About the project
Allergy is a three-step ecosystem designed to reduce the occurrence of human error when dining out for those with mild, moderate, or severe dietary restrictions, facilitating safe and stress-free dining experiences.
2022 Indigo Awards
(1 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze)
Problem: Miscommunications and human errors regarding dietary restrictions occur frequently in restaurants and out of home dining.
Opportunity Space: Reduce the amount of errors in communication of individual dietary restrictions, while allowing users to feel a sense of security dining out.
Children and young adults with allergies, intolerance, or dietary restrictions
Small to mid size restaurants establishments in the US
Methods: Secondary Research, Interviews, Observation Studies, Card Sorting (open and closed), Tree Test
Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room.
1 out of every 3 people suffer from some form of allergy and 31% of accidental allergen ingestion occur when eating in restaurants.
Knowing this, we reached to people with allergy, chefs, restaurants owners, and restaurant waitstaff to hear more about their insights about this topic. From the interviews, we were able to find that there were two major problems: socialization and communication.
- Eating out with dietary restrictions requires replanning to ensure they have options
- Social lives are disrupted because some restaurant are not accommodating
- Current systems take more time out of a server's finite amount
- Customer's best experience occurs when communication is clear
- Communication is not ideal, requiring improvements of the current system
(Detailed research methodology, process, insights, and user testing can be found on the process book)
After analyzing all the insights from the research, we come with a "How Might We" statement to help ideate for out concept:
How Might We
make the restaurant planning experience more informative, and increase communication between customers and staff for people with dietary restrictions?
With the current rise in allergies and food sensitivities, which has now increased by 50% with an even wider range of foods included, our team decided to proactively design for this upcoming new generation of diners. The focus was to use a system, Allergy, to record each participating user’s distinct allergies, allowing for a safe dining experience. Allergy consists of three main features: The allergy app, POS systems, and physical flag for food.
The Allergy app is a personalized way to update all of your dietary restrictions and allergies and hold them in one single, portable location. It also allows parents of children to create accounts or even have multiple accounts, to offer parents of children with dietary needs the ease of
mind to dine outside of the home.
Since our research found dining out is where the most food reactions/ emergencies occur, we designed the app to input all of the user’s restriction information into restaurant’s POS systems on a tap or simple input of a User’s unique ID number.
The POS systems would also allow for each participating restaurant to quickly scan or punch in a user’s Allergy ID and have all of their dietary restrictions accessible to kitchen staff. This allows for the kitchen to have a user’s exact allergens on their kitchen displays in an easy to read format.
The sensory cues in the interface allow for Chefs to readily identify mild, moderate and severe allergies or intolerances to specific food groups. This is to further prevent further misunderstanding or incorrect relays of information from waitstaff and allow for safely prepared food.
Once looked over the kitchen has the option to send a message to the customer that they have reviewed their allergy list or request to message them for any clarification they may need. Once verified, the kitchen will begin preparing the meal in accordance to the customer’s specific needs. Then there is the final step: the flag for safely prepared food. This serves as an extra step and visual cue to customers with food sensitivities that their food was safely prepared by the chef.