SAUSALITOS is a German restaurant chain serving Californian-Mexican food and drinks. Even though the restaurant industry is not exactly known for digital disruption – it’s a highly competitive industry where it is important to stand out.
01 Aug 2022
We at Mindnow have been working with Christoph Heidt and SAUSALITOS for many years. It's incredible how well catering businesses can be digitally positioned when they commit to it.
The success story of the SAUSALITOS app began with a digital loyalty program. The idea: In addition to fabulous food and drink and the Mexican flair, guests were to be given another reason to visit the restaurants and cocktail bars of the Germany-wide chain again and again with a loyalty app.
It wouldn't stop there, however. In the meantime, the SAUSALITOS app has many cool features, offering a digital experience to thousands of guests. And we as a team have always enjoyed working on it. In the following, I would like to introduce you to some of the app's cool features in more detail.
The core function of the SAUSALITOS app is its loyalty program. Guests can collect SAUSALITOS points with every visit and exchange them later for cocktails. In addition, other functions are being added all the time.
Krypto loyalty program
The digital loyalty program for SAUSALITOS should not repeat anything old, push boundaries, offer guests a unique experience and at the same time be future-proof.
We developed 2 currencies: The classic loyalty points SAUSALITOS Points (SP), which users can exchange directly in the app for Jumbo Cocktails, and the cryptocurrency Sausalitos Coins (SCX) for trading and speculating – for a chance at even more cocktails!
“SAUSALITOS sees itself not only as a bar but as an entertainment and connecting platform. Among other things, this means conveying a positive attitude towards life, good vibes, and a cheerful community. And that's exactly what our loyalty program reflects.”
Dominic Cloudt, Head of Marketing Sausalitos
Cryptocurrencies were a complete success. After only a short time, the app was downloaded 82,000 times.
Voucher Battle (limited time)
For a while, Voucher Battle was a feature in the app that simulated a live auction with falling prices. The idea was an online game without a lottery component, where there are only winners: More sales for SAUSALITOS, drink vouchers for guests, and cool products at low prices for participants of the auction.
Fun for all without loss
We deliberately decided against a lottery with winners and losers and instead oriented ourselves on the principle of a Dutch auction. All participants should have fun and nobody should be disappointed. So we came up with the following principle:
Each online auction had an indefinite number of rounds, in which the price of the products decreased each time. By purchasing a beverage voucher from SAUSALITOS, users could buy their way into the next auction round. The thrill was to strike at the right moment: If you bought the desired product too early, you missed out on a lower price. If you waited too long, it might be snatched up. But in any case, you were left with the full value of the vouchers you bought – immediately exchangeable for cocktails!
1 feature, multiple systems
Behind the attractive design of the feature were several systems: an e-mail system for the delivery of the vouchers, a validation system integrated with the POS for scanning the voucher in the restaurant, a payment system for all transactions, and a user management system for the administration of the player data.
Our developers ensured that the generated vouchers were readable in the POS system and that the system was protected against misuse. In addition, strict security guidelines were followed and the API endpoints were tested to the last detail.
Sweepstake with HEARTS (limited time)
During certain promotional periods, guests at SAUSALITOS were also able to use the app to collect specially created loyalty points called “HEARTS” and win great prizes.
The principle: Every order comes with a scratch card with a 9-digit code. Users find out how many HEARTS (10, 20, or 30) are hidden behind the scratch-off ticket when they enter the code in the SAUSALITOS app. The more HEARTS in the account, the greater the chance of winning.
Fast implementation and measurable success
Thanks to the very well-thought-out concept from the outset, our development team was able to implement the new function in a very short time.
In the end, SAUSALITOS and also our team were very satisfied with it. During the promotional period in summer 2022 alone, over 2,000 codes were redeemed, resulting in just as many additional cocktails being sold.
The chat feature “Touch”
With this feature, the SAUSALITOS app now also has a social component: “Touch” allows guests to check in digitally at the restaurant, meet new people, or find familiar faces again. Maintaining privacy and security of personal data were the overriding principles here, which presented us with some challenges.
Connecting requests for privacy protection
Our approach was to create private accounts where only the name and profile picture are visible by default. Only when users specifically share personal data such as work, relationship status, or favorite drink with outsiders does this become visible. To prevent annoying, unwanted chats from strangers, every contact is preceded by a connecting request. Only then will account data become visible and a chat possible.
Unwavering commitment to data security
We had to ensure that hackers could not possibly obtain personal data. In the end, we managed to solve all security issues. This is mainly thanks to the excellent cooperation between SAUSALITOS and Mindnow, as well as the tireless efforts of our team.
“Through the SAUSALITOS Touch social component, we strengthen the connection with our customers. At the same time, it is very reassuring to know that all data is optimally protected and that with Mindnow we have a partner at our side who always thinks along with us and is always one step ahead technically.”
Katharina Kappler, Head of Marketing Sausalitos
A digital menu that allows guests at SAUSALITOS to order directly – it was only logical that guests would one day also have this option with the app. But a conventional menu was out of the question. Instead, mobile ordering was to become an integral part of the entire SAUSALITOS concept.
Decentralized data in a central database
We found the solution in decentralized product data in a central database, which automatically displays the appropriate food and beverages to the users. The product data is pulled into the SAUSALITOS app via interfaces without interfering with the data management. This not only makes the data secure but also means that information such as stock levels, prices, or promotions is completely controlled by SAUSALITOS itself. In the process, each restaurant in the chain can adjust its data individually and in real time.
For users like a web store
Guests use the digital menu like a web store. They place their desired food and drinks in the shopping cart and put together their menu. In addition to credit cards and Paypal, the order can of course be paid for with the cryptocurrency SAUSALITOS Points.
After checkout, the app linked to the Product Information Center takes over the waiter function and passes the order on to the external SAUSALITOS POS systems.
Section by Jakob Kaya
A digital solution that works
Design with high expectations
We created the special design of the app according to the corporate identity of SAUSALITOS. We always had to provide the best possible user experience while meeting the high requirements of our partner. However, our designers managed to present all the information with good UX and beautiful UI for every feature.
Iteratively becoming a digital pioneer
The development of the app was done with an agile approach, where we iterated on the design again and again. With the right backend and a hybrid frontend for Android and iOS, the SAUSALITOS app is one of the digital pioneers in the restaurant industry. We created the frontend with React Native, and the live data from the backend with a combination of Django, PostgreSQL, and Redis.