As a company, we are focused on providing our clients an incredible value. One approach which helps us maximize customer value takes advantage of a recently matured trend in software development: Open Source Software. I would like to share an example of how we were able to build a custom software solution for a client using this approach.

About the company

Generous City Street Cafe is a new concept for a food truck which allows its customers to pay what they want for the food they receive. A well-off customer may pay a larger amount while a cash-strapped customer may give themselves a discount. In addition to operating as an independent food vendor, Generous City can operate as a fundraiser in which additional profits are donated to the host organization.

About the project

While researching Point-of-sale systems, Generous City found that none of the existing off-the-shelf solutions supported this unique set of requirements. Unfortunately, building a custom point-of-sale system with all of the inventory and reporting features Generous City needed would have broken the bank.

Swiftlet’s approach to this project was to identify an open-source software package which already provided a basic set of Point of sale features (menus, pricing, credit card handling, etc.) and extend that package to include the special behavior that Generous City needed. Eventually, we chose Odoo (formerly OpenERP) as the software is available with open licensing and has a modular architecture. This architecture allows an install to run lean as only the necessary plugins are installed, but it also allows for custom plugins to extend the behavior.

Customer Interaction

Allow me to walk you through how the software is used (by both parties):

  1. The Vendor builds an order by touching the items the customer requests
  2. The Vendor presses a button which loads a customer-oriented screen
  3. The Customer is presented a slider bar which is pre-loaded to the suggested price. As the Customer alters the price, a graphic shows what will be donated based on their generosity.
  4. The Customer presses “Pay” and they are shown a “Thank you” screen
  5. The Vendor closes the custom screen, prints a meal ticket, takes payment, and prints a receipt for the Customer.

The software operates as any industry-standard Point-of-sale system would until the custom behavior is invoked. Not only does this keep things simple for the user, it also allows Swiftlet to keep our modifications (and effort) minimal.


The project took place over the course of about 10 weeks and both Swiftlet Technology and Generous City were satisfied with the outcome:

  • From the client’s perspective, the software did exactly what it needed to do and was immediately used to generate revenue
  • From Swiftlet’s perspective, it was an interesting project which gave us an opportunity to explore Odoo’s capabilities

If you’re interested in starting a custom software project, contact us to get a quotation; we’ll be happy to help you formulate a plan to reach your business goals!