Sasha Shipunova from Joom talks about the food ordering service (and explains how we choose suppliers)
Employees can order meals at the Company’s expense but not from anywhere, only in a special internal service Joom Food, aka “Joom Propitanie Limited”.
For each business day, one can select up to four food items from three suppliers at choice. Orders for the next business day are accepted until noon. But most people prefer to choose their meals for the whole week.
For those who forgot to place an order, an “exchange” option is available in the service. Here colleagues share food that they decided not to eat.
All meals arrive early in the morning so workers can have breakfast in the office. Orders are distributed according to “themed” refrigerators, each supplier has its own, and in it each refrigerator has separate sections for different types of food. Containers have standard stickers with the name of the dish and the supplier, and usually there are no problems with finding them.
Food not eaten during the day is “nationalized” at 08:30 p.m.. After this moment, everyone can take whatever they want from the refrigerators.
“Dacha” for developers
The service was created by our developers Maxim Nikitin and Pavel Glushkov in their free time and launched in September 2018. This service is constantly being improved — the guys call it a “dacha”, a pleasant and useful project, where possibilities for improvement are almost unlimited. All developers can make changes to it, the last time this happened was during an internal hackathon.
For those who are lazy to choose, a food randomizer, that can offer absolutely anything for lunch, is available. If you’re unlucky, you might get three beets with feta and one burrito.
For those who follow their habits, we have “Repeat last order” and “Repeat last week” buttons.
We’ve also made several plugins for the food service. For example, using these plugins, it is possible to exclude certain foods from an individual menu — milk, onions, eggs (and anything else).
The “Exchange” option has recently been supplemented with a “Seagull” mode, you can put your username in Slack and subscribe to updates, as well as to see how many “waiters” are in the office for the moment.
Sometimes the service turns into a joke space. For example, once we ate only instant noodles (brand name “Doshirak”) all day long (no). In fact, we changed all the pictures and added “Doshirak” to the titles.
How the project developed
Previously, employees organized their lunches themselves: ordered a delivery, ate in the canteen of a business center, or went to a nearby shopping center. We decided to take matters into our own hands and create a centralized service.
At first it was closed and cozy; only 40 people used it. An order was placed once a week, and I sent Excel table to the suppliers. Those who did not have time to order food had to eat in the old way. At that time, we had only two refrigerators in the kitchen- one for “today” and the other for “yesterday” (to give away to the hungry).
Since then, the following has changed.
The number of refrigerators was increased up to nine from two.
Now it is possible to order meals not once a week, but for the very next day.
The number of people receiving meals went from 40 to 200.
There are three locations where meals are delivered, instead of one before.
Instead of CSV files and Excel, we work with suppliers through an API.
We decided we’d had enough of the semi-manual mode and therefore adjusted an automatic integration. We found an aggregator that helps us to develop cooperation with food suppliers.
And since most employees order food in advance for the whole week, we send forecasts for the delivery of meals every Friday so that our partners can prepare and purchase the necessary products. Then the food is prepared, packaged, and handed over to couriers.
Maxim Nikitin and Pavel Glushkov
developers of “Joom Propitanie Limited”
How we select suppliers
We are constantly looking for new suppliers (I say “providers”, but the editors have corrected it for some reason) of great food. One would think that the choice is wide, but not everyone can cope with such a speed and such a volume of orders (we receive about 660 servings a day), What our cooperation with providers looks like.
First, the suppliers get to know me, show me the menu and explain their offers. We try to maintain a balance between satisfying food and healthy food, many canteens do not pass due to this indicator. It is also important to get suggestions for those who, for whatever reasons, does not eat meat or drink milk.
After that, suppliers deliver a test batch of meals. Employees try it, and if everyone likes, we add a new supplier.
But this is only the first step. It is very important for us that using the lunch delivery service is convenient for all employees, therefore, we are trying to co-operate more closely with food suppliers.
We pay a special attention to packaging; it must be safe (because employees heat their meals in microwaves) and high quality (because food travels a long distance before getting to us).
We ask suppliers to make standard markings for dishes and stick labels on it so that our colleagues can immediately find their lunch.
We have a lot of employees, and therefore we can no longer inform about the entire volume of orders in advance, therefore it is important that suppliers have a large production and stocks of products in warehouses. This helps to avoid dish substitutions.
It is more convenient to choose meals using a menu with colorful pictures, and if the composition and calorie content of the portion are indicated.
Here you can see an example of the top 5 dishes, which are ordered by the employees of the Joom Moscow office.
Grilled chicken chop.
Salmon kebab with vegetables.
Stewed chicken with yoghurt sauce.
Borsch ranks 15th in popularity, but the grilled chicken chop recently celebrated its thousandth visit to our office this winter.
Read the full version of this publication in the Joom blog at vc.ru.