Looking back on the Trail — 2018

Reflecting on the evolution of Trail from its inception to its current state, and the impact it has had on the industry in 2018.
Nic Allen
Apr 2023
4 min read

Wow — what a year!

We’ve welcomed more amazing customers than ever, grown the Trail team, built a host of new features and had a blast along the way.

New customers 🍔

It’s a pleasure to work with so many high-performing, award winning brands. This year, we’ve been joined by more than ever before. We’ve featured a select few newcomers here but love all our customers equally 😍.

To hear what our customers have to say about us, head to the customer stories part of our website.

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News 🗞

In May, Trail was selected by Google as a featured company for the launch of the .app domain.

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In the summer, Trail officially partnered with Milton Keynes Council to strengthen our food safety offering. This reaffirms our commitment to simplifying food safety and paves the way for local authority partnerships for Trail customers.

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New features 📲

In 2018 we focused on truly understanding and solving the problems that our sites face every day. Here are the highlights:

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Closed dates

Just in time for Christmas, you can now close/open sites on specific dates 🚫.

This is great for holiday closures but also opens the door for event operators and temporary closures.

Offline access

Wi-Fi dead zones are unavoidable for a lot of hospitality businesses. This was causing big problems for sites on a daily basis. Trail’s offline mode 🔌 will now kick-in automatically, changes are saved to the device and sync up when reconnected to the internet.

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Single site manager

In the summer we gave more power to the manager ✊. Managers know the details of what makes their sites tick better than anyone and should be responsible for shaping the Trail experience to their needs. This includes tasks just for managers, accessing reports, overriding checklists and more.

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Design refresh

We spent some time at the start of the year aligning different parts of the app to the same design 🎨. We pride ourselves on having a clean, simple-to-use interface and this work was crucial in laying the foundations for everything else to come.

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Task editing rules

Towards the end of the year, we updated how edits to tasks take effect 🔧. Improvements like this can go under the radar. It’s not a shiny new feature but we know it makes a huge difference to our everyday users.

Record tables (coming soon)

Here’s an exciting one that we’ve been working on for a while 🔢. Record tables appear on approximately one in two tasks on Trail. Expect a new design early in the new year with more improvements coming after.

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New record tables coming soon…

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Events 🎪

In 2018, we took our message for better working days on the road, both exhibiting and speaking at more events than ever before.

Habits over audits

At Trail, we want to make working lives easier for those in service roles. A big part of this is changing the perception of how things should be done. For too long, service businesses have been managed by reactionary audits. With Trail, operators can proactively manage teams and build habits rather than simply manage by audits.

A restaurant back office doesn’t need to look like this

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At The Restaurant Show, we literally plastered one of hospitality’s biggest problems all over our walls: Paperwork 📋.

By demonstrating that we understand the biggest problems and providing a solution to them, we could open up meaningful conversations with many attendees.

We were also at the Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo, the Propel — Multi Site Management & People and Training Conference and Restaurant Tech Live alongside Quinyx, Ziik and Hospitality Mavericks in 2018.

With even bigger and better plans for 2019, listen out for announcements on where we’ll be exhibiting.

Away from hospitality — our Head of Engineering, Lewis, hosted an interview with Slack co-founder and CTO Cal Henderson. Trail runs on Slack internally and it was great to be able to hear directly from one of its founders.

Trail Trips ✈️

We’re proud to be a remote-first company. This means an optional office for those who want it, and flexible hours for those that need it.

We trust our team and empower them to deliver great work with the freedom to choose where, when and how they do it.

But it comes with its challenges. Culture is hard to grow & maintain. And some things need working out in person.

So every 6 months the whole company take a trip, break out of our normal ways of working, solve some big problems and bond as a team.

The best work happens poolside

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Toulouse 🇫🇷

Beautiful weather, incredible accommodation and a load of work was done over 4 summer days in Toulouse. Plus a little time to relax in the pool.

We focused on practical problems, like widget requests, the template library and user onboarding.

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Oxfordshire 🎓

In November, we stayed a little closer to home and reflected on who we are and how we work.

Life at Trail can feel like a bit of a whirlwind. We’re growing quickly and things are always changing.

Trips like this help us take stock of the bigger picture and make sure we’re working as effectively as we can.

Key Takeaways 🍜

Every day’s a school day and we’re still learning. Here’s a few things we’ve picked up this year:

  • Speak to the people you’re trying to help 💬 Trail is built to solve real-world problems, the only way we’ll do this is with a close relationship to those who use it.
  • Culture is key 🗝 People matter. It might seem hard to put a value on good culture but you definitely don’t want to feel the cost of a bad one.
  • Keep asking why 🤔 Building something new allows you to define how it’s done. Don’t adopt something just because that’s how it’s always been done.
  • Build for success 🍾 Move fast and break things works well for some but will quickly catch up with you as you grow. If you want to be successful prepare yourselves for scale.

Trail Beats! 🔊

To sign off, we’d like to share some of the music that’s been powering us all this year.

That’s all for this year 👋

Have an awesome Christmas and New Year and we’ll see you on the Trail in 2019 😊

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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