This product focuses on both sides of the dining experience: diners and servers. As a self declared foodie, I find it easy to empathize with the diners, but I also recognize that this is a diverse group with diverse needs. I also have no experience working in the food service industry, so I have little background to help me understand the needs of servers. In order to better understand my users and help me empathize with their needs, I interviewed 3 of my post-college friends who have previously worked in the industry, as well as an additional 3 people who regularly enjoy going out to eat.
Through talking to the servers, I wanted to learn about how they received positive feedback or constructive criticism, and how they were evaluated on their performance. I also asked them to tell me memorable stories that stood out during their interactions.
Through talking to the diners, I wanted to learn what role servers play in their dining experience and what aspects of their service are important to them.
I used a technique called affinity diagramming to organize my notes and identify areas of opportunity. My notes produced 4 main findings:
Most diners find it annoying and inconvenient to review.
Tips are the prime measurement of performance for servers.
Servers want specific feedback about what they're doing right and what areas they can improve.
Servers and diners want to keep their reviews private and anonymous.
From these findings, I realized that servers don't get enough feedback from their managers or their customers outside of tip, so it's difficult for them to know how they can improve. The problem is that most customers find it inconvenient to provide feedback.
Therefore, my design goals were to:
1) Make the diners review their servers with minimum effort
2) Catch their emotion and feedback quickly and,
3) The feedback must be valuable to the server
The first thing was finding the best time for a customer to give feedback about their server. I found an opportunity at the end of the meal, because it is when a diner is generally most relaxed, and also has the best memory of their dining experience with his/her server.
I used storyboards to convey my ideas and speed dated them with a few people. I played around with a few ideas including being able to request a server, and debated whether this app would be on your personal phone or on the restaurant's phone. Quickly showing my storyboards to people helped validate my early ideas and made me question others.
I created some low fidelity wireframes and made a few different possible screens, considering different types of feedback, and attempted to minimize the number of screens / steps to reduce complexity.
I considered many different ways to provide feedback (slider, multiple choice, ranking, tags, etc.) but I ultimately went with an emoji rating - because they are expressive, fun, and quick. I selected the 5 emojis I felt best represented a wide range of emotions from extremely satisfied to extremely unsatisfied.
In order to provide more valuable feedback than just emojis, I knew I also had to include a text field so diners can write a personal message. Although optional, prompting them would make it more likely for them to write something. And if they decide not to write anything, they would be able to easily select aspects of what they liked or areas of improvement: Friendliness, Professionalism, Helpfulness, Attentiveness.
In an effort to reduce complexity, I reduced the number of screens to 4 (2 of them being the introduction and thank you screen).
I imagine this product being used in the near future, where restaurants are likely to digitalize all payments through a device (no more paper receipts!). This system would be most effective if it was integrated into an existing payment infrastructure like Apple Pay and Android Pay.
This app will connect to the POS system that the restaurant uses to know which table each server is serving, and allow you to pay the bill and tip. This will keep track of a lot of things for the server - number of customers served on an average day, tips earned over time, and feedback from their customers.
Having the server's photo helps make the experience personal, and reminds you of your recent interactions with him or her.
Because emojis are relevant. All you need is an emoji to express how you feel. I've narrowed it down to five.
Selecting a category, such as friendliness or humor lets you to opt out of writing something, but still give valuable feedback in a quick and painless way.
Servers enjoy reading what people wrote and find it more valuable than just a generic review.
The data is anonymously collected at the end of the day and goes to the server's personal phone app - where he/she can review.
This is great way for them to track their performance over time, both through personal messages and the amount of tips earned.
Constructive feedback can help servers improve at their current job, and positive testimonials can become a tool to help them secure new opportunities.
This project addresses a small aspect of the server-diner relationship, but it could be the starting point of a product that improves the overall restaurant experience for everyone. Due to the time constraints, I wasn't able to flesh out my designs as much as I would have liked. I realized that there were definitely limitations in my research, due to time and accessibility. Overall, I really enjoyed working on this project, and I hope you enjoyed reading my process!