Streamlining employee communications with help from Xamarin and Eight-Bot
Texas Roadhouse Story
It all began on February 17, 1993, when Kent Taylor opened the first Texas Roadhouse in Clarksville, Indiana. Kent’s goal was to own not just a family restaurant and not just a steak restaurant, but a place where everyone, of all ages, could come and have a great meal and great fun for a great price.
Texas Roadhouse likes to brag about their Hand-Cut Steaks, Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs, Made-From-Scratch Sides, and Fresh-Baked Bread. Everything they do goes into making their hearty meals stand out. They handcraft almost everything they serve. They provide larger portions so you get more food for your dollar. And if you want an ice-cold beer or legendary margarita to wash it all down — well, they have those, too.
But their food’s not the only thing that’s Legendary at the Roadhouse — their fun is legendary too! From line dancers to the jukebox to the friendly servers, you’ll enjoy every second you spend in a Texas Roadhouse.
At Texas Roadhouse the team has an incredible sense of pride in everything they do. Their passion ensures you have a Legendary Experience every time.
Texas Roadhouse knows that employees (affectionately known as "Roadies") are key to ensuring the success of their company objective of providing a legendary experience. There are many things Texas Roadhouse is looking to standardize across the stores so that customers can enjoy the same experience - whether they show up to a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky or Oceanside, California.
Their employees have the need to communicate potential issues with suppliers, contact other store employees, and even validate or review specific regulations that may impact their location.
With over 50,000 employees across over 530 stores internationally, Texas Roadhouse (as well as Bubba's 33 and Jaggers) had to determine the optimal way to keep everyone informed in real-time. They realized quickly that mobile was the best option. Since they couldn’t hand out phones to all their employees, it was important that they build a scalable solution that worked on iOS and Android equally, and most importantly, feel native. The goal was to start with restaurant management and administration.
"We have a strong background in C# and Microsoft solutions. Because of that fact, Xamarin was alway on our radar. So when Xamarin was added to the Microsoft suite it made our cross-platform decision a no brainer."
Senior Manager of Application Development & Restaurant Systems
They wanted to stay away from native development. They have a small development team and long-term management of two code-bases seemed unreasonable for their situation. Xamarin made a ton of sense.
Per Nermin Kantardzic, “We have a strong background in C# and Microsoft solutions. Because of that fact, Xamarin was always on our radar. So when Xamarin was added to the Microsoft suite, it made our cross-platform decision a no brainer.”
After selecting the technology, Texas Roadhouse went on a search to find the a development partner for their specific needs. They started their search in the Midwest, trying to find Xamarin experts relatively close to their Louisville, KY headquarters. Starting with a list of over 40 organizations, they eventually chose Chicago-based Eight-Bot. Eight-Bot had a ton of experience building Xamarin apps successfully and also had significant training experience. This would allow the Texas Roadhouse team to support the app long-term, after the initial development was completed. Texas Roadhouse also appreciated the potential relationship they could build with a team that was small but professional and one that clearly cared.
Texas Roadhouse and Eight-Bot wanted to ensure the app would be a foundation for future expansion. Eight-Bot set out to build the app using Xamarin.Forms, which allowed up to 90% of the code to be shared across the two platforms. This also allowed Texas Roadhouse to support a bring your own device methodology for its management team. By utilizing Microsoft web services (ASP.NET core), they were able to take advantage of their existing data platform. The implementation also allowed the Texas Roadhouse team to dip their toes in Azure, helping them become more familiar with the platform and allowing them to move forward with the newer technology intelligently and intentionally.
After a successful launch, over 500 stores are daily users and the app has been rolled out to restaurant management nationwide. The app is now actively helping "Roadies" collaborate and stay informed in real time.