Jamil Bonnick Senior Designer / Developer

In order to get the best people, you have to create an environment that they want to be in. - Research Participant

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Fuego:
Unforgettable Waiter Experiences

My Role

As the solo designer on this design challenge, I led the entire design process from research to prototyping.

Process

Research > Personas > Userflows > Lo-Fi Sketches > Wireframes > High Fidelity > Prototyping > Usability Testing

Goal

The goal was to create an experience where diners have the opportunity to directly rate/review their waiters.

Challenge

We live in a society where experiences trump material goods. It’s the reason Groupon exceeds, why travel is at its all-time high, and why so many of our friends post happy brunch pictures on social media each and every week. Experiences matter. Was the food good at that restaurant last week? Sure. But did the wait staff accommodate your large party, at the last minute, without a fuss and get all of your orders correct? Well, that’s a story worth telling.

Managers, waiters, and customers in restaurant settings rely on each other to meet their goals and have good experiences. Managers want to keep their doors open and grow; waiters want to receive good tips and promotions; and customers, put simply, want to have a good time. Fuego aims to support each of these goals.

Problem Discovery

As a frequent diner, I immediately recognized my position as a customer in all of my interactions with restaurant's. I needed to know more – who else was involved in the everyday inner-workings, what did they need, and how could they get it? I began searching the internet (YouTube, blogs, articles) for insights from anyone who played a role in the restaurant business to understand how the system functioned. Popular review platforms, including Yelp, Uber, Lyft, Open Table, and Google Review were analyzed to understand how users interacted with the platforms, and what users were missing to improve their goals and meet their interests.

My target audience grew out of this preliminary research. It became clear that the most valuable players in the restaurant industry were: managers, waiters, and customers. Online surveys with open-ended questions were created for each target group and shared with friends, family, colleagues, and complete strangers. I also took advantage of the research, as a participant-observer, by visiting several restaurants as a diner. There, I conducted in-person informal interviews with waiters and managers and observed how each of the target groups interacted with one another in the space.

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Personas

Using direct quotes obtained through survey responses and one-on-one interactions with potential users, personas were developed for each of the three user types: managers, waiters, and customers. Meet Pivana, Kenneth, and Luka.

  • Pivana / Manager
  • Kenneth / Waiter
  • Luka / Customer
  • “A resume can tell you where someone’s worked and how long they’ve worked there but what it can’t tell you is what kind of person they are.”

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    Pivana
    Manager

    Pivana is the General Manager of Eat Well, a restaurant group that contains three separate restaurants in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. She has a total staff of 80 and works closely with the Assistant Managers to run the restaurant smoothly. Due to her commitments, Pivana is constantly traveling between restaurants. She is in search of a way to monitor her staff from afar, and respond to incidents, and/or offer praise when applicable.

    Insights

    • Customer feedback is important
    • Identify staff strengths and weaknesses
    • Keep staff happy to keep customers happy
  • “There’s no joy in the world like hearing your customer say, 'You did a great job!'. It's a great feeling to know my customer's enjoyed their experience.”

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    Kenneth
    Waiter

    Kenneth is a full-time graduate student and relies on his job (and tips!) to cover the excess expenses not covered by his teaching assistantship. He is just learning the ropes, but hopes to excel to maximize his profit.

    Insights

    • Constructive feedback helps one improve
    • Tips are essential to livelihood
    • There will always be tough customers
  • “For me personally, the waiter has just as much of an impact of my dining experience as the food. It’s a key factor on whether I’d go back or not.”

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    Luka
    Customer

    Luka loves small cafes and coffee shops where the wait staff and management know his name and needs. As an entrepreneur, Luka can spend several hours in a cafe as he works on his computer. He appreciates waiters who respect his space but are also attentive to his requests. He is an avid social media user and frequently rates his experiences in dining, entertainment, and leisure establishments.

    Insights

    • Customers are outspoken online and in person
    • If an experience warrants it, customers will call out waiters in online reviews
    • Reviews are used to select new restaurants to try
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Initial Sketches

With each user in mind, I brainstormed practical solutions that would address users’ needs and wants. I began with very rough sketches which explored a website, mobile app design, and an in-restaurant table top device.

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Userflows

Ultimately, I decided to move forward with a mobile (iOS and Android) application because of its accessibility and ease of use among target audiences. One of my first major design decisions was to create two separate applications; one for restaurant staff (managers and waiters) and the other for restaurant users (the customers). This would allow the business aspect of the restaurant to operate independently on the platform and would allow managers and waiters to also be customers when dining at restaurants outside of their workplace.

