As a member of the restaurant ordering department of NCR, I was approached to integrate a solution into our mobile ordering application that would allow a restaurant to accept curbside pickup as an ordering method. The solution would need to try and take advantage of different technologies and inhouse systems that we also provide to the restaurants. However, I was limited in adding this feature to make it fit into the current UI with as little development work/time as possible and they wanted to launch it immediately.
Since I was running point on this as the solo UX Designer, I would need to coordinate with different product owners, a mobile developer lead, our customer (restaurant), the customer’s sales representative and my UX lead. I would also need to research factors of curbside pickup, create wireframes and workflows then get feedback from everyone to determine what is possible and what would need to happen down the road.
In starting this research, I wanted to focus on restaurants that were more like an Applebee’s and not a fast food restaurant. The reason for this was to try and factor in things like wait times and busy hours. With fast food restaurants, their curbside would work pretty much like a drive-thru, so I wanted to try and encounter pain points and details that fast food may miss. With this project, I really didn’t have the opportunity to seek out restaurants that had curbside service to interview, so I used Yelp and looked for restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s and Applebee’s then did a keyword search for curbside in the reviews to see what customers were saying. Also, I would look at their sites and apps to see how and when they would use/show the curbside options and information.
Restaurant (Customer) Interview
In building this solution, I initially had access to two NCR customers, Root’s Pizza in Chicago and Crisp & Green in Minneapolis. However, I was only allowed to interview Root’s Pizza because of business reasons. Before interviewing them, Root’s submitted their ideal flow of using GPS technologies in the curbside process.
Figuring This Out
In comparing my notes on how competitors curbside works, the complaints from the Yelp customers, Root’s Pizza feedback, looking at Root’s Pizza and Crisp & Green’s location using google maps and how NCR’s systems work in restaurants and how they could work with the app, I figured I would need to come up with two possible solutions. One solution is to get this developed as soon as possible and the other as what I felt would be the best for our customers.
My main problem in working out a solution was how to check-in with the restaurant, so they know the user was there for their grub. In both situations the restaurants, there isn’t designated parking spots for pickup and because of their location in the city, they will not be able to have one. Also, since the restaurants cannot have staff actively monitoring the streets, they need to be able to get parking information from the user. Also, because of various factors, GPS or beacons to monitor when the user arrived was not a option at this time.
Building the Wireframes
In building the wireframes, I used the existing UI to place how the flow for curbside would work. The first solution was a flow that would allow the user to click a button to call into the restaurant in the app. This lets the restaurant to know the customer is ready and the customer can tell them where they are parked. While I found calling into the restaurant is a pain point for everyone involved, to get this out as soon as possible this is the best solution.
The second solution (not shown) was to add a check-in button with a text entry field. This would notify the restaurant the user was ready and give parking information through the restaurant’s food ordering ticketing system.
Review and Roadmap
After reviewing this with the team, it was determined to shelf for now. First, they wanted to avoid calling into the restaurant. Next, do to the check-in flow, development determined that it would take about a year to get into the team and code it out. While the Product team really wanted to focus on something that would function with beacons or GPS, it wasn’t in scope because it would require the restaurants to buy more equipment and they can’t place beacons in areas they don’t own.
However, a month after this was shelved and the need for curbside pickup with the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions. The team took the phone in workflow to develop for their customers immediately.