of their back-office operation.

The same QSR has also engaged Artisan to create a mobile app to support delivery drivers in their new distribution.

Quote: "You have no idea how much we appreciate the mobile app. You really went the extra mile." -- Restaurant Operator


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