DESIGN PROJECT

WAIT STAFF REVIEW

The Problem

While there are many ways to rate and review restaurants, these are not focused on evaluating individuals servers. In this project, I am designing 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. 

Let's start with the understanding the different types of restaurants

Before starting to solve anything, I explored the different types of restaurants, the kind of services they provide, the background of wait staff that works there and the hiring process.

 

Questions

What are the different categories of restaurants?

What are the services provided in these different categories of the restaurants? 

From what background do the wait staff come from in each of these categories?

What is the hiring process?

How do waiters apply for jobs currently? What are the challenges?

 

Ex: Chipotle, Panera Bread

 

  • Do not offer full table service

  • Quick and fast service

  • Very less interaction with the wait staff 

  • Customers do not have enough impression of the waiter in order to give the feedback.

  • Customers usually do not plan in advance 

 

Ex: Denny's, BJ's, CPK

 

  • Provide full table service

  • Usually, have a full bar with separate staff

  • The dining experience is not fast-paced and customers usually spend a decent time

  • Diners usually plan their outing

 

Ex: Michelin star restaurants

 

  • Have an upscale clientele and provides the highest quality of food

  • Are on the more expensive side and sometimes strict on the dress code

  • The dining experience is slow paced and the customers spend quality time

  • Diners usually plan their outing

 

Likelihood of customers giving feedback

Given the nature of fast food and fast-casual restaurants, the customers do not interact as much with the wait staff apart ordering the food they like. As a result, the customers do not have enough impression of the wait staff in order to give valuable and detailed feedback that the wait staff can use to improve and use it for future employment.

 

On the other hand, in casual and fine dining, there is a full table service along with the bar. Eating at casual and fine dinings are generally planned events and people spend more time compared to the fast, fast casual restaurants. Also, the wait staff team is larger and provide more personalized services along with being more cordial and friendly. As a result, the customers are in a better position to give valuable feedback based on the service they received. 

 

HYPOTHESIS

 

"The likelihood of giving better feedback is directly proportional to the amount of time spent with the wait staff/restaurant"

Based on the above hypothesis, at this point, I am considering casual dine and fine dining restaurants to design the wait staff rating and reviewing experience.

Background of individuals working as a wait staff

NUMBERS

 

10% of US workforce work in restaurants

 

That's 4% of US population

 

50% of all adults in the US have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their life

 

33% garnered their first job experience in a restaurant

- http://www.aspenwsi.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/The-Restaurant-Workforce-in-the-United-States.pdf

 

BACKGROUND

In fast casual and casual dining kind of restaurants, "workers come from the middle-class background and begin working as early as 15/16 years old, and along the way, taking college classes, finish different levels of higher education, receive Bachelors degree and even MS degrees."

- A "Professional Back Place": An Ethnography of Restaurant Workers - Research paper

 

So in these types of restaurants, the wait staff mostly works part-time job along with pursuing other career goals.  And, the restaurant job is not where they want to make a career in the long run. Also, the hiring is based on recommendations from friends, family, previous co-workers, referrals, flyers, etc along with the job postings.

 

But, this is different in fine-dine Michelin star kind of restaurant. Here the wait staff are professionally trained, sometimes have certifications, and try to make their career within the restaurant industry.

 

Therefore, for this design project,

I will be designing the rating and review experience for the wait staff at the fine dining restaurants in order to help them to gain further employment opportunities using the past experiences, good feedback, manager recommendations, etc. 

DESIGNING THE RATING AND REVIEW EXPERIENCE FOR THE FINE DINING RESTAURANTS

Customer Journey in Fine Dine Restaurants

Customer Journey at the Fine Dine Restaurants

PRE-DINING

DURING

POST

Opportunities to create a memorable experience for the customer

Feedback Opportunity

Receive check and make payment

Receive ordered food

Place order

Receive Menu and drinks offer

Table offered

Greeted by wait staff

Arrive at the Restaurant and waits in line

Book Reservation

Find Restaurants

Decide to go out for dining

Optimize the website to show up on the search engines

Design user-friendly and appealing website/app

User-friendly and simple booking process

 

Less wait time for phone bookings

 

List your restaurant on reservation sites like 'Opentable'

Communicate with the guest if the line is long and ask if they need anything in the mean-time

Be attentive, engaging and welcoming

 

Ask for table and location preference

 

Provide great information and be suggestive of drinks

Design a great menu

 

Answer food-related queries

Be suggestive of house/chef-specials

 

 

Wait for right moments to engage

Anticipate needs

 

 

Special treat

 

Thank you

 

 

Feedback on the food

Feedback on the overall experience of dining and waitstaff 

Quick feedback on the booking experience

Feedback on the ambiance and the menu

Okay, so how do the fine dine restaurants hire the wait staff?

I explored this area to understand the hiring process of fine dining restaurants and the criteria they look at while hiring. Understanding this will help me tailor the design of rating and reviewing experience which will help the wait staff to gather relevant feedback from their customers. As part of this, I conducted user interviews and also read through the job descriptions and qualifications(on indeed, glassdoor,etc..) the restaurants seek from the wait staff. 

