On March 13th, 2020, Uruguay saw its first Covid confirmed case. It was soon after, on April the 20th, to be exact, that we, at eagerworks, launched one of the first non-profit solidary national projects among the Covid-19 pandemic.
As you might be aware, restaurants were forced to shut their doors and close for good. We immediately understood the repercussions. It could only mean financial struggle: how were they supposed to afford to keep their business while not generating any income across an uncertain period? Uncertainty and adversity reigned.
About being Agile and responding just in time
Time was of the essence, and we had to be agile. So, we came up with a concept and built a Ruby on Rails platform as fast as possible; the main idea was to enable customers to buy discount vouchers to support their favorite restaurants and prevent them from going out of business. As ambitious and bold as it sounded, we just needed a plan that'd suit our schedule.
How would this play out? Every time a customer would buy a voucher for 25 USD, the money was sent to each specific restaurant generating immediate income for the business while still being under strict lockdown. But we considered that such benefit should also circle back to those paying customers somehow: so, after enduring the crisis and once restaurants could open back for business, clients would have a 35 USD discount off their check instead. Sounds cool, right?
Also, we decided to enable supporters to pay for two different kinds of vouchers. It was up to them to select which one suits them the most:
Fan voucher: money would go directly to your favorite restaurant alone.
Solidary voucher: income being split equally among all businesses that were part of the platform.
Lo de Siempre (As usual)
And that's how Lo de Siempre was born. A product of its time, meant to assist during desperate times, fueled by people’s contribution and powered by technology:
In only three days, with a few hours of sleep, we managed to launch the platform. We accomplished this thanks to our Ruby on Rails backend technology skills.
We also had to elaborate and implement a payment gateway to allow online transactions, an essential aspect of our cause.
After one week only, we gathered about 90 restaurants and around 700 paying customers who participated.
Lastly, we made it into the most important media news show across Uruguay. We seized the opportunity and requested people's collaboration towards the gastronomic market while keeping high hopes for developing more solidary projects such as this one.
“Financially, you can prepare yourself for bad situations but never for this critical scenario in which, as it was popularly said at that time, the payment chain could not be broken. This project helped us breathe, in that sense. If I remember correctly, it was the first project, or one of the first, to be solidary in this way".
Alejandro Mazzoli - Rudy Burgers
Although you may not consider it a highly effective economical solution, we take great comfort in knowing we spread our spirit of solidarity in the hopes of having encouraged more people down this type of entrepreneurship. It was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved and most rewarding due to the favorable response from local businesses and their genuine gratitude expression.
Some final thoughts
Initiatives like these are ultimately uplifting for the team because we are granted the opportunity to become entrepreneurs ourselves, to go through similar experiences (and during a worldwide pandemic, no less). Every time we greet new innovative clients, our team is keen on understanding them. To put it more simply, we tend to empathize with our clients, and that's something we embody and strongly advise software partners to do regularly.
If you have an innovative idea like this one, don't hesitate to contact us and we will help you to get from an idea to a real product!