Foodous: An interactive café that delivers on education and magic


Eating should be a wholesome experience. However, many of us, especially children, are disconnected from the origins of our food. Understanding where our food comes from enables us to be more mindful and conscious of maintaining a healthy natural environment.

When visiting a new, automated technology restaurant, the sterility of the atmosphere stood out. In this restaurant, technology was further disconnecting us from our food. Since children are especially unaware (even of where their vegetables are grown), an opportunity to use technology as an educational experience while eating out was uncovered.

Foodous is a concept for a technology enhanced cafe, where children and their parents can eat well and learn about where food comes from at at the same time. 

key skills
service design, UI, ideation, research, prototyping, usability

Sketch, Principle, Illustrator, Soldering

Chris Risdon

Piril Akay
Shreya Saraf
Soojin Shim

4 weeks


research + introducing the concept



Design Objective:

To create an educational and interactive cafe for kids to learn about the origins of their food.



Secondary research to key insights

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insight 2.png
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An Overview of the Concept

See storyboard enlarged.


the full design process


Service Blueprint

A service blueprint was created to identify the physical touch points, define what the users would interact with, and what components were "behind-the-scenes."



Starting Small with Origami

Building our model on this small scale, enabled us to move the parts around figure out ideal layouts.

Since this project is aimed for children, we measured the placement of the screens based on the average height of an elementary school child in the US.



Initial Wireframe Sketches

*These designs are for the screen that users order from in the restaurant.*

I wanted a concept that was both parent and kid friendly, focused on playful illustrations, and that created an intuitive customer experience.



Usability Testing

Challenges + Changes:

  • How to facilitate multiple meal payments at once (since wands individually store the orders)?
    • parents feel more comfortable doing this step at the front of the experience.
  • Parents were uncomfortable letting their kids pick the additional bowl ingredients
    • because they were worried they would end up paying more (and for something the kids likely wouldn't finish).
  • We changed the design to have 2 options: vegetarian and omnivore bowl, each with a set price.
    • Parents made this selection right at the beginning, so they felt more comfortable with their kids making autonomous choices after this.


Digitized Designs 

UI Design Decisions
Using a subtle background color, the emphasis was on the brightly colored illustrations. Giving slight texture to the illustrations gave them a more rustic, wholesome appeal. The reddish coral hue spoke to igniting the appetite, and the dark blue reflected a sense of familiarity and loyalty. 


Step 1: First screen customers interact with when arriving at Foodous


Step 2: Customers pick their ingredients


Step 3: Payment and order number for pick-up


Slideshow of the screens



Prototyping the Physical Build + Space

The low screens are designed for the kids; the higher screens for the parents to interact with.
We imagined the actual space having living gardens on the each panel.

We had to use "Wizard of Oz" to showcase how this concept would work.



The Wand

An Arduino, color changing (concept) wand was made. The idea is that customers will make their selections using the wand; the wand would then store the data of each selection and used for check-out. 


notes for future iterations


Key Takeaways

  1. Parents don’t want to give their child too many choices  for fear of holding up the line.
  2. Parents are happy to let their kids make their own choices if they know they aren’t going to have to pay any extra for more choices
  3. Parents don’t want to have to worry about moving their kids and whatever else they may be holding (like lots of kids bags/strollers) so being able to do all the ordering in one place is easier.
  4. The wand needs to be re-thought. While it's a fun element, it would undoubtedly cause disappointment for the child when they have to give it back. It would be unsustainable both for the business and environment to have plastic wands for every customer too.
  5. Consider exploring a system with multiple kiosks instead of a walking to benefit parents. The conceptual kiosk could accommodate two screens (one for the parent and one for the kid) allowing parents to control and limit the order placed by their kids. The system could be beneficiary for the business model plan as it enables more customers to interact and place an order.