Google Kudos!

An eco-system for restaurant staff to thrive


Google Kudos!

An eco-system for restaurant staff to thrive


The Prompt

While there are many ways to rate and review restaurants, these are not focused on evaluating individuals servers. Design an experience where diners can submit positive comments and constructive suggestions for the wait staff, and servers can use this feedback to both improve and help to secure new employment. Provide a high-level flow and supporting wire frames.

Scennario-adding-life Copy

The Problem 

People dining in at restaurants often have some things to say about the wait staff. Good or bad everyone has a point of view. How do we capture this? Currently, restaurants do not have a mechanism to get a quick or detailed feedback of the wait staff serving the customers.

Verbal praises by customers are not helpful for the wait staff to seek new employment. Where do they capture this appreciation and recommendations?

Alright, let's go to the field and learn from people

There is no better way to understand the hopes, desires, and aspirations of those you're designing for than by talking with them directly. Hence, I went to a couple of nearby restaurants and did some contextual inquiry.

Google-Kudos-Persona-Wait-Staff copy 2

Mildred - Server at Tower Dining, Indianapolis

"We follow the notion 'customer is always right' and hence I need to keep them comfortable and serve them what they need"

"Sometimes during peak hours, it becomes difficult for me to keep a watch on all the tables. So customers have complained about this to my manager here"


Kneche - Server at Mad Greeks, Indianapolis

"My friend used to work here and she referred me here "

"I take care of everything - cleaning, serving, presentation, and preparing drinks"

"My manager encourages me to do my best"


Google-Kudos-Persona-Wait-Staff copy

Thimia - Manager/Owner at Mad Greeks, Indianapolis

"When I hire a staff here, I talk to their previous managers as a background check "

"A manager knows everything. Sometimes I know it's her bad day today and so that is reflecting on her behavior. I see her every day. Also, sometimes there are few customers who never get satisfied and always behave like that"

Journey mapping of restaurant staff

Here is the journey of a server at the restaurant. I have laid out major interactions happening between the customers and the server. I identified touch points(marked in red) for the customers to give feedback to the servers in this flow.

Wait Staff Journey

So what insights do we have?

There is no way for customers to quickly review the server's work
Customers currently review a restaurant based on food, ambience, and service quality using a mobile app(Yelp, Google Places, OpenTable). How might we create a quick way for customers to review their server's work? 

Tips for servers get affected due to factors like food quality, time taken, and ambience which is not in their control
How might we create a way for customers to justify their tipping amount so that the server knows what went well and what did not?

Servers find jobs at restaurants using their connections and referrals
How might we help these servers to connect with other people(servers and hiring managers) to make their job hunting easier? 

Manager hires staff members considering feedback from their previous managers
How might we help managers in finding a perfect server for their restaurant based on their performance in the previous job?

Google Kudos!

The new Kudos app integrates with the point-of-sale system of your restaurant and does everything for you from managing customer orders to taking payments along with customer's feedback.

The app collects feedback at the time of checkout. Customers can pay using a credit/debit card and NFC using the 'square' reader hardware. Payments are also possible using gift voucher or cash.

Kudos also has a dashboard for restaurant staff to see customer feedback and better understand what’s working and what could be better.

So how does customer feedback work with Kudos?

The perfect time for a customer to give feedback about the service is at the time of checkout. Moreover, considering that this system will be used in the United States where we have a huge tipping culture, putting the collection of feedback closer to tips would help customers to justify their tipping amount.

Quick hardware integration

Just plug the square reader into your mobile/tablet device and you're all set to collect card and NFC payments


Payments on the go

Accept payments using a mobile or tablet device from anywhere. This could be used to collect payments on the customer's table or over the counter

tip selected

Seamless customer feedback

Kudos makes it extremely easy for customers to leave feedback. Just make 2-3 quick taps on the device and you're done


Staff track their progress

The restaurant staff gets to see the feedback on a personalized dashboard and this helps them understand whats working and what could be done better


How does Kudos encourage restaurant staff to serve better?

The app provides restaurant staff quick and easy to digest stats about their performance. With this, the staff can view their progress and see what customers are liking about them. We also socialize this experience for the staff so that they could see whats happening in their network and encourage each other to serve better.

Socialized Feed

Get personalized stats about your work. Also stay up to date with whats happening in your network to seek new opportunities

Reviews dashboard restaurant

Share your profile to seek new employment

Use the customer compliments along with your manager recommendations to prove your worth when you look for new job

Jobs Copy 2_framed

How will the manager use the reported issues to resolve them with your customers?

Kudos has a built-in system for resolving issues by contacting your customer directly via email or phone number which they provide at the digital checkout. The manager will also get rich insights into the staff performance. Using the Kudos app on his mobile or tablet device he gets to keep a tab on what's working and what's not.

Manager insights customer feedback

How does Kudos help the restaurant staff to secure new employment? 

With customer feedback collection, Kudos also allows the restaurant staff to find new employment opportunities for their growth. We have integrated Google Jobs within Kudos to present you with jobs from relevant locations that match your skills and interest


Google Jobs Integration

The servers, waiters, managers, and owners could improve their correct match finding experience using this existing technology integrated within Kudos.

How do the customers visiting your restaurant learn about Kudos?

We have created an eco-system for restaurant staff to thrive. We make our customers environmentally aware of this system using the large screen displays which are already available with your restaurant. Showing how awesome your staff is doing on large screen displays creates a talking point for customers. We show them that we care for them and we value their feedback.


