Product Design
Case Study: Yume Menu
An improved ordering experience for a local Japanese restaurant
Final Products: Menu Handout and Website
Yume Restaurant Handout Menu Design

Business Challenges:

  1. The restaurant only has one menu stand with limited information. Host spends time explain dishes to customers before they place an order.

  2. The restaurant's ordering process is unique. Thus, instructions are required for new customers. 

  3. The business does not have funds for marketing. 


Designer and Researcher: Ngoc X Doan

Developer: Marcus L.

Client: Sarah Brande, restaurant manager

User Experience Design Process:

1. Research - understand the users

2. Define Problem to solve and improve products

3. Ideate menu and website with hand sketches

4. Create Prototypes in InVision, InDesign, and Photoshop

5. Test Prototypes with customers

6. Re-design and re-test prototypes with customers

7. Launched paper menu

8. Website launch - in process

1. Research:

a. User Interviews: I spent 2 weeks observing and interviewing over 100 customers to understand their pain points.

b. Competitors Analysis: I researched competitors' menus and websites: locally and nationally with similar dish, scale, and dining styles.

c. Personas: I created a general users profiles based on the interviews in order to understand the customers and their habits.

d. Customers journey: I recorded customers' journey throughout their entire experience at the restaurant though observation. 

e. Customers' jobs to be done is to tell the host what they would like to order when they get to the front of the line.

yume phone mockup copy.jpg

Client's Review

"We created a new menu design together with Ngoc. Working with Ngoc was a pleasure and she guided us through the process of designing a menu that would be functional and aesthetically in line with our vision. With our new menu customers can more easily understand our concept and dishes."​

Field Notes

Restaurant's existing menu stand.

User's Pain Points:

1. Lack of information on the dishes force customers to search online or ask host to explain the menu verbally.

2. One menu stand at the front of the line does not give customers enough time to decide on what to order.

3. Customers often have to wait in long line and would like to know how long the wait would be

4. Customers often forget to bring crash to pay since it's a cash only restaurant.

2. Define Problem:

Based on user research and interviews. Users need to have access to menu easily to help them decide what they would like to eat and how to place an order.

3. Ideate Handout Menu:

I quickly hand sketched all necessary information that customers often asked host during interview. Most information was not on the menu stand.

I used my competitive research to draft a basic layout for the menu.

4. Create Prototypes in InDesign and Photoshop

I quickly drafted the menu in InDesign, printed, and tested with customers for 1 week. I continued to ideate the design based on customers' experience. I measured the success of the menu based on the average time it takes new customers to figure out their orders. Once the time was cut into half and fewers questions were asked, the team decided to finalize the menu and printed the final design. Many loyal customers were happy to learn more about what are in the dishes. It helped them made the decision easier.


5. Testing Handout Menu Solutions: 

  1. Complete menu with ingredients and allergens because customers often ask host about the dishes since they are unfamiliar with Japanese cold udon. 

  2. There are three items on the menu, the shape of the menu takes on the long shape to help customers find 3 items easily from top to bottom. It is also similar to a Japanese scroll, which is also different than other restaurants in the area.

  3. I collaborated with the manager of the restaurant in order to gather all necessary information and organized all of the pieces based on the customers' needs. Important information to customers appear bigger to help them decide such as larger images of each dish. 

  4. I spent 2 weeks to ideate and iterate new menu and window wallpaper.

  5. I used InDesign and Photoshop to create the menu and created file layers in order to quickly make edits.

  6. Bonus: I also photographed all of the dishes for the restaurant in order to have higher quality photos for customers to see the dishes with more details.

Yume Menu Final Product - front page

Yume Menu Final Product - back page

Lessons Learned:

1. There were a number of pain points that came up and the scope began to expand. However, I learned that it is important to solve one problem first in order to stay within budget and timeline. 

2. Most customers do not read the entire menu. Some customers still prefers to ask questions verbally, which is also normal.



Bonus Design

Customers often have to wait in long line before they are seated. The team decided to create large wallpaper of the food along the wall for customers to take pictures to post on social media to help pass the wait time. And who doesn't like to see giant images of food?

5. Ideate and Create Prototypes for Menu on Website:

Currently, the website does not have the menu. Customers rely on Yelp and Google reviews as their online resources.

I quickly sketched wireframes using Sketch.

low-fi mobile prototype

hi-fi mobile prototype

InVision Prototype - Desktop Version

Testing Prototype using InVision:

I spent 2 weeks testing this mobile prototype with customers.