EatLocal - Sharing Economy for Foodies

Presenting local cuisine as a full food experience for everyone

CLIENT University/Personal project

DURATION 2 months

CONTRIBUTION Project in a group of 2. Case study parts done by me

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ”ง What I saw as a need?

How expats (long term foreign residents) manage their cravings for home country or the host country's cuisines?

๐Ÿฅ… Goals

To identify the need for a dedicated platform for cuisine experiences and be able to organize a real meetup.

๐Ÿค  Outcomes

As part of assessing product market fit, I was able to organize a cuisine experience meetup with three people.
Outcome 1

Modified the idea via Bites 'n' Boxes to allow people to test pre-prepared recipes by themselves
Outcome 2

๐Ÿ”ฌ User Research

In an early iteration, I did a survey where I asked leading questions. This did not provide a good outcome.


Rectifying it, I opted for in-depth interviews as the method of choice. It could uncover the needs which I couldn't see.

Recruiting Participants

There was two user groups. Expats and chefs. A single person could in fact be both an expat or a chef on the platform. Though, chefs could also be the local people. The location was Sweden.

  • Expats: This was slightly easy. I recruited 5 of my friends from university.
  • Chefs: Recruiting a professional chef was difficult. I was able to get one professional chef for the interview. It was relatively easy to get expats as chefs. I connected with 4 of them in my network from a similar startup Eatuniq where we had freelanced as chefs together.

Interview channel: Over phone call or zoom

Interview Format

I conducted semi-structured interviews. The below questions were used for initiating the talk and then probing further as the answers came along.

Questions for expats:

  • How do you currently satisfy your cravings for home country or local country's cuisine?
  • How did you come to know about these channels?
  • What are the problems that you have faced with the existing methods?

Thematic analysis for expats:

Varying levels of cravings. From once or twice a month to once in a few months.

Restaurants, home parties with friends or self cooking from YouTube were the main avenues to find cuisines.

When at a friend's home, it was difficult for them to account for every allergies or special needs.

Used Google, friend's recommendations, facebook food groups or online delivery apps like Karma to order dishes.

Had to cook everything themselves. Manual organization over calls. Many people do not show up or are very late.

Cuisine in restaurants is not the same as back home.

Questions for chefs:

  • Why do you want to host cuisine experiences for people?
  • How do you find customers (tools used) for providing your cuisine services to people who look for local home made cuisine?
  • What are the factors that are important for you in choosing a customer for providing your chef services?
  • Based on the answer above, can you please recall what worked and did not work during the process of finding the customers and hosting the cuisine experience?
  • Can you please recall instance(s) or things that have been important in increasing your customer base and your brand reach?

Thematic analysis for chefs:

Motivations to host cuisines experiences were to earn extra income, to build a brand and share their culture.

Acceptable kitchen with water and electricity was a big factor in choosing a customer.

Would like an opportunity to host at their own place. Changing kitchens at different customers affect the efficiency.

Found customers via friends, referrals, online communities or booking communities.

Agreements about time, number of guests, price and place is important. At times, these were respected.

Professional approach and talking stories behind the cuisine culture had helped increase their customer base.

๐Ÿง Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis allowed me to understand what others are already doing and lacking.

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ Personas

I know. Personas can be a hit or miss. It is a miss when it is guesswork and not based on the qualitative research. Taking cues from the interviews, I arrived at the following:

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽ“ Information Architecture

Now, the information flow for the platform was getting clear. I could design a cuisine experience in two contrasting ways:

  • A curated list of cuisine experiences and chefs for the customers to choose from.
  • A blind cuisine experience with other expats and the host chef. (Element of unpredictability from Gamification principles)
๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Business Model

Business model: Can be separated into 2 parts.

Customers: Free for people to use the platform. A part (5%) of the transaction amount goes to the platform. People can opt for a premium version of the platform to get upto 30 bookings a month for a fixed price (save 20%)

Chefs: Free for chefs to use the platform. A part (5%) of the transaction amount goes to the platform. Chefs can opt for a premium version of the platform to get full analytics, recommendations on their business. Could have certain chefs as 'featured' but I think it is unethical.

MVP: My friend and I convinced some friends of this idea and we were able to set up a real event at my home. The friends also paid for the event.

โœจ Older Designs
Old Designs
๐Ÿงช Usability Test of Old Designs that led to iteration

My colleague and I prototyped and created a video of the old design. It was tested with 5 participants.

Security concerns regarding the quality of food ingredients

Additional information about the dishes. For example, tags about โ€œvegetarianโ€, and allergens like โ€œpeanutโ€

There was confusion as to what was the difference between local cooks and pro chefs.

An idea emerged if chefs would be interested to find people for testing new recipes.

โœจ New iteration: Paper Sketches

Few key decