BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
BJ’s Brewhouse wanted to break away from the pack and produce a unique, best in class online-ordering experience.
Growing west-cost restaurant chain BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse had out grown its pre-packaged solution and needed a responsive, custom platform to increase their conversions from both online orders and loyalty program sign-ups. While the platform had to be solid, it also had to be unique.
I was the researcher and architect. A large amount of time had been set aside for research and the client had high expectations. I read dozens of articles and papers on existing ordering sites and customer experience in general to prepare for upcoming tasks.
To create something new we, first needed to understand the old. An in depth research project began and the first step was a competitive analysis was performed on 10 restaurants with online ordering capabilities.
From those ten the top three were selected and the work flows were mapped out. I used a shorthand I had discovered to map out the interactions. It was my first time using this method. It was so successful and I still use it to this day. Once all the sites were mapped out. I took the time and using Lucid Chart mapped them out electronically.
To further illustrate our findings and promote buy-in from the client, journey maps were created. These journey maps illustrated the challenges and benefits of each system we reviewed. We discussed each and decided on the best options and viewed the challenges as pitfalls to avoid.
Taking the findings from the user flows and journey maps we created what we called the optimal experience. Taking the best parts of each and combining them while removing the challenges. Or as Bing Crosby would say, “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”.
I still had questions even after the user flows and journeys and with the research time nearly exhausted I was looking for inspiration. I had the menu in hand and read it from cover to cover. I noticed a lot of gaps in the information presented. Believing the menu is not a new thing, it has to have been thought through, so why all the gaps? Then it hit me, and I picked up the phone and called the closest location and asked to speak with a server. After explaining who I was and my endeavor the server was glad to answer my questions. The menu’s rely on the servers to fill in the gaps. After the interview I finally felt like I had all the pieces to the puzzle.
As we began working on our mobile first design we created what we called makeshift personas and attached them to the white board. These were images found on the internet that fit the marketing demographics. While we began to whiteboard the experience it allowed us to ask, “how would this person react to this interaction?”
After several rounds of white-boarding we finally felt ready to move into Axure. I continued the mobile first experience and took it a step further to create a fully function prototype. The prototype passed variables to emulate both the guest and logged-in experience.
The effort resulted in an intuitive, fully responsive web application with a reconfigured menu flow that simplified ordering, and improved the checkout process.
The new application was rolled out to 12 pilot restaurants so we could test, learn, and improve the application before rolling it out to all their locations. The platform made an immediate impact and significantly increased conversions and loyalty program sign-ups. The program is now available for all locations and continues to be successful.