I have worked in food service for over 40 years, for one very long year, I was an Olive Garden Manager. My current job is with an IA firm.
I like the parallel between UX and the restaurant industry. I’ve tried to insert the concept of guest service into what we do as a a solver of information things. As with chef inspired or run restaurants the guest can take second seat to a farm raised beet or an aging room for prime beef. To often my dining experience is tainted by a kid trying to earn their way through college. Thinking about the process rather then the person being served. Giving the guest what they need on a website experience is important but overall guest experience can transform a good dinner into a great evening.
Recently I was charged with buying flowers for the funeral of one of our staff who’s grandmother died unexpectedly. The service was in Mississippi, I
am in Michigan. On Tuesday afternoon I took out my trusty I-phone, logged into the obituary site and tapped the nice red arrow to order flowers. The on line experience was flawless, easy to navigate, clear and simple. I had the flowers ordered in five to ten minutes. I was very impressed with everything about that experience, until I got a call the next day from the florist’s call center apologizing because they were unsuccessful in getting the flowers delivered on time and wanted me to provide an alternate address.
Great guest service is just as important as the meal or a pretty well placed red arrow. When you are planning experience, step back from the page and consider the whole picture. Olive Garden is a nice place to eat, but sometimes a greasy spoon where they know your name is better.