In interviewing servers and diners about settling the bill, several patterns emerged:
- One person usually takes responsibility for figuring out who pays what
- It is not uncommon for a member of the party to 'go out for a smoke' and not return
- It is not uncommon to come up short ...
- ... Or for people to contribute in excess of what they owe.
- And almost all respondents attributed the problem of under- and overpaying to an inability to properly calculate each diner's share of the tax and tip.
What makes figuring out the tip so challenging?
- Doing math is difficult for some people*.
- Talking about money is uncomfortable for some people.
- Doing the math to talk about money is difficult AND uncomfortable for many people.
And the math is a little complicated:
- Servers will typically write the subtotal when the quantity is greater than one. The line item for three Cokes® @ $2.00 each will appear as "3 Cokes $6.00." It's up to the diners to figure out who ordered each one.
- This becomes even more complicated when members of the party share dishes or a bottle of wine
- Diners then need to figure out their share of both the tax (if applicable) and the tip
Upon receiving the check, diners typically start the reconciliation by asking, "Who had what?" and fudging the rest. But it becomes problematic to hold each of those subtotals in wetware memory, calculate each person's share of the tax and tip, and then collect and apply each person's share if they are contributing by any means other than cash (as is increasingly the case).
The solution was to eliminate as much of the math from the process as possible. The only numbers that user should have to enter would be from the bill, in the same way that they are presented; i.e., without attempting any calculation.
Persona & Problem Statement
Kara enjoys going out for a spontaneous brunch, lunch or drinks with a revolving cast of friends.
Fiercely loyal, she makes it her business to see that everyone is taken care of. But she's not a left-brain person, especially after a couple of mimosas.
How can we provide Kara with an easy way to figure out everyone's fair share of the bill and leave an appropriate tip?
After a lively lunch with her girlfriends, the server presents Kara with the check.
She's been snapping selfies (and sipping Champagne) all afternoon, and now opens the app. She likes the simple three-step directions: Bill - Tip - Match
Yay! No math!
OK, here goes ...
- Kara enters the bill (less the tax) and then the tax into the app, and clicks "Add Tax". She's satisfied that the app and the bill agree on the total (before tip)
- She clicks "Add Tip" to go to the next screen. She tells the group the total asks them how much they want to leave.
- She clicks "Add Diners" to advance and enters the names of the usual suspects.
- She clicks "Match Orders" to go to the next screen. She matches who had (and shared) what and enters the item quantity and price from the bill.
The app keeps a running total so she can see when the contributions match the total (plus tip). Now all she has to do is hand the cash, credit cards and phone to the server and they're done!