My Design Process

Why I chose this design prompt?

I had to choose one out of three design prompts for this exercise. I chose this prompt because I had easy access to the users. I believe in empathy-based design and I like to communicate with people I'm designing for. I'm a frequent restaurant visitor and so it was easier for me to learn from people.


Framing the design problem

Once I had selected the prompt, I had to frame the design problem by establishing following things:

  • Who is the target user?
  • What are the key user goals?
  • What is the context of use?
  • What are constraints I have to deal with?
  • What will be the ultimate impact?
Design framing
Ideation Copy 2
Design framing Copy

Primary Research

I visited my usual restaurant and decided to immerse my self in the life of the server present there. I spent few minutes shadowing them, made them walk me through their tasks, what responsibilities they have and how do they work with their manager and customers.

Secondary Research

I wanted to learn some of the broader contexts. I explored few recent approaches that customers and restaurant owners have adopted - using social media. 


People using platforms like Yelp to express their views

I did a quick analysis of existing products who have leveraged posting constructive feedback and finding employment model. Some of the high-level takeaways:

  • Yelp: People write reviews about restaurants mainly if they have good or bad experience. Verified users and food bloggers are more active here. The app encourages to write long reviews. Short reviews won't get accepted.

  • Airbnb: Host and guest review each other. A guest only gets to see the review from the host only if he also writes a review in return. Has good pre-return templates to assist the user in constructive review writing.

  • Uber: Driver and rider review each other. Has frictionless approach by using star rating system. Based on the star rating, the user is giving an option of selecting compliment badges or report issues.

  • Linkedin: Along with job hunting and making connections, people make use of endorsements and colleagues recommendation feature to strengthen their profile.

  • Square: A restaurant POS system that uses card reader device along with a smartphone for digital checkout. They have an option for collecting customer feedback at the checkout.



Once I had enough learning from my primary and secondary research, I jumped to do some sketches on a whiteboard. My goal here wasn't finding a perfect solution but to come up with lots of ideas. I brainstormed some crazy ideas.

Ideation Copy

Now that I 've enough ideas, I think about the technical constraints and feasibility. Here are few ideas that I felt would work:

  • Tablet on each table:
    Taking some inspiration from Microsft Ziosk, where they use one Android-powered tablet on each table for customers to surf menu, order food, give feedback, and self-checkout.

    There is no human touch here. What if the customers need more info about some items? If they need to customize their order? Not possible!

  • Paper and pen:
    Keeping it simple. Collecting feedback in a traditional way. The server reads feedback once the customer leaves and acts accordingly. 

    How to use the feedback for future reference? How to generate rich insights? Not easy!

  • Mobile App:
    The experience can be focused towards each individual customer. Highly personalized content and services based on user preferences.

    Would customer install the app for every restaurant? No!

  • Large Screen displays:
    Having a large screen display on the checkout counter or at the exit would elicit some feedback from the customers.

    Not happening in context. Customers are in hurry to leave once they are done with eating. Is there enough motivation for them? Probably not!

Design Decisions

Though I approached to solve this problem in multiple ways, for my final design solution, I decided to use the best things from each of the individual solutions. 

Why a mobile app for restaurant staff?

With 237.6 million smartphone users in the United States, I am assuming every restaurant staff must be using a smartphone. Also, the staff wouldn't mind installing the app on their phone if it's making managing orders, collecting payments, and taking feedback easier for them.

enter tip signature

Why reviews dashboard?

This helps the manager to personally connect with each customer and know about their preferences. This gives a high-level and easily digestible action items for staff for improvement. Also, with 78% of restaurant checking their sales and customer metrics daily, there is a high demand for making things digitally possible.


Why card reader hardware?

Reduces the checkout time as compared to traditional paper receipts and swipe machine approach. It is scalable. Can be used in both the context - on the table and over the counter. Pay at the table devices are catching up (Source).


Why Google Jobs, network, and the social feed?

The server I spoke with mentioned she got her current job because she had a friend working there. Additionally, the manager mentioned connecting with previous managers for reference. Google already has this solution available for connecting job seeker and employer.  Why not make a server/manager matchmaking easier?


Few other possible Google integrations


People are already using this. We could provide more information about the staff and their unique skills and specialties.


They recently announced bringing together all payment solutions. We could  leverage the one-tap  the feedback feature along with payments.


Most of the restaurants already have large screen displays. We could use them with the mobile app to cast useful information for customers.

Design Explorations

Taking inspiration from some of the existing Google products and from my landscape analyses, I explored various interactions using the whiteboard, pen, paper, sketch, and principle.

exploreCustomer Payment and Review
exploreCustomer Signature
exploreAdd Tip
exploreGood review
Server Dashboardecplore-
Server Reviewsecplore-
Server Jobsecplore-
Server Jobs Copyecplore-
Server Reviews Copy 2
Tablet 9inch

Next Steps

Show the design to real users and observe how they are using it. I'll need a validation on my design mainly from restaurant staff. Based on the insights we get from user testing, next step will be to make changes and iterate. Also,  I would love to play with more animations if I get more time. 

"The next level of using design is testing business hypotheses on realistic customers. This is the secret weapon for companies as it helps them set direction and “see around corners.” - Luke Wroblewski, Google


Thank you for reading! 

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    Connect with me on twitter, linkedin or email me at

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