The Problem With Dining Out
For business travelers, time is one of the most important things. We all know how it goes when you’re in a rush: It’s easy to use the wrong credit card, forget the company’s billing address or simply not have enough cash on hand. Not to mention the hassle of dealing with paper invoices. With services such as Uber becoming increasingly popular, it felt like a similar experience for dining was missing. Settling a bill by allowing customers to simply tap their smartphone to “check out” is getting more and more common, but somehow not yet in restaurants. Enter dine+go, which lets you focus on enjoying your meal thanks to a seamless payment process.
For this, Lufthansa AirPlus International and orderbird approached us in late 2016 to help develop a new mobile payment app for frequent diners, focussed on simplifying payment. Together with orderbird, a leading iPad POS system for the gastronomy industry, we’ve developed dine+go, the first product of our new partnership with Lufthansa AirPlus.
Now why did they come to us? Simply put: we help management teams at big companies to think and innovate like startups. YND was founded in 2014 and has grown from a Berlin-based agency to a rapidly expanding venture studio and full stack digital product hub.
AirPlus has been working on simplifying the lives of business travelers for years and as a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, it’s a leading international provider of day-to-day management of business travel. Since the company offers a wide range of products and services for business travellers, tackling the problem for frequent diners seemed like the next natural step.
While getting the perspective of both Lufthansa Airplus and orderbird, we talked to business travelers and learned a lot:
Business travelers hate to wait and don’t like dealing with the hassle of paper invoices. Since they work in big organisations with lots of bureaucracy, that means they need to collect each paper receipt, scan and send it over to the financial department and log each expense in the intranet. A long process which could use some simplifying. Dining out is a huge part of the expenses, and while it’s pretty common to get digital invoices for taxi and hotels delivered by email, people still need to deal with paper bills from the restaurants.
Based on our conceptual work (read: plenty of hours spent on analysing competitors, brainstorming and iterating on customer journey map, prototyping and lots of visits to restaurants for contextual enquiry) we outlined the concept of dine+go.
Delivering a smarter dining experience
We designed and developed two applications: the mobile app for the customer and a companion app for waitstaff. The two systems work together and are synchronised: this way a waiter is always notified when a new dine+go customer enters the restaurant, and when they check-out and pay. Our main goal for the mobile app was to make the new restaurant check-out experience feel simple, clear and secure. While the companion app had to work smoothly with the waitstaff’s current workflow to give them a good overview of what’s happening in the restaurant.
With dine+go app, a waiter will get notified once you check into a restaurant. They will recognise you from your profile picture in the app and welcome you personally. Now you can sit back, order and enjoy your meal! When you’re ready to leave, there’s no need to wait. The (pre)set tip and preconfigured payment method makes it easy to separate business from personal lunches. With just one tap, you’re set and don’t have to waste any time waiting for the bill, since you’ll get an automated invoice with the correct data on your phone.
Currently, dine+go is in the pilot phase in selected restaurants in Berlin and Frankfurt. It will soon be available in the App Store.
We are looking forward to continue our partnership with Lufthansa AirPlus by expanding the services dine+go offers in the hospitality business.