Redesigning Just Eat’s restaurant app

Timothy Salter-Hewitt
Oct 19 · 7 min read

The challenge

Every week our restaurant partners feed millions of people around the world. In each of these busy, noisy and often chaotic restaurants is an Orderpad device, beeping each time a newly-arrived order comes in. This device has an important job to do: connecting our restaurant partners with customers across our markets. In 2019 alone, the Orderpad handled over 60 million orders across eight countries.

Restaurant staff member using the redesigned Orderpad restaurant app
Restaurant staff member using the redesigned Orderpad restaurant app

Over the last few years as customer expectations have increased our restaurant partners have been using the Orderpad to complete more tasks. To ensure the device continues to be user-friendly, we decided it was time for a redesign.

This article is written by a UX designer (Pete) and a UI designer (Tim) at Just Eat. We recently redesigned Orderpad, the Just Eat restaurant app. We’re going to give you an insight into the design process and design challenges. You’ll also see how the two disciplines of UX and UI work closely together to design great experiences for our restaurant partners.

The first thing we did was group all the opportunities for improvement identified in research into themes that we could prioritise and then tackle iteratively. We reframed those problems into the following “How might we…” statements:

How might we help them focus on orders being prepared whilst still making it easy to see new orders, orders being delivered and completed orders?

How might we inform partners that there are multiple new orders at once and let them process them whilst they are doing another task?

How might we give partners access to their most urgent tasks quickly whilst still allowing them to deal with orders?

To enable us to understand how ready we were to start tackling these opportunities, we got the team together to assess the level of uncertainty for each one. We could then take each of these design challenges and move into design sprints, focusing on either discovery or validation.

At Just Eat we use a flexible two-week design framework, adapting the sprints to what we’re trying to achieve:

Image showing the three different design sprints at Just Eat, discovery, validation and delivery sprint
Image showing the three different design sprints at Just Eat, discovery, validation and delivery sprint

The first problem we tackled was around the restaurant workflow. So our first sprint focused on discovery to help us fully understand restaurants’ mental model of how an order moves through a restaurant, from accepting the order to delivering the food to the customer.

Once we had a full picture of the restaurant workflow and a prioritised list of problems, we were ready to start design validation sprints. We iteratively researched and validated our way towards a new, simpler Orderpad, speaking to over 70 restaurants in the process. Let’s look at three of the key areas we improved to make the experience effortless, focused and more human.

1. Effortless to accept orders

New orders are critical to restaurants, it’s the thing they care about the most and interact with the most frequently. To understand the hierarchy of this important component, we got restaurants to prioritise the information at each stage of the order, from receiving an order to delivering it, so we could focus on the key information they need at each point.

Once we had a clear understanding of what restaurants wanted to know about a new order, we were able to start piecing these bits of information together. Location is essential for restaurants (in the UK this means using postcodes, in our other markets this means using different parts of the address) so they know where they need to deliver the order, so that takes the primary spot.

Restaurants also need to be able to easily adjust the delivery time, but we only want them to do it when necessary, so we placed the time control in the initial view instead of having it as a separate step in the acceptance process. This change was informed by the results of an experiment where we tested different approaches to displaying the time control. We found that by making it a deliberate choice to add time, rather than just another equally weighted option, the number of orders where restaurants adjust added delivery times decreased.

A screenshot of the Just Eat restaurant app, showing the final design of the new order component
A screenshot of the Just Eat restaurant app, showing the final design of the new order component

In our final version, the priority is clearly on the accept button. Through research we learned that around half of all restaurants accept orders immediately and then check the details on the receipt, so we needed to accommodate that behaviour as well making it easy for the restaurants that want to check the details on-screen before pressing the accept button.

Since going live we’ve seen, on average, a five second reduction in the time it takes for restaurants to accept new orders, saving our busiest restaurants around 30 minutes every evening. As well as saving restaurants time, customers get a better experience by receiving confirmation of their order sooner.

2. A focused view

Another key challenge was how to organise orders to match the restaurant’s priority and make it efficient to find and manage orders. The focus for restaurants was on the orders in the preparing stage, where they’re trying to manage all the orders they need to cook and get ready for the driver to pick up. Once an order was out for delivery they were less likely to need to look at it, and when the order was delivered they’d only look if a customer had a problem.

We split the orders into tabs mirroring the stages the order goes through, with the focus on preparing orders while making the other stages accessible with only one tap. Doing this meant the orders at the top of the list would be the next ones they needed to press the “On its way” button for, removing the need to scroll down the screen to look for them. It also made it easier to see at a glance how they were tracking and if any orders were at risk of being late.

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In our final version the tabs focus on the essential information, a simple order count and the tab label. The darker orange background creates a really clear contrast between the tab that’s selected and those that aren’t, and helps to reinforce the Just Eat Takeaway brand.

Due to this clearer view of orders, one that mirrors the restaurant’s priorities, we’ve seen a 28% increase in restaurants telling customers their food is on the way. We know this is really important to customers. Knowing when their food is on its way keeps them better informed and improves user experience. And we know from research that the better a customer’s experience is, the more likely they are to return, which means more orders for our restaurants!

3. A human experience

It’s important that using Orderpad is a human experience. Despite it being one of many appliances in a restaurant, it needs to account for how the person using it might feel. A good example of this is the cancelled order screen. Order cancellations are frustrating but it’s important to let the restaurant know as soon as possible.

A screenshot of the Just Eat Orderpad app, showing the final design of the customer cancelled order component
A screenshot of the Just Eat Orderpad app, showing the final design of the customer cancelled order component

In our final version we used the pastel red in the background to support the cancellation message and illustration, it indicates urgency but isn’t screaming at the restaurant. We made a point of highlighting the current stage the order is in, so that they can stop a chef from cooking as soon as possible. And finally we used a high contrast primary button, to provide an obvious way for the restaurant to acknowledge and clear the message.

Another essential aspect in creating a more human experience was the use of language. We worked very closely with our UX copywriters to ensure that copy struck the right balance between functional and emotional.

The previous version of Orderpad took a very straight-forward approach to copy. While retaining the simplicity of the on-screen text was essential (restaurant staff don’t have the time or inclination to read long tracts of text), our writers worked hard to introduce a more human, empathetic tone of voice that helped us build a better emotional connection with restaurants.

Outcomes

We’ve now been through an MVP, a pilot and a full rollout of the new Orderpad. We’ve learned a lot along the way, including a few surprises where things that tested really well in the labs caused issues when used in a real restaurant environment.

We’ve been getting great feedback from restaurants that appreciate how it’s now quicker to accept an order, easier to see how late an order is, and easier to understand where an order is.

“This is a way better system, much more modernised, updated, really good (…) User friendly, you don’t need training!”

A quote from one of our restaurant partners

We’ve also positively impacted the key metrics we targeted, including:

  • Increase in restaurants telling customers their food is on the way
  • A significant decrease in time to accept an order
  • Decrease in orders with time added to them
  • Decrease in rejected and cancelled orders

This simplified experience is something we can now easily build on in the future. And most importantly of all, we’re saving our restaurant partners valuable time and making their jobs easier.

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Just Eat Design

Design at Just Eat

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