US Foods: Streamlined App Updates with Appflow

How US Foods is using Appflow to build a better ecommerce experience

US Foods is one of America’s leading food service distributors, partnering with over 300,000 restaurants and food service operators to ensure they’re getting the best quality foods and top tier support as their business grows. With over 70 locations and nearly 28,000 employees, US Foods relies on technology to streamline operations across the business. A large part of that comes via their various mobile apps, which are used for order procurement, point of service transactions, and account management. 

In evaluating potential development partners for their project, US Foods looked at a number of options. The team sought to build an entirely new experience across web, tablet, and mobile. Based on their own familiarity with Ionic and Angular, they decided that a hybrid approach made the most sense for their business. By adding in Appflow, Ionic’s best-in-class mobile DevOps platform, US Foods has completely overhauled their development process into a streamlined powerhouse, resulting in a totally new cross-platform experience that their customers can confidently rely on.

The challenge

Running multiple apps also meant managing multiple codebases. 

“In our legacy ecommerce application we had two different code bases,” explained Senior Application Developer Jon Perkowski. “It was challenging to keep those in sync and to keep feature parity between the two applications”.

Native builds were a highly manual process that involved an entire team, and when updates needed to be released, it was in accordance with scheduled pushes. As new features and fixes were completed and packaged, the team would then still have to wait for app store approval before any changes went live. This meant releases would typically happen on a quarterly basis, which could mean hiccups in user experience in the meantime.

The solution

Since introducing Appflow, one person can now manage the team’s native builds, freeing up the rest of the team to focus on other projects. This, coupled with a simplified build and deployment process means that the US Foods team is moving faster than ever.

“Once we got everything set up, it has been quite easy,” said Platform Engineer Eric Johnsen. “Essentially one guy is managing the builds- it doesn’t take a big team for us to get a build out there and submitted to the stores.” 

In addition to being able to “set it and forget it,” the team has also been able to get updates through the app stores quicker than ever. 

The cool thing about Ionic and this type of application is being able to update without going through the app store approval process. It’s proved pretty handy in terms of our development deployments and production deployments as well.

Tom Ingoglia, Director of Enterprise Architecture at US Foods

The team is now able to rapidly release new features as needed. This streamlined process has allowed the team to replace their legacy app entirely and bring MOXē, the app for the future of food, to their customers.

The result

MOXē is the latest app from US Foods that does it all. Rather than requiring customers to download and use multiple applications, it’s an all-in-one solution with a lightning fast interface to boot. MOXē lets users search for and place product orders on the go, includes intuitive order tracking, and can be used across mobile, web, and desktop. It is a personalized one-stop shop where users can browse a selection of more than 400,000 items, manage orders and track deliveries in one seamless application.

Built using the Ionic mobile SDK and Appflow, the team is able to automate native builds and leverage live updates to push fixes and improvements to the app instantaneously, ensuring a smooth, up-to-date user experience. 

With Appflow streamlining the distribution pipeline, the US Foods team is freed up to work on developing new features and tools that their customers need. 

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