Aiven Blog

Nov 29, 2022

Cooking with Apache Kafka® [Customer Story]

Huuva, one of Aiven’s Cluster startup companies, use Apache Kafka® in the kitchen. Join us for a tour of their innovative concept, and the boost that Cluster gives them.

Auri Poso, Technical Copywriter at Aiven

Auri Poso

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Technical Copywriter at Aiven

Aiven is blessed with interesting customers, and this is even more true for companies in our Cluster program. Yet sometimes we come across a use case for our services that takes a bit of explaining. One-year-old Huuva is one of these - and we love them for it.

Going against what is perhaps more of a trend among food-related startups, Huuva doesn’t employ delivery staff - they employ chefs. Huuva’s own Kitchens prepare food for home delivery.

“We provide local restaurants and brands a new outlet for their products. Our Kitchens prepare the food, no matter if it’s beets or burgers,” says Tiina Romu, Software Team Lead at Huuva. “The restaurant partners at each Kitchen location provide a menu customized for that location. The customer can order dishes from any or all of the restaurants at that Kitchen.”

That’s the magic of Huuva. You want Chinese food but your friend would rather have pasta? Instead of paying for two home deliveries, you can order both at once from Huuva.

Okay, now we know how to avoid late-night arguments over takeout. But what does data have to do with cooking?

“You might think the kitchen business is done with pots and pans and stoves,” Tiina laughs, “and it is, of course. But what we’re bringing to our kitchens with software is ease of working. Huuva helps the chefs do their job.”

What we’re bringing to our kitchens with software is ease of working.

When there are multiple orders to be prepared at once, Huuva’s software tells the chefs what can be done next and what needs to wait. In short, it helps the chefs queue up orders so that the kitchen can operate smoothly and efficiently but without hurrying.

Aiven for tasty meals

Huuva’s core software product is actually the order management system used in Huuva Kitchens. A workplace where multiple brands and types of food is prepared is a complicated environment with a number of overlapping processes, and the order management system makes the chefs’ work easier by displaying orders in a logical way.

“Behind the order management system is a complex container-based microservice architecture,” Tiina explains. “All services are running in a Kubernetes cluster. This means that we have a lot of small services that have their own purpose, and they are serving only that purpose. Many of those services have a PostgreSQL® database. In addition, we have MongoDB in one of the services, and OpenSearch®. But Apache Kafka® is really the core of everything. All our data is flowing through Apache Kafka, not just orders but also logs and other development related data. We can more easily monitor our infrastructure and know what's happening in all of our kitchens.”

A year of incredible growth with Cluster

“We opened our first location in Finland in September 2021,” says Tiina. “Now, in 2022, we have seven locations internationally. [Note: since the interview, 3 more locations have opened to bring the number up to an even 10.] We always aimed for strong growth so we are not surprised, but we are satisfied.”

Because Huuva have focused on a high rate of growth from the start, they always wanted to set up their services in a sustainable, scalable way. That’s where Aiven’s Cluster program comes in.

“We were really happy to apply to the Aiven Cluster program when it was announced,” says Tiina. “It's really valuable for us that we can actually build our software scalably from the start. Even if we now only have a few kitchens, in the future we might have dozens or even hundreds. So at that point, we won't need to change our architecture anymore. We can just focus on providing our great features for our kitchens.”

Being part of the Cluster program has given us the freedom to choose the tools we want from the start.

“Being part of the Cluster program has given us the freedom to choose the tools we want from the start, without having to worry about the actual cost of these services, or how much time maintaining them would take. So we feel that this is really helping us move forward and grow,” says Tiina.

“We’re also getting technical help from Aiven,” Tiina adds. “We have experts we can talk to, people who have already used and have a lot of experience with services like Kafka. They can help us plan how to do things and to validate that the ideas we have are actually a good way to go.”

Facing the world, hand in claw

But there’s one more great thing that Huuva is getting from participating in the Cluster program.

“One of our favorite things with Aiven Cluster is that we really feel that we are cared for. We are regularly getting questions like, Hey, how are you doing? And is there something we could do for you? And that's a really nice thing, for a bigger company to care for the smaller ones taking their first steps.”

How Aiven Cluster helps Huuva serve tasty local dishes

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