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Text Your Drink to the Bar

One of my ultimate pet peeves is when trying to order a beer at a bar. There are 3 things that makes this experience horrible:

  1. Drink orders are taken out of order, e.g. people cut people in line
  2. People are indecisive in what they want to drink when they approach the bar
  3. The exchange of payment process for the drink takes forever, especially when paying by credit card
Ordering a drink via smartphone

Ordering a drink via smartphone

Using our smart phones, what if we were able to text our drinks to the bar ahead of time in order to avoid this poor experience? With the ubiquity of smart phones, customers will now be able to text the bartender the drink they want using a drink number that’s associated with that drink (as shown in a menu, etc) along with any additional customizations for that drink, e.g. “scotch neat.”

Confirmation number for order

Confirmation number for order

Once the order has been placed, the customer’s phone receives a confirmation number along with options to order a new drink or to order the same drink again. The customer then goes to the bar and shows the bartender the confirmation number where then the bartender hands the drink over to the customer. Payment for the drink is automatically charged to the customer’s credit card that is registered with the phone.

With the collection of data comes the opportunity to display data in a meaningful way. For example, a tree map can be projected onto a wall displaying the most popular drinks that night along with their corresponding drink number. Indecisive customers now have a suggested list of drinks to refer to.

Customer shows display with confirmation number to bartender

Customer shows display with confirmation number to bartender

The suggested redesign addresses a couple of points as mentioned in our Deisgn and Service Experience class with Phi-Hong. First, this system reduces the level of cognition required by customers with the help of a data visualization guide. Secondly, a greater sense of transparency is created by building a digital queue for drink orders. Third, since all orders are digitally logged, it provides for a consistent and reliable experience. Finally, the text-for-a-drink system utilizes the “remember me” feature available on smart phones and makes reordering drinks repeatable.

Tree map visualization showing the popularity of drinks

Tree map visualization showing the popularity of drinks

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  • 27 Sep 2010

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