Photo credits Milena Petrova

Service and partnership model redesign of a food e-commerce startup

At digital startups the development of their technology and features is often a priority. However, understanding and designing how users experience services in their daily environment, during their work and life activities, is key to ensure adoption and quality of the digital product.

We worked with Fast Menu, to translate their software solutions into a easy to use tool that support food businesses in their marketing and delivery processes.

  • We researched with business owners directly in their restaurants to shape the service around their most pressing needs.
  • We packaged different micro-services that cater to different types of food business needs, and understood how to grow the Fast Menu team to deliver.
  • We created a system to prioritize partnerships that bring key additional services to integrate on the Fast Menu platform.

Work Model
We understood operational challenges through blueprinting sessions of the software with co-founders and CFO, validating the results though on-site research.

The blueprint highlighted some clear gaps and excessively resources consuming steps on the on-boarding phase.
We decided to focus our user research on that. Since on-boarding was predominately responsibility of one co-founder, we coached and shadowed them in conducting the restaurant visits.

The research outlined two main types of client — the ‘Family Restaurants’ and the ‘Digital Foodie’ — and called to attention that:

  • Restaurateur faced technical challenges in installing the software on restaurant devices, because of different IT skills compared with the Fast Menu technicians they guided them
  • Some IT restaurant devices are either outdated or not maintained due to different priorities of hectic restaurant management
  • Some restaurateur were digital savvy, but the software is used by their employees that might not have the same familiarity with tech, in addition to have to focus on customers during busy service shifts.
  • In addition, we confirmed the insight from the blueprinting session that the on-boarding phase was too reliant on the time of a co-founders, which presented a potential blocker to scalability.
  • Starting from the existing features list, we compared them with the research findings and we developed the a new service value proposition, that was used directly in their communication to structure relationship with clients and partners.

Temporary work environment
With the a visual understanding of Fast Menu’s operations and a first hand experience of restaurateurs’ way of using the software, we wanted to create the first version of the service proposition, so that the team could start interacting with clients and shaping their work processes around that.
An important aspect of this shift was to keep the user experience as a north star, and rather than offering an overwhelming list of features to each client, start testing with group of features packaged according to clients’ personas and specific needs identified during the on-boarding process.

To articulate this effort we developed a Value Proposition Canvas. the output of which was immediately adopted in the language of the service office on Fast Menu’s website and communication.

As Fast Menu started on-boarding new clients through the redesigned protocol and team members, the delivery of more specialized sub-service packages made emerge a need to partner with external providers to offer them at scale.

We setup follow up co-creation activities to build a protocol that evaluates partnership needs. Starting from business personas of existing partners, the protocol position the types of partners across the needs of the service, and define tiers of commissions, requirements and Fast Menu resources and assets are necessary to maintain them.
The protocol provided an important guideline for new Fast Menu hires to immediately start developing B2B relationships that would directly channel in the improvement of the user experience.


  • Coaching of co-founder and CTO to conduct user research
  • On-boarding protocol for new clients through a checklist-like client interview guide
  • Team growth strategy
  • Client personas
  • Business partnership personas
  • Partnership protocol and chart


  • The blueprinting session and
    capability map were basis for the new service experience and partnership model, because they exposed how much weight certain people and tasks had. Customer insights and lean prototyping wouldn’t have fixed that.
  • At small scale is easy to loose sense of priorities end up justifying patchworks, client assumptions, unresolved tensions. Service design as a way of working is grounded, which provides balance to decisions and actions, so that you can grow consistently.

Work Design Portfolio

An emergent practice to design future work environments, curated by Studio Wé.

Work Design Portfolio

This is Studio Wé’s archive on Work Design, curated to showcase projects, methos and critical reflections to design new ways of working and happy work environments.

Antonio Cesare Iadarola

Written by

Co-design consultant | Design PhD | Narrative Environments. Notes on coworking, service design, facilitation, design education |

Work Design Portfolio

This is Studio Wé’s archive on Work Design, curated to showcase projects, methos and critical reflections to design new ways of working and happy work environments.