Food Scheduling and Subscriptions: Plan your meals

Anushka Jain
7 min readMay 30, 2021

Case study for Razorpay Product Design Internship Program

Last month, Razorpay released a problem set for Product Design — summer intern roles. Naturally, I was interested in participating since I had time and wanted to solve a design problem for a long time. The bonus was the internship opportunity at Razorpay!

The Problem

A lot of people depend on food delivery services for their meals. However, during open-ended research, it was revealed that many regular users feel that while there are many options for them to order from, they don't tend to have time on their hands when they want to order food.

Jobs to be done

The task was to let users pre-order their desired dish and get it delivered at a scheduled time. The job was to build a feature to schedule orders and extend it to create weekly and monthly subscriptions.

We had to choose among popular food delivery applications(Swiggy, Zomato etc.) & follow their design ideology and UI patterns. We were to ensure that the feature finds a logical place within their Information Architecture.

Strangely enough, I've never ordered food online. And due to the lockdown, I wasn't able to try it this time too!

So after just toggling with the available apps, I chose Swiggy.

My chosen app was SWIGGY because not only did it have a easy to understand interface, but also has a partner app that gave me an extra edge to think about the solution from the point of view of restaurant owners.

Overview

The schedule is a new feature I introduced to the Swiggy App to facilitate users plan their meals at their convenience. Frequency varies from daily to weekly basis as per the restaurant.

General Trivia- Swiggy launched Swiggy-scheduled in Chennai and Hyderabad a couple of years back, which isn’t active now.

Subscribe is a weekly or monthly food plan that lets you receive hassle-free scheduled deliveries at your convenience, with exciting offers.

Target audience

For both Schedule and Subscribe, the target audience varies from office emloyees, working couples and students living away from home in hostels. They are regular users of online food services.

Assumptions

While working, the first thing that struck my mind was that food delivery is not a one-way thing. It takes into account the customer as well as the chef's constraints. Therefore, both of them are equal participants in the process.

I made assumptions for Swiggy users as well as Restaurant Owners.

Research

Chat with Friends

Due to lockdown, I could not meet my friends in person, and I didn't have enough time to float a Google form, so I texted some friends random questions to gather their insights.

Some interesting insights from my friends who use online food services regularly.

Interviews of some restaurant managers and employees

Luckily, I had to go out for some unavoidable work. I thought of visiting some restaurant chains nearby and talking to their managers and staff about online food orders. Here's what I found:

Views of Restaurant managers and employees regarding scheduling and subscription services

Understanding the Swiggy Partner App

To understand the partner app, I watched the video tutorial posted on YouTube by Swiggy.

Analysis

I've summed up the problems different users face while placing food orders online and how a scheduling and subscription system might cater for their needs in these hand-made comics. (Don't mind that writing, please!)

An office employee uses the schedule feature of the app to avoid waiting during his lunchtime.
A late shift worker who doesn't want to cook for herself uses food scheduling to receive fresh and hot food when she reaches home.
A party organiser who is worried about timely food delivery uses Swiggy schedule to enjoy the day peacefully.
You can also know when currently unavailable items will be available next to you and plan your order accordingly.
Casual users taking benefits of surplus discounts on food subscriptions
Students staying away from home scheduling and subscribing to their meals

There could be more user stories and scenarios, but I was running short on time, so I accounted for these only.

Ideating, Sketching and Creating User flow.

I spent some time researching online food scheduling and food subscriptions online and drew some rough wireframes as conclusions. I was amazed how food- a perishable item- creates a vast difference from other online ordering things!

User flows

I've described the primary user flows of both features in brief here.

User flow for Scheduling
User flow for Subscription

Final Screens

I didn't have time to make low fidelity wireframes, so I jumped from pen and paper directly to the final screens.

Schedule Feature of the app:

a. How scheduling orders work on the app-

The user gets to know about the feature through the home screen.
Scheduling a delivery and placing an order
Waiting for order confirmation
Tracking successfully scheduled orders

The user can now wait for the order. Meanwhile, they can also reschedule or cancel the order without any cancellation fee until it becomes active.

There can only be one active order for the user, but more than one scheduled orders. For example, if the user schedules an order from restaurant A for 3 PM, then he wouldn’t be able to order food from any restaurant once this order becomes active. He can schedule orders for later, i.e. after 3 PM only.

b. Item unavailability and scheduling orders-

I wanted to mimic the offline restaurant experience in its online version. Whenever some food item is unavailable in a restaurant, the question that comes to my mind is, when will it be available next. If the next slot suits me, I might wait for it. If it doesn't, then I might look for alternates, and if nothing aligns with my needs, I'll leave the restaurant.

How restaurants can tackle item unavailability
Rescheduling out of stock items- If the user reschedules the order, the same procedure will follow, as explained in the section above.

Subscription Feature of the app.

Subscriptions work like a voucher, Eg: if you take a subscription for four months, thrice a month, you have three coupons each month of that meal. You can redeem it within the said month only.

You can choose your billing schedule as monthly, once in two months etc. The user is supposed to schedule the delivery by themselves for their convenience.

Subscriptions vary from restaurant to restaurant, as every restaurant has different requirements. They can feed the information about their schedule and subscription in the partner app.

a. When a user finds "Subscribe" while repeating an order:

The user repeats an order by clicking on the reorder button next to their past order in the profile section of the SWIGGY App

Subscription while reordering a meal- here, the schedule option is above the subscribe option as the current order is the user's priority right now. Therefore, a subscription is an additional choice.
Subscription with and without an active order while re-ordering a meal. The user can start this Subscription instantly, as they've already tried the meal.
Subscriptions are available in the user's profile. Once a subscription voucher is redeemed, it becomes a regular or scheduled order, as per the user's choice.

b. When a user clicks on Subscribe button:

The subscribe button is present on the Restaurant page offering this facility. There are three types of subscriptions: your past orders, custom new orders, and restaurant made subscriptions.
Subscriptions via restaurant page.

i. For new orders, it is interesting to note that the first order is a trial: since the user has never tried the food before, we can offer them a trial order to maintain quality standards. Then, if they like the food, they can continue the Subscription; if they do not like it, we can refund the subscription money back and cancel the Subscription, which ensures that the user can make an informed decision about the Subscription.

Subscriptions for new orders

ii. For repeated orders (past orders): The user can start the Subscription right then and there. They do not have to take a trial order first and then decide to subscribe. As the user has already tried the meal before, we can expect them to make an informed decision.

iii. Restaurant Subscription boxes: I thought of a third possibility, where the restaurant decides a meal for their customers, which has an arbitrary cost and is entirely planned by the restaurant- for people who liked to try assorted food items, like restaurant special thalis, sweet boxes etc. But, I didn't have enough time to make screens for this feature.

Edge Cases

  • If the user doesn't redeem the subscription coupons within the month- should it be carried on to next month and the current month cancelled. I couldn't think of a meaningful solution.
  • Differentiating between "first trials" and "repeated order but different quantity"- required a lot of thought processes and iterations. As I was running out of time, I couldn't work on this one too.

Thanks for reading.

PS- I got the Razorpay Summer internship program after two rounds of interviews!🙈🎉

Edit, 1st Feb 2022- I started working at Swiggy as a product design intern starting this January:)

I won an internal competition at Swiggy🏆

--

--

Anushka Jain

Outreachy '22, The Fedora Project | Product Design Intern @Swiggy, x-Razorpay | Undergrad at IIT Roorkee | Art Aficionado