An eco-system for restaurant staff to thrive
An eco-system for restaurant staff to thrive
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.
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.
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"
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
Now that I 've enough ideas, I think about the technical constraints and feasibility. Here are few ideas that I felt would work:
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.
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.
Most of the restaurants already have large screen displays. We could use them with the mobile app to cast useful information for customers.
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!