Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has provided many guests with hospitality and great food for 49 years. Throughout the years many changes occurred— from price increases, training initiatives, and even business revamps.
One process I saw great potential was the to-go meal system— which upgraded on a new process, streamlined packaging, beautiful designs and guest satisfaction. After two years, the process began to decrease and through assumption— business began to be affected.
My goal is to help improve the system and create a potential to-go App to bring in 100% guest satisfaction, and increase in sales. To accomplish this I want to learn users behaviors, find user pain points, establish user journeys and solve challenges along the process.
User Research: Surveys, Ethnography, Interviews
I interviewed several individuals— 5 Cracker Barrel employees, 2 Managers and the General Manager. With these interviews I discovered the employees pain points, user journeys and the employees thoughts on business improvements. My interviews conducted questions about their work experience, work flow, habits and outlook on the business. A survey was developed to get more data from current users who have experienced to-go orders from restaurants. With 58 responses I learned where our users were eating and behavioral factors on fast accurate service.
• 91% responded they want fast service anywhere they go.
• 54% go out to eat 1-2 times a week.
Being there in person
I wanted to see the center of the problem. I quickly learned that employees had issues on taking care of the to-go station and taking care of guests outside the dinning room.
• Lack of distinction on the monitor. Process is delayed because employees have a difficult time locating digital check
• Once food is ready. It is left on the station until a server is available
• Server needs assistance on their tables out in the dinning room causing confusion
• A ticket comes up saying guest is ready, but server is not available to send it out. When server does send food out to the guest— server has a difficult time looking for the guest (too many hands on the process)
"Cracker Barrel is very old fashion but using technology to help save time will benefit my guests and the company"
- Server Trainer, 15 years experience
With a better understanding of the users I pulled those results and represented them as Larissa and Kit. Larissa represented the busy guest that wants fast homemade food for her family after a long day at work. Her goal is get 100% accurate meals. Kit represents a college student that needs fast, good food. His goal is to get in and get out to do homework. My end goal was to provide a realistic representation of real users and establish real scenarios for the development team.
Wireframes & usability testing
By following Jeff Gothelf's approach on Lean UX I quickly moved to wireframes then low fidelity paper prototypes— this allowed me to use the POP App to quickly do usability testing on 5 individuals.
• The nutritional factors did not matter— user wants to order and get the food.
• Users do not want to know about the restaurant history on the main menu.
• Favorite feature was having a repository of previous meals to order again.
• The GPS feature was highly recommended from the users specially for traveling— they know the restaurants located on interstates.
By taking the usability test results I quickly moved to high-fidelity mockups to validate some user issues. The mockups will be placed in InVision to conduct interactive prototypes. As I was creating the mockups I had difficulties creating other touch points because of the scope of the menu. For my upcoming tasks I will provide user journeys that would help prioritize the user end goal.
Challenges and Results
With 100+ items on the menu I'm challenged to create different users flows and combinations that would need the help of a development team. As I continue on the project I've learned agile methods to help the process move from user research, wireframing and rigorous iteration with the focus on the user end goal — a hot meal for their families.