For that perfect dining experience


Wait staff do not get feedback on their work

A restaurant is an amalgamation of hosts, food and ambience. Hosts are people like you and me. They put in hard hours of work to make that important date perfect or your birthday party fun. Like all humans, they are not perfect. A little feedback from guests can help them improve. A thank you note or good tip could light up their day and make their hardwork more rewarding. Google restaurants aims to improve the guest host relationship.

Duration - One week design sprint


What are our users trying to accomplish?

User Interviews

Interviewed 2 hosts and a manager to understand their relationship with guests. These interviews gave insights about their goals and motivation. 

Matt, host at Yats
"I try to keep everyone happy, the guests, my co-workers and my manager."

Elisha, host at Stacked Pickle
"My motivation for this job is myself. I have goals to achieve. I work hard for my tip." 

Christian, manager at City Barbeque
"I look for hosts who have a personality, are friendly and helpful." 

What I learnt from research?

Hosts are eager to improve their service and tips.
How might we create a way for guests to quickly give constructive feedback so that hosts can improve their service?

There is no way to show their good work in a previous workplace to future employers.
How might we help hosts record and present their work to potential employers so that decisions are not entirely based on references?

Managers find it difficult to assess the performance of current staff. 
How might we help the manager understand the strengths and weakness of the staff to provide appropriate training?

Introducing Google Restaurants

A service tailored for finding the perfect restaurant experience. It taps into the existing google reviews for search while providing a platform for wait staff insights. Review in 5 simple taps.

How it works?


Guest review

The NFC tag is deep linked to the "Review Activity" in android. Using the instant apps architecture, the review screen pops up on the guest phone. The guest does not need to have the app installed on the phone. 

Insights for wait staff

The data collected from the reviews will be used to craft a story for hosts about their performance. It begins with a summary of their overall performance.

Recent performance

At a quick glance, the card tells hosts if their service is improving or declining. If the hosts improved significantly recently, we prompt them user to share their story to encourage other hosts like them.

Motivate the user

If the host is falling behind on a skill, we use social comparison and goal setting to motivate them for improvement. 

Thank the guest

Once hosts reach their goal, we prompt them to send a thank you note to all the guests who gave feedback. This is way of acknowledging the effort of the guests and showing them value.

Insights for the manager

The data from the reviews also helps the manager assess the overall performance of the staff and identify weak points in their service. The manager can plan training strategies to strengthen these weak points. In the below example, the manager has to focus on improving the friendliness of the staff.

Design process

Once I have my research insights, I start off by brainstorming ideas and drawing out quick sketches of them. One of the methods I use is dividing the page into 9 blocks and coming up with 1 idea per block in 5 minutes.

Big ideas that emerged
  • Using NFC and android instant apps to post reviews
  • Using Google Now to push contextual rating cards and prompt the user
  • Using hand gestures for rating service at the counter


Why did I go with NFC?
56% of North Americans are already familiar with mobile payment. eMarketer has forecasted a growth of 210% in mobile payments for 2016. Therefore, restaurant are already securing devices with NFC chips for payment. These same devices could be used to gather rating as well. This way we do not disrupt there current workflows. 

Why android instant app?
If the user has to install an app, open it, navigate to the review screen, it is a huge barrier for entry. We try to simplify this process by making the user perform one single action, that is, tapping the phone to the NFC chip. The app autmotically opens to the review screen. Once the user is done, the app no longer persists on the phone. This way the user does not feel burdened with another app.

Other services used to create the experience ...

Restaurants already use "Google my business". We can use the same service to get data about staff and provide them with ratings.

Guests can tip the hosts using Android pay. This way tips reach the hosts quickly.

We can use Google Now cards to send contextual review cards to the guests. This is for scenarios without the NFC.

To maintain a consistent design language with Google services, we will use the material design system.

What is the value of wait staff reviews for our target users? 


App experience

I start off sketching out big ideas once again for the  product experience. For example, I sketched out the different types of insights we could provide to the host. I had to make sure these insights were actionable and motivating.


Exploring UI Patterns

I use quick wireframes to explore UI patterns. All the information architecture decisions are taken at this stage. The UI patterns also effect the mechanics of the whole experience.


Accessing insights flow

App review flow

Visual explorations

Once the information architecture and user flows are finalized in the wireframe stage, I start working on the visual design. This includes type, color, illustrations, data visualization.


Design decisions

All along the journey there were several design decisions. These were taken based on research insights, best design practices and technology constraints. Here's a few of them.

Why is tip included?

One of the goals of hosts was to increase their tips. While posting a review, the guests quickly reflect on the service. If the service was good, there are more chances of giving a good tip. This would definitely make the hosts happy.


Why food, service and ambience?

The definition of a restaurant - a place where people eat meals. They are cooked and served on premises. These 3 make up the core experience of a restaurant.


Why friendliness and helpfulness?

Based on research, while hiring, these are the 2 qualities managers look for in potential canditates. 

Next steps

The model that I designed works best for traditional restaurants. However, there are a lot of staff working in fast casual chain restaurants like Chipotle. The rating of this staff is tricky as more than one person is responsible for making and serving the order. If the system I designed might not work in such scenario. It will interesting to see how we could expand the capability of our system to address those scenarios.