How Cafe Rio
Improved their   Digital Experience in all their channels


The Client

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, home of The Original Sweet Pork Barbacoa

Is an american fast casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City with branches in more than 11 states such as Arizona, California, Utah, etc. In November 2022 it had grown to 156 locations with a yearly revenue around 300M.


During the pandemic the US restaurants faced several changes in how consumers order their food, from one day to the next many restaurants saw how their dine-in orders drop almost to zero forcing them to reinvent and launch their own digital channels. SunDevs helped Cafe Rio to create in record time its own digital sales channels to deliver a unique and smooth online ordering experience.

The Challenge

Cafe Rio, as many chain restaurants in the US, relied on white label solutions provided by its third party providers such as POS and Loyalty System to deliver digital channels for online ordering to its customers. Cafe Rio didn’t want to continue using a White Label solution for their website and mobile app, they wanted to offer a unique digital online ordering experience to its customers base while maximizing profitability.

The Approach

The first phase of the solution was to assemble a dedicated product team with wide experience in the US Restaurant industry, digital product development and e-commerce. The team consisted of a Senior Product Manager, Senior Product Designer and a Technical Lead, this combination is called Product Trio and was in charge of running several meetings of product discovery and consulting to understand in depth the problems and needs from Cafe Rio, then based in the feedback and opportunities identified the Product Trio defined a clear roadmap for the MVP of the website and the mobile app.

The Result

The SunDevs team in partnership with Cafe Rio delivered a fast and powerful first version of the website, Android and iOS Application and a Standalone Kiosk with a custom and smoothly digital online ordering experience that was integrated perfectly with its legacy systems such as POS, loyalty system and Payment Gateway.

Shifting from a white label solution to its
own unique digital online ordering experience.

The executive team of Cafe Rio quickly recognized the challenges facing the industry and how they would affect the company. They reached out to SunDevs to develop a new e-commerce website, with the goal of moving away from their current white label solution provided by their POS vendor. The leadership team stressed the significance of creating an amazing user experience that would satisfy Cafe Rio's customers.

Having that business goal in mind, at SunDevs we assembled a dedicated product team made of a Product Manager, Product Designer, Technical Lead and a pair of software engineers and Quality Assurance engineers. During three months they were working tirelessly to launch the first version of the website by the christmas season of 2020.

The release of the new website was a success, it had a great reception by the customers and the Cafe Rio’s marketing team. During the first month of operation with the new website, they processed around 21K orders with an AVG ticket per order of $30.







The feedback that were coming from the customers were positive, they highlight that the new experience was smoothly and faster to find the menu items, and place orders, they passed from accepting payments just by credit card and promo codes to accepting payments with gift cards and combine the payment options in any way the wish.

After the success obtained with the new website, Cafe Rio decided to create a new mobile application for iOS and Android. They wanted to move away from the white label solution provided by its loyalty system vendor.

Flybuy Curbside







Delivering a great
mobile experience

The old version of the Cafe Rio’s mobile application was a shell, when you opened In the past, Cafe Rio's mobile application was a mere shell that would redirect users to their website upon opening.

The major challenge of launching the new mobile application was to ensure that current user sessions were maintained, thereby reducing the risk of user churn and the need for users to log in again. To overcome this challenge, the product team collaborated with the marketing, IT, and operations team of Cafe Rio to design a new mobile application that resolved the user experience issues associated with the old version. To validate the designs and solutions, we conducted several usability tests and focus groups with stakeholders, internal employees, and end customers.

After three months of hard work, the first version of the native mobile application was launched for Android and iOS. This launch was met with great success as it rapidly became the most important digital channel, with more than half of the orders being placed through the application.

In 2022, the application powered 1.2 million orders and generated 27.64 million dollars in net sales, making it the most successful year for the application to date.


A self-ordering kiosk to speed up
the ordering process for customers

The emergence of self-ordering kiosks has transformed the fast food industry, with experts predicting significant growth in this area. Cafe Rio's leadership team recognizes the many advantages that self-service kiosks can offer both to their operations and their customers.

The product team, which was responsible for creating the website and mobile application, also collaborated with the marketing and IT teams to develop a unique and practical self-service ordering experience. The objective was to enhance the speed of ordering for customers and minimize wait times in line. To facilitate this development, an integration was established with the Freedom Pay payment gateway to process payments through a card terminal.

Since the launch of the first version of the kiosk, Cafe Rio has deployed 26 kiosks in various locations, with one of the most popular being the kiosks situated at Salt Lake City Airport. The success of the kiosks can also be attributed to digital cafes, which have played a vital role in their popularity.

In 2022, we powered 116,000 orders through in-store kiosks, generating $2.06 million in net sales.


Building a better product through experimentation

During the time that we spent working with the marketing, IT, operations, accountant and leadership teams of Cafe Rio we had the opportunity to learn and understand deeply more about their business, their customers and the industry, they were extremely open with us providing information, data and insights that enabled us to make well informed decisions about the products.

We also had the chance to show them the power of “Product Trio”, how a product team fully integrated inside an organization can co-create products that work for the business and their customers in a short period of time.

Currently we have a close partnership with Cafe Rio, they have a dedicated product team that continuously is improving their digital products, they make use of several product analytics tools that enable us to collect information about how the customers are using the website, mobile applications and standalone kiosks.

They are achieving new milestones in their digital channels, recently they processed the order # 2 million and they continue expanding to new states and adding new features.