To digitize paperwork in the restaurants

    Developing the ERP system for KFC, we needed to digitize all business processes — reporting, scheduling, planning, and control — and integrate them into a single IT system. Building Flutter task management app, we had a task to help them transfer their processes from hard to soft copy, as KFC shift supervisors, restaurant general and local managers used to fill out various reports and checklists to monitor the workflow and maintain the in-house standards. The trouble was, the complete paperwork ran in hard copy.

    The reasons for developing the mobile app for managers were

    • To make sure the checklists are actually complied with. In the case of digital checklists, an employee must keep track of timing and tick YES/NO at the right moment — at the beginning of a shift, every hour, at the shift endt. A checklist printout can be filled out once at the shift end without anyone being able to check.
    • To gather statistics on checklists to figure out the performance of a restaurant or an employee.
    • To improve checklists content: choosing checklists to introduce or eliminate, deciding what to add and how to change them.
    • To introduce fast changes to restaurant business processes.

    The next of the key tasks was to provide corporate staff with the possibility to efficiently operate outside of the office using a mobile app and monitor the performance of restaurants online.

    It is just one part of large-scale project of developing the custom ERP solution for KFC. Read about the whole project in the case study.

    DSR (Digital Successful Routine) implementation allows KFC restaurants to automate paperwork


    Choosing Flutter app development and Bring Your Own Device concept

    95% of the expected app users are owners of Android phones. iOS phones are mainly used by key personnel: restaurant managers and general managers.

    Looking for an appropriate task management solution, our client faced the following choice:

    • To create an Android app only and hand out corporate Android smartphones to iOS users. But the solution would cause inconvenience for the staff and require extra expenses for the devices on the company’s part.
    • To develop an app for both platforms. But this would mean a double budget for development and support.

    We suggested an alternative choice: creating a cross-platform task management app using Flutter. The technology allows using a single code base for both Android and iOS and ensures high quality user experience.

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    The restaurant general and local managers can install the task management app we built on their personal devices in the frames of the Bring Your Own Device concept. Any data breaches excluded: we gave much thought to security, authorization, and user authentication issues as well as build distribution. The app successfully passed a security audit carried out by KFC.

    Interface design for cross-platform task management app

    Before we got down to product design, Surf team had done some “field work”. We visited KFC restaurants, watched the management at work, and interviewed employees.

    Our cross-platform task management app turned out to have three user groups with different goals and responsibilities:

    • Shift supervisors need a dashboard with the performance parameters, a list of daily checklists, and personal tasks list as well as personnel time-schedule.
    • Restaurant general managers need a dashboard with the performance parameters, a general list of tasks set for the restaurant as well as reports on checklists filled and goals achieved by the staff.
    • Local managers work with several restaurants, carrying out comprehensive checks, filling out checklists, and preparing plans of action to improve the performance. Their primary tools include a consolidated dashboard with the performance parameters for all restaurants, an activity calendar, and checklists for visits.

    We adapted the interface of Flutter task management app to the user roles making some screens the same for everyone while the others are unique or have different content formats and information accessibility levels. What an employee would see depends on their role and access permissions.

    To make the interface user-friendly and compliant with the needs of every user it was crucial to consider any constraints. Designing such a complex system implies moving from general to specific aspects and gradually reducing the abstraction degree.

    Cross-platform task management app. Prototyping

    We decided in favor of unified design for both iOS and Android, i.e. avoiding excessive customization for each platform, but bringing it in accordance with KFC corporate style and web interface design of the ERP system in KFC DSR.

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    Backend driven UI in task section

    Checklists consist of various UI components: YES/NO choice, input fields, drop down lists with various content, date and time pickers, groups of checkboxes and radio buttons. Building the task management app, we put together a system of components with every possible parameter.

    The task and checklist section is based on Backend-Driven UI: a JSON array comes from the server with a description of interface components to be displayed.

    Backend-Driven UI is an approach, wherein a server orders which interface elements to display. In contrast, in classic development approaches a server only submits content, while UI has already been rendered.
    The system is highly flexible: control is performed through the administration panel. Checklists are built using constructor.

    Authorization through corporate SSO service

    KFC uses the same SSO (Single Sign On) service for all applications. An employee is supposed to log in once with a single login and password. The same system is utilized for user administration.

    We integrated the KFC DSR app with the SSO service and used it to implement login and authentication with the SAML standard.

    Successful security audit of our Flutter task management app

    KFC maintains high security standards: all contractors must comply with their requirements. All IT projects must undergo a security audit prior to release: this involves penetration tests and code audit conducted by a specialized contractor.

    Our Flutter task management app passed the audit with the minimum issues possible. Surf has been working on major banking projects for several years now and as a result we’ve established our own in-house security standards.


    • We’ve developed a cross-platform task management app that can be safely installed on personal smartphones. It is a part of large-scale ERP system, that we developed for KFC. Read more about the project >>
    • We automated paperwork. All checklists and reports are now digital. It’s handy and saves employees’ time: they can turn to higher priority tasks.
    • The business rests extra assured that their business standards are complied with.
    • Process management has grown more flexible.
    • KFC franchise-partners acquired a new service.
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    Vladi Makeew

    CEO of Surf
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