Enhancing Restaurant Experience

Overview

The experience of waiting for service is often the first direct interaction between the customer and the restaurant. Waiting time influences customer satisfaction and determines their perception of the restaurant. The customer will be able to dive in deeper into Japanese culture and experience through virtual reality.

An immersive experience project

2020, 3 months

User Research, Ideation, Prototyping

Problem Statement

Problem Statement

Onboarding

The journey begins by the users walking through a waterfall where they will receive a sensorial experience. Waterfall has been used as the first interaction as it is considered a sign of good luck in starting a new journey in Japanese culture. It is also believed that standing under a waterfall cleanses one’s soul spiritually

Fortune Box

The first interactable object in the user's field of view is a fortune box placed on a toro. When the user gazes at the box, a scroll animates and appears revealing users fortune to them and thus starting off their journey on a positive note

Koi Fish

When the user crosses the bridge to enter Izumi island they will notice a group of koi fish swimming in the water. When they gaze at the fish, the fish jumps out of the water giving users an ecstatic feeling as they are symbolic of perseverance and prosperity.

Traditional Japanese Instruments

When the users enter the cherry blossom circumference, they will see three musicians holding traditional Japanese musical instruments and sitting under the cherry blossom tree. When they gaze at the musician, they will hear the sound of the musical instruments which will create a sensorial experience for the users.

Cherry Blossom

The users can explore the environment and will get a chance to experience walking under the cherry blossom trees and see them bloom.

Through user testing, the depth of field and field of view of the virtual reality experience were tested. The angle of gaze and walk is between the range of 30º to 15º while the field of view where the user will interact is in the range of 130º which is the main content zone

Design Process

A double diamond design process was followed which helped in using divergent thinking to explore this issue further and then using convergent thinking to take a focused approach. The process was divided into four stages: Discover, Define, Design and Deliver.

Primary Research

Primary Research was conducted by interviewing stakeholders and observing user behaviours, habits while they are dining in different scenarios at a restaurant. Subsequently different stakeholders such as diners dining in a group, family and individually were interviewed along with other stakeholders such as servers, managers. This helped in finding insights.

When the user crosses the bridge to enter Izumi island they will notice a group of koi fish swimming in the water. When they gaze at the fish, the fish jumps out of the water giving users an ecstatic feeling as they are symbolic of perseverance and prosperity.

Users are distracted by their device
Users are distracted by their device
User interacts with objects on the table to keep themselves engaged
User interacts with objects on the table to keep themselves engaged
Bigger groups are disjointed from each other

Insights

Stakeholder Map

Stakeholder mapping was done to determine the core, direct and indirect stakeholders in the experience. The four core stakeholders determined were families, group of friends, couples and solo diners at a restaurant

Persona

Journey Map

Why Virtual Reality

-Concept of telepresence, discovery and curiosity has been used to give users the experience of being geographically in Japan

- Users need to be fully immersed in the experience and one small distraction can lead to hampering their overall experience. “Providing customers with visual distractions will create the illusions of faster wait times” (Gilmore, 2019).

- Customers are connected through social and task relations but are disjointed due to distractions. There is a gap in shared social experience within the customers. Hence our solution will be a conversation starter for the customers where they discuss how they felt in the VR experience and the activities they performed in it.

The area of focus for this experience is when the customer has just ordered their food and is waiting for their food to get prepared

Gaps

Conceptualisation

Brainstorming of ideas was done by using thread mapping approach to make connections within research, gaps and insights that were discovered during discovery and define stage. This approach was conducted at every stage of the design process keeping waiting time and customers' perception about the restaurant always in the forefront. This approach helped in ideation and the concept of interacting with Japanese culture was explored further.

Low Fidelity Prototype

A 360º model was built to understand how the user would interact with elements and surroundings in virtual reality. This also helped in determining the field of view and depth of field of the experience

Storyboard

Interaction with individual elements

Buttons with icons representing the interactive regions in the experience were designed. The user can teleport to different interaction areas with them. The design is inspired by Enso which represents beginning and end of the journey in Japanese culture

Preparation of food in a restaurant takes around 15-20 minutes. If there are 12 customers who want to enjoy the content at the same time then there should be enough time for the manger to be able to provide this experience to the customers. Hence 5 minutes of content will address this problem.

This experience is meant to be a conversation starter as the reason customers visit the restaurant is to spend time with their company. Each user will have their own unique experience which they can share with their company

High Fidelity Prototype

User Testing

Cardboard Design

Cardboard Design

Users need to be completely immersed in the experience but are restricted to their seats. For this problem there needs to be a new design for google cardboard. Three different types of designs of google cardboard were prototyped so that the user does not have to hold the cardboard in their hand while being immersed in the experience. These designs were tested to check comfort with the designs. The third design was found to be the most comfortable upon use but the form of the cardboard still needs to be worked upon.