Wait Staff Review — A Design Exercise

For restaurant businesses, though food makes up for an essential part of customer’s dining experience, service also has an decisive impact on their customer’s overall satisfaction. Yelp has dived into their user data and found out that good or bad customer service can really make a difference in a review.

“ If a yelper mentioned good customer service, they are over 5 times as likely to give a 5 star review rather than a 1 star. Similarly, nearly 70% of “bad” customer service experiences are given 1 star, compared to less than 5% that get 5 stars.”

That is, a restaurant that serves great-tasting foods can get underrated due to its mediocre service that sometimes goes wrong and brings about poor ratings. Therefore, it is suggested by Yelp that business owners should focus on customer service, learning what went wrong from the reviews and making improvements accordingly.

Therefore, an experience dedicated for customer service reviews, which can collect large amount of reviews and generate useful insights, would be desired.

Insights and Considerations

I identified the stakeholders and thought about how they can achieve from the experience.

Then I listed out some considerations that should be taken into account before I get started with designing.

  • Active users of restaurant review apps, i.e. Yelp, might include comments on the service in their reviews.
  • Casual customers might need incentives to leave a review.
  • Mistaken reviews or abused reviews would be detrimental to the wait staff’s and the restaurant’s reputation.


I grounded my ideation on my understanding of the stakeholders which are also the target user groups I’m designing for. First, I brainstormed on what tasks each user groups would perform to achieve what they want out of the experience, e.g., reading the reviews would be a task that help the wait staffs find out how they can improve their service for next time.

I positioned the tasks on a cycle journey that involves customers, restaurants and wait staffs, which I could always refer to later on. I think this would help me keep the whole picture in mind and thus lead to a more cohesive design outcome.

I first only focused on very basic user tasks and then divergently elaborate on features on the next step.

User Flow

I selected the features which I think should be included if I’m designing for the initial release of the product, and mapped out the user flow.

Designing for Wait Staff’s Experience

For this exercise, I decided to advance on the wait staff’s experience.

To back up my thinking with more visuals, I also did sketches for customer’s interface and restaurant manager’s interface.

I went through a few variations to explore different ideas on contents and interactions.

the main screens of my final design

Take notes on reviews

Usually, not all the reviews contain constructive feedbacks. By taking notes on reviews, the wait staff can highlight the parts she finds helpful, and moreover, turn them into a list of what can be improved.

screens that show the interaction of taking notes

Share professional profile

The wait staff can share her professional profile with her potential employers to feature her competency.

screens that show the interaction of sharing profile via the app

Reflecting on what I’ve done

I perceived this exercise as an opportunity to hone my skills on the every aspect of UX design. Therefore, I purposely started out on the product thinking scope rather than diving into the UI immediately. Yet further down the road, I also paid more attentions to the details in visual and interaction design.

Going through the exercise, I also tried to maintain a well-organized process. I think design is not only about generating ideas but also about finding the way that can lead one to more/better ideas.

the process of a junior designer vs. the process of a senior designer (credits to Julie Zhuo)

Looking back, my concern is that my design was backed up only by conclusions drew from research on the Internet. So if given more time and resources, I would have brought in the stakeholders early on in the process to understand the problem more thoroughly.

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