Behind the scenes: How the Campaign Monitor team does lunch

In the interest of sharing more about the culture at Campaign Monitor, we plan on posting more behind the scenes stories about life in the office. If you follow the Freshview blog, you might have come across this post before, but it was too good not to share again. More stuff coming soon, including our popular ping pong ranking app.

For the last year and a half we’ve been providing free catered lunches for the Campaign Monitor team. We don’t provide a certain type of meal in bulk, instead every team member can order whatever they feel like that day. As you can imagine, with 16 staff in our Sydney office, the logistics for this can get quite complex. I wanted to share our latest innovation in the all important lunch management.

As part of our annual internship program, an intern will often start working on an internal app to get familiar with our development environment, coding practices, etc. This year, star intern Andrew Canby was given the task of overhauling our current lunch ordering system. This is no easy task either, hell hath no fury like 16 hungry nerds so bugs or downtime aren’t an option!

Andrew came up with some great innovations. I’m fairly confident this is the sweetest lunch ordering system on the planet. Here’s a screenshot of the finished product right after I just submitted my order.

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Like the other internal apps we use, the lunch ordering system is only a click away from any page on our Intranet.

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The ping pong application was the brainchild of our other intern Pete, and I’ll be sharing the details of that one in an upcoming post.

Inspiring your stomach

The hardest part about lunch each day is deciding what you feel like eating. Sometimes you have the perfect meal in your head, but other days your stomach isn’t dropping any hints. To give you some ideas, the app shows you exactly what everyone else in the team has ordered today. With a single click, you can copy their order, make any tweaks and order away. Here’s Ben’s latest order history. I chose him because he’s probably the healthiest eater in the office.

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As well as checking out what others are eating today, you can look at their entire order history. Maybe you liked the look of that lamb wrap Jason was eating on Friday. Two clicks and the same wrap will be ready for you by lunch time.

Brainstorm with the tag cloud

I was a little skeptical about this idea at first, but it’s been extremely handy. There’s a small tag cloud showing the most popular items ordered by the team to date. Here’s a sample of what’s been popular of late. Aren’t we a healthy bunch!

The food tag cloud

By clicking on any of the words, we’ll show a range of popular orders that item has been included in. Say you feel like something with chicken in it. Click on that word and the following suggestions are displayed.

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Click on the meal that looks best, customize it any way you like and your order is done.

Suggest as you type

If you don’t want to rely on others for inspiration, you can just start typing your order. Almost instantly, similar options around the items you’ve entered will be suggested. You might enter turkey and avocado and be presented with the most popular orders to date that have included both of these ingredients. Very cool.

Processing the orders

The daily order cut-off is 11am, and if you haven’t submitted an order by 10am, you’ll get a reminder email just in case. After the cut-off, the days orders are written to a static HTML page which is then automatically faxed to the local caterer.

The caterer prepares all the meals fresh and then hand delivers them individually wrapped with that team members name on it at 12.30 each day. The whole thing runs like clockwork, so a big thanks to Andrew for a job well done.

Posted by David Greiner

12 Comments

  • myows
    1st September

    It’s all about the small details… It’s amazing you guys have your own internal app just for lunch orders!

  • Gilles Doge
    1st September

    Just A:W:E:S:O:M:E !

    We want more details on the ping-pong application! :-)
    (We had the same idea)

  • Remy Bergsma
    1st September

    That’s one kickass app, very nice!

  • SM2
    1st September

    Great work! We built something similar it was a random Lunch Locator and listed all the possible lunch choices near our office.

  • Jake Holman
    1st September

    Haha, guys this is cool. Not gonna go all 37signals on us and start pumping out internal apps are you?!

    Love the fact you still have ye olde’ MailBuild stuff in there.

  • Graham
    2nd September

    Very very cool!
    What a great idea!

  • Bjorn van der Neut
    2nd September

    Maby you can make it like an service for the catering people. So other companies in the area can use this tool also. And you make a deal that if it runs you can eat for free :-)

  • Amit
    3rd September

    Bhery Nice! (Borat Style)

  • Andy
    4th September

    do you use expression engine for your intranet or just for the public/sales site ?

  • Stig Morten Myre
    4th September

    Hi Andy,

    We only run http://www.campaignmonitor.com/ on Expression Engine.

    We use Clearspace (now Jive SBS Employee Engagement Center) for our intranet.

  • Keir Whitaker
    11th September

    Would you consider open sourcing this app, I am sure a bunch of companies would benefit - we certainly would :)

  • Loren
    18th September

    This is so AWESOME. you guys rock. Seriously, as Keir said, you should open this up and let other shops adapt a similar app!

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