We get very excited about our new tech at Tenzo - and for good reason! As a category-defining product, every innovation we make is a totally new way for restaurateurs to engage with their data.
If you’ve recently spoken to someone on the Tenzo team, there’s a big chance they will have mentioned our new Card Creator and if you speak to us in the near future, we will definitely be mentioning it.
But, as often happens when we’re excited, we sometimes forget to slow down and actually explain what we’re talking about. That’s where this blog comes in. We’ll map out:
- exactly what we mean by our new Card Creator,
- the technological advances we’ve made to make it come to fruition,
- how our cards interact with data sources,
- how customers will be able to interact with this Card Creator.
1. What are cards?
The first question to answer is what we even mean by ‘cards’.
Cards are what we call our insights service at Tenzo. They are specific reports and metrics that can be tracked and visualised by customers on their Tenzo overviews. What many people don’t know is that we have over 1,000 of these ‘cards’ available (here are just 8 of our favourites).
An example Tenzo overview
When we set up a new customer, we ask them what metrics they want to see in their overview. Examples of these could be average transaction value today in one restaurant (a relatively simple card) or a flash P&L including your inventory and labour costs as compared to your revenue (a more complicated card).
Whatever it is operators want to track, we can support it if the data exists. We can even personalise these overviews depending on the user or type of user. For example, someone in head office may want to benchmark information across their entire organisation to track best-performing locations, whereas a general manager might just need the metrics for their own restaurant.
A lot of the value Tenzo provides comes from these cards as businesses can easily track the metrics that matter most to them in real-time without having to download spreadsheets of information from multiple systems. They can also easily share these cards with others in their business at the tap of a button.
That is the basic premise of cards, so what’s old and what’s new?
2. What is our current card system?
Currently, Tenzo customers have access to cards in their overview pages both on the web and on mobile.
During the set up process, our Customer Success team will investigate which metrics the customer would like to see in the overview. If we have the card in our library (as we are restaurateurs focused on building tools for restaurateurs), the CS team can easily implement it for the customers.
If we don’t have the card in our library, first we ask if it really makes sense to track that specific metric. We sometimes find that operators want to track specific numbers that they can’t actually influence in any way. Because these reports are meant to help improve performance, if they’re not directly actionable by the teams, we find that it can be frustrating to have in the overview.
If the card will genuinely be helpful, then we start the process of building it. As it stands, we need to get our development team involved to build out the card. That’s because our V3 cards live within our core Django service and are all defined manually. Our developers need to go into the specific view and input the package JSON to create the card.
What the current process looks like
While this is scalable, it’s a slow process and requires developer input. That means that when a customer wants a new card, there’s a lag and friction between them wanting it and getting it.
3. What’s new about Card Creator?
Our new Card Creator is its own encapsulated service and is separate from the core infrastructure. There are new views for each data source which means there are now more ways to compare data than ever before, and therefore, even more reports comparing data from multiple data sources (eg point of sale data vs labour data vs inventory data).
We've also built a front-end product that allows users to build cards directly from the Tenzo app. That means that we will no longer need developers to build new cards. The idea is that, initially, the Customer Success team will be able to implement all new cards and, subsequently, admins will be able to do it themselves eliminating the need to speak to Tenzo to set up a card.
This new infrastructure also allows us to build cards on top of whatever database we choose. While we currently use a Postgres SQL database, this theoretically means we can use anything we want from Snowflake to Google Sheets.
4. How does this work (the technical side)?
A schema is defined from a data source, which can be connected to pull data from anything - SQL, JSON, CSV, Google Sheets. The sources and views are defined from these schemas, like different "Slices" of data that contain filters, columns, and calculated combinations of columns (e.g. Sales + Tips).
Examples of databases Tenzo can connect to
The cards can then be created from these views (from within Tenzo). The Cards, Sources, Views, and Schemas are stored as definitions in our database. When a Card is requested for viewing, these meta definitions are used to request the real data for displaying the card from the data source.
The insight API sits in the middle and handles incoming requests for cards from Tenzo. It fetches the meta-information about the card from the database and uses that to plan an efficient query to get the right data from the data source. It then fetches this data and finally sends it back Tenzo for display.5. How will customers interact with Card Creator?
On to the big question, what will Card Creator mean for customers?
Card Creator will dramatically increase the amount of flexibility customers can expect from their data. With our new Card Creator, customers will be able to build the exact reports they want in the same way they would build a pivot table in Excel. The magic is that the data will already be there, they will be able to query it in the same fast and accessible way they’ve come to expect with Tenzo.
But what happens when you make these cards? Well, thanks to our new dashboard creator, users will be able to assign these cards to customised dashboards. These dashboards will look just like the overview page we have today except that you’ll be able to make as many as you want and customise them to your heart’s content.
These dashboards also have permissions set to each of them, so you could give access to whoever you would like within your business. Plus, you’ll be able to share these dashboards in email - and unlike how it is currently where you need to follow a link through to the Tenzo app to be able to view a card if you share, emails will display all the cards from the dashboard.
Observant users will notice that these dashboards and new cards are already in use in the Employee Dashboard.
This is also part of our new alerts and email reports infrastructure (more on that to come).
6. When can I get my hands on Card Creator?
We’re already testing out our new cards on the recently revamped Employee Dashboard as well as some more advanced sales reporting. Card Creator will initially be used by Customer Success at Tenzo to create all new cards for Alpha testing. This is to test that all is working well before we release it to admin-level users. We’ll then release a Beta version to be tested by actual users - get in touch if you want to be involved! Once we’re sure everything is running as smoothly as possible, it will be released to all users.