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    Manager's Experience
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    Waiter's Experience
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    Customer's Experience
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Wireframes

Separate applications could also be easier for the developers to maintain. For instance, any updates that need to be made could be released independently. This is important, especially when the product is still in its early stages of development. Also, it makes it easier for a manager or waiter who wants to use the customer app for their own dining experiences outside of work, all they would need to do is switch between the two apps.

  • Pivana / Manager
  • Kenneth / Waiter
  • Luka / Customer
  • “In order to get the best people, you have to create an environment that they want to be in.”

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    Pivana
    Manager

    The restaurant industry accounts for 4% of the U.S. GDP. Restauranteurs, who are business-minded people at heart, care about their bottom line – profits. In order to gain profits, they have one primary goal: keep customers coming back for more. Food and environment play a role in this, but research shows that it is the restaurant staff who really make dining experiences worthwhile.

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    1. Home / Explore

    Provides managers with an up-to-date list of top performers and latest user reviews

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    2. Customer Review

    Highlight of the customer’s review, including the photos they upload

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    3. Waiter Profile

    Personalized waiter information, including number of times they have been favorited and the number of ratings they have received

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    4. List of Waiters

    Lists the restaurants waiters in order of top performance, allows managers to add, edit and remove employees

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    5. Search (Waiters)

    Managers can search through their list of waiters, very useful for large staffs

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    6. Search (Reviews)

    Managers can search reviews using specific terms like “rude” or “nice”

  • “If a customer has a great experience, they'll let you know!”

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    Kenneth
    Waiter

    Waiters are the front-line representatives in most restaurants. Unlike the managers or the cooks, waiters are recognizable and come into direct contact with customers. They are responsible for placing orders, delivering orders, and ensuring that diners have an overall positive experience. Their roles within restaurants are insurmountable, but their wages do not always reflect their importance to the company. In most instances, waiters are paid less than $5 an hour and rely on tips to make decent wages. As the make or break component in the restaurant, waiters work tirelessly to earn their profits. It’s time they are celebrated for their roles in dining.

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    1. Home / Waiter Profile

    Personalized waiter information, up-to-date personal stats and feedback from customers

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    2. Customer Review

    Highlight of the customer’s review, including the photos they upload

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    3. Search (Reviews)

    Waiters can search through their customer's feedback based on keywords used

  • “For me personally, the waiter has just as much of an impact of my dining experience as the food. It’s a key factor on whether I’d go back or not.”

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    Luka
    Customer

    Customers are the driving force behind restaurant success. They keep the doors open. Customer feedback is taken seriously by restaurateurs, who are constantly seeking ways to improve diner's experiences. Their feedback, as a result of technology, is often public, candid, and thorough. Customers gain power as they collectively influence other diners to try certain restaurants or to address professional concerns with staff.

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    1. Home / Explore

    Customers are presented with the restaurant options closes to them or the option to explore

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    2. Restaurant Profile (Waiters)

    Selecting a restaurant will take you to their profile screen showing that restaurant's general info, stats, and a list of their waiters

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    3. Restaurant Profile (Reviews)

    There's also a Reviews tab for customers who want to gain more insight into a restaurant's experience

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    4. Waiters Profile

    After selecting the restaurant, you select your waiter where you can view their stats, reviews, and can review, tip, or favorite

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    5. Waiter Review

    Customers can quickly review their waiter using a 5-star rating system, review suggestions, and an optional space for any additional comments

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    6. Waiter Tip

    Customers can quickly tip their waiter using Apple or Google Pay with suggested tip amounts and an option for a custom amount.

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    7. Favorite Waiters

    Customers can keep track of their favorite waiter which can help which can create stronger connections and promote repeat visits

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High-Fidelity

The high-fidelity mockups shown below illustrate how visual design could impact the user’s experience. Red is the primary color used, as it associated with food and hunger. The logo is centered at the top of each page. Bright images are included throughout the app to entice and guide the user.

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Conclusion

Over the course of this challenge, I applied my research, design, and user experience skills to design a product that I believe could be useful to the three identified target audiences. I believe that Fuego has strong potential to reshape paradigms on how ratings and reviews are handled throughout the restaurant industry. The data collected from customers, waiters, and managers guided my design decisions, allowing me to focus on the user and their goals/expectations. Overall, it was a fun and immersive project that really allowed me to further hone in on my experiences as a designer and developer. Thank you for taking your time to learn about Fuego!

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Thank you for viewing!

Infinite blessings to you and everyone you love!