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Creator is a hamburger restaurant startup that is centered around 2 extremely beautiful and complex robots that make hamburgers.

I was tasked with creating software that staff would use to manage the restaurant during service, and creating process and systems to create the foundation for a growing product and team.

This involved a suite of apps including:

  • Restaurant Manager (mobile)
  • Guest App Updates (mobile)
  • Robot Operations (Apple Watch)
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The creator restaurant, Folsom St. San Francisco.

Intro

RESTAURANT MANAGER APP

I needed to go and feel the Creator restaurant experience for myself - and understand how the data from a robotic-powered restaurant can create unique dining experiences. Some questions I asked myself were, how that data can be used to design the most efficient food service operation for guests and staff. What software do we need? How do we support a growing product team? How do we plan for 100 restaurants?

Initial Research

To understand the restaurant its necessary to be in the restaurant, watch service, take notes, and ask questions. I created a process of observing and questioning staff repeatedly during the research phase for each feature. I regularly interviewed the restaurant manager, restaurant staff, product teams, and stakeholders to get their feedback and input.

It was also essential to create a process to document and share the information learned from this research. 

Research observations - Observe staff, managers, and guest in a real-time restaurant service. Interview them with questions from my observations.

THE USER

What are the different jobs in the restaurant? What info do they need to excel at those jobs? We have a Manager, Burger Runner, Bartender, Order Assembler, and Fry cook. Each of these jobs requires unique information and experience to achieve success.

First, I take each of our user types and dive deeper. What specific tasks are necessary for each, how do they interact with their environment, the robots, the guests, other staff, etc?

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Research artifact - understanding different staff user needs.

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Research artifact - decision tree for all order types.

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Research observations - observing the fry cook in action.

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Research observations - observe staff setting up restaurant for service.

PROTOTYPE AND TEST

The information we gathered during observations and interviews allowed me to form some conclusions about the staff and their tasks. Using this information, I created an initial design and created a prototype that would enable us to do user testing and get feedback. This process was repeated for each user and each major task.

A prototype of the Liver Burger Tracker view. Allowing staff to address issues on the robot.

The Design

The physical space and timing of orders turned out to be the most significant factors in creating an order management system. This information, combined with our user information allowed me to create detailed wireframes to validate our UX thinking further.

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Wireframing and simple click-through prototyping in Sketch.

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The Live-Tracker view allowed staff to address robot issues very quickly.

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Staff manage orders as they come through.

Design Handoff

The importance of a clean handoff to engineering teams and a good working relationship cannot be overstated. One of my goals at creator was to create the process for their team to grow and set the foundation for their creative team's process.

I used FramerX to generate live components, create prototypes with these components and handoff React components with exact CSS and animations defined.

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Screenshot of FramerX and the button component screen. All components are live, clickable components for easy prototyping and handoff to engineering.

Project Conclusions

The research that was done and the data provided by the robots allowed us to do things that o other food service apps have attempted. We, therefore, applied for a design patent.

Measuring refires and other guest issues, we were able to see restaurant operations improve drastically as we added new features for staff, freeing them up to help guests and create a better restaurant experience.

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