Ziplunch is a Toronto-based startup that simplifies food orders and delivery for groups. In partnering with Optimum, Ziplunch was able to quickly scale and develop an agile, user-friendly app—even adapting during the pandemic to meet new consumer demands. This partnership underscores how collaboration and adaptability fueled Ziplunch’s ability to scale rapidly and find continued success.
50% of company revenue today can be attributed to Optimum Partner’s work on two key projects.
“I honestly highly recommend Optimum Partners. I refer them to any of my friends who are looking to build something and don’t have technical skills or a technical co-founder.”
Majdi Alnabih is the co-founder and CEO of Ziplunch, a Toronto-based startup that streamlines food orders
and delivery for groups.
After successfully scaling and leading a mass manufacturing facility to acquisition in Doha, he took a career break, returning to Canada. It was 2016, when demand for Uber Eats and DoorDash was beginning to take off. When dining out, Majdi noticed that orders from these platforms were overwhelming the restaurants and affecting the dining experience. He began looking at restaurants like they were mini mass production food plants and wondering whether there was a solution.
He started talking to restaurant owners, which confirmed his suspicion about what was going on. And then he thought, “What if I can find companies that order food for their teams and connect them with restaurants?”
He pitched the idea to his first workplace and Ziplunch was born — a service that reduces restaurant downtime by connecting them to corporate clients.
To test the waters, Ziplunch initially offered its clients eight restaurants to order from via a completely manual process — first PDF menus, then SMS, and then email, until their client base grew to the point where they could no longer keep up with servicing their 300+ orders per day manually. That’s when Ziplunch decided to build something more scalable: an app for iOS, Android, and desktop.
Majdi and his co-founders didn’t have experience with building mobile apps, so they reached out to multiple development partners. One of Majdi’s co-founders knew Eyad, and they decided to go ahead with Optimum Partners because of Eyad’s honesty in sharing feedback about what to build and what not to build.
“He gave us great advice about what to avoid for the time and what to focus on building instead.” For example, Majdi and his co-founders wanted to include a rewards system in the initial build. “Eyad told us, ‘No, it’s too early. Focus on client retention first.’ Which we did, and it really paid off.”
Ziplunch hired Eyad as their technical advisor, a project manager, and a few developers from Optimum Partners to form the app development team. They brought the Ziplunch team through the process of creating user journeys and stories to capture the problems they were solving, and then they were off to the races creating tasks and tickets in JIRA. The Ziplunch app would let users place orders directly to a curated list of restaurants that each had a curated menu for the platform. The app also gave users the ability to make pre-orders ahead of time. A core focus was making the ordering process as fast as possible — within 30 seconds or less.
By the end of the four month project, Optimum Partners had exceeded expectations by delivering the platform on time and bug free, all while being highly responsive.
“They tested for bugs themselves, but if we discovered one, we’d let them know and they’d reply almost instantly. Even though we’re in Canada and they’re in Jordan, we had their team on our Slack channel so we could reach out to them at any time. Whenever we’d send them a message, they’d take care of it within a couple of hours.”
The launch of the Ziplunch app came just in time — in March 2020 when COVID hit. Just when Ziplunch was expecting to scale with their B2B clients, they had to pivot. Instead of offices, Ziplunch started servicing groups of neighbors in residential towers. The way the platform was built, it easily accommodated this change and Ziplunch was still able grow despite the pandemic.
Ziplunch has now engaged Optimum Partners for two additional projects, and they’ve just kicked off a fourth one. Optimum Partners has delivered software updates, Ziplunch’s split payment feature for letting users choose how much companies or employees pay for a transaction, and soon they’ll help launch Ziplunch’s new catering capability. Over the years, Ziplunch has come to consider Optimum Partners part of the team.
“Eyad’s become integral to the team, not somebody that you’re just paying who you part ways with at the end. We always stayed in touch and now we have a personal relationship.”
To other startup founders without experience in mobile development, he recommends that they test out their concepts — and whether they really solve pain points for customers — with the least amount of tech possible before building. On the question of hiring an in-house CTO or engineering team, his advice is not to bother unless they’re a friend: attracting talent before reaching an inflection point is difficult. Instead, he says to use Optimum Partners.
Says Majdi: “If it wasn’t for Optimum Partners, we wouldn’t be here today. We most likely would’ve given up or failed. Now, we’re working with top name clients like Intuit and Octa with a platform that functions extremely well. What we’ve gotten from Optimum Partners has been triple the value of what we’ve paid.”