EXAMPLES OF JOB DESCRIPTIONS FROM INDEED.COM

"Prior experience must include both server and management, plus a love for the details of fine service, sommelier certificate, and refined customer service."

"Smith & Wollensky Wellesley is looking for fine dining servers with steakhouse experience. We are looking for professional, experienced servers with a good base of wine, cocktail and classic steakhouse cuisine."

"AQUAGRILL, NYC's top seafood restaurant, is hiring experienced, enthusiastic professionals with a passion for the industry and a background that must include previous fine dining plus fast paced service experience. "

 

 

Restaurants hire from

  • Job site postings

  • Craigslist, Linkedin, Glassdoor

  • Campus recruitment

The skills they look for

  • Excellent hospitality services

  • Ability to have a good conversation with the customers

  • Suggestive selling practices with subtlety

  • Anticipate guest needs and fulfill them appropriately

  • Knowledge of food service industry

  • Patience under stressful circumstances

  • Past Experiences

design

BASED ON THE PROBLEM STATEMENT, I WILL BE DESIGNING,

1. An experience to submit constructive feedback and suggestions to the wait staff

2. An experience to allow the wait staff to both improve and help secure new employment

1. Rating and Reviewing Experience

Customers enjoy the food and service

1

Wait staff presents the digital bill on restaurants mobile/ipad

2

Customer,

- Review the bill

- Rates and reviews the waiter(Optional)

-Adds a tip(Optional)

-Signs

3

The rating and review experience is integrated with the payment process to make it seamless, easily accessible and avoid any additional effort from the end customer perspective. 

 

To rate the wait staff, the customer can click on the number of cookies(1-5) to give. For rating, I brainstormed other creative ways to rate but preferred cookie rating system because I felt cookies bring more delight :) To provide additional review and compliments, the customer can click on the "Give compliments" button and the additional options will be displayed on the same screen. The entire bill payment, rating, and reviewing experience are on the single screen to make it convenient and effortless.

TASK FLOW

Payment Screen

Add tip and Sign

Give Cookies

Mark Favorite

Done

Give compliments

Thank you Screen

RATING SYSTEM BRAINSTORMING

Leave a thank you note/feedback

Thank you

Add tip and Sign

Give Cookies

Compliment

Payment Home

Type the notes

Mark wait staff as favorite

Benefits of marking favorite

Complete the payment process 

2. Help improve and secure new employment

Introducing UDYOG, a mobile app for waiters.

 

To help the wait staff to improve and secure new employment, I am designing a mobile app similar to Linkedin but tailored towards the wait staff persona. Using this app the wait staff can see all the ratings and review they received in one place and also use it while applying for new employment. 

 

Further, the wait staff can add their specializations, skills, recommendations, and testimonials from previous managers and co-workers to their profile. 

In order to use this profile for new employment, the wait staff can export their profile to pdf, download, share through social media.

 

The profile can also be attached to the job application forms. 

Example:

Profile 

  • Here the user can update his profile picture. This image will be displayed on the payment screen during the payment process.

  • The wait staff is assigned badges based on experience and the rating and reviews they get from the customers.

Overall Rating Stats

  • See average cookie rating

  • See the total customers served and the number of customers that rated the waiter.

Past Experiences

  • Here the wait staff can add their past experiences and also seek recommendations from his co-workers/manager from the previous employment.

Top Compliments and feedback

  • See the top compliments and the feedback that the wait staff received 

Areas to Improve

  • Here the wait staff can see the constructive suggestions provided by the customer who gave 2 or fewer cookies.

  • This is only intended to help the wait staff improve and will not be part of the profile if they share, export or download.

Top Qualities

  • Here they can add the top personal qualities that they think they have. 

Recommendations

Here they can see all the recommendations that they received.

The wait staff can export their profile to pdf, share it via social media or download and attach it on the job application forms.

How will the rating and reviews submitted on the restaurant's tablet are available to the UDYOG app?

The idea is to integrate the UDYOG app with the software the restaurants use for the billing purpose.

 

What is the motivation for the restaurants to allow the sharing of review information?

If the restaurants agree to integrate with the UDYOG app, the rating and review information will also be shared with the restaurants in the format they prefer along with the performance metrics.

 

Long-term plan: UDYOG app can also be designed for the restaurant managers where they can review the customer feedback and help the wait staff to improve on their performance.

RATING AND REVIEW

After the dining, the wait staff hands over the digital check on the restaurant's tablet.

The customers can review the check and make payment, give feedback in the form of cookies and compliments for the serving waiter with quick and easy taps.

 

The customer can also mark the wait staff as their favorite. If marked favorite, the same host will be assigned the next time they visit and the food and drinks will be customized based on their preferences in the past.

IMPROVE AND SECURE NEW EMPLoYMENT

Introducing UDYOG! A mobile app for waiters.

 

Using UDYOG, the waiters can;

  • See consolidated ratings and reviews

  • Learn and improve from the feedback

  • Get recommendations from the managers

  • Record past experiences and top skills

  • Download or Share the profile to seek new employment