Grabbed Coffee w/ 5 Users and These Are The Lessons Learned

at San Chez Bistro

What are your dine out “habits”? (when, where do you go, how do you decide, etc.)  What’s your attitude toward new restaurants and toward getting deals? Where do you find ’em?

How does giving back fit into your life?  Would you say you give back enough?

We wanted to reveal a couple recommendations a “User Researcher” from UofM named Mo Kerwin gave to us.  She hung out with 5 individuals who’d used our old app and captured their thoughts, feelings, and emotions around FoodCircles, dining out, and helping others.


Recommendation 1:

Folks think the concept is a win-win: “we eat anyway!”
But the reality needs to live up the idea.

“I found FoodCircles to be a “no-brainer” among the users that I spent time with.  But most of them commented that the site and app experience just wasn’t seamless.  The users that had the worst experience trying to figure the voucher system out (or the restaurant gave them a hard time in redeeming), they didn’t use it again.  So put your central function first, check for kinks, and catch up with your restaurants.

And for the restaurant side, ask them to consider promoting “Buy One, Feed One” more in-house, so they can drive return visits from customers dining in.”


Recommendation 2:

Focus on dinner.

Don’t try and be everything to everyone.  Four of five users I hung out with said lunch was something they did quick or brought from home, and the fifth said she ate lunch alone.  The only meal they commonly ate out for was dinner.  So, investigate your interest in trying to have the lunch crowd or company co-workers use your app.”


Rec. 3:

Email is paramount.

“Four of the five users mostly learn about you and the “Buy One, Feed One” deals you offer through email.  That’s where they expect to hear you through.  Two of them didn’t think they had even been to your site before.  So take email very seriously.

Make sure you show other offers and all available “BOFO” restaurants in every email, not just the “flavor of the week”.  Consider push notifications on mobile – your users need “BOFO” to come to them!”


Rec. 4:

It’s better with friends.

“All of your users stated going out for dinner was something to do in pairs or groups.  Likewise, they referred to giving back as a social activity (something to do with others).  Keep offering incentives for coming in with larger groups.  Promote and perfect projects like “The Social Butterflies”” (stay tuned on that one 😉 ).


Rec. 5:

Folks are curious as to what’s “behind the scenes”.

“How are you feeding children on a weekly, monthly, etc. basis?  Three of five of the users all wondered out loud how you (FoodCircles) function as a business.  What’s the incentive for the restaurants?  Where does money come and go?

You’ve got to create a stupid simple, crystal clear diagram, with specific, details information for those who want to know ‘How It Works'”.

editor’s note: Point taken. Here’s our first crack. What do you think? We hope it explains what you get, what a hunger nonprofit gets, and how a restaurant benefits from you walking in..

BOFO diagram

Believe us, we’ve taken this feedback to heart.  We say that accountable to you readers.  If you’re reading this, and you spot a clear violation of any of these recommendations in our new site and app, we will send you a $25 gift card to a restaurant of choice or 1 hour of free startup consulting, no questions asked.

We were thrilled to hear the enthusiasm the five users still have for BOFO, but we know we have a lot of things to hit on, to make feeding children through dinner simple, transparent, and powerful.  We’re stoked to show you the changes in the coming week or two.

Mo’s next move is an indefinitely long project in Poland! If you need UX testing advice, you can look her up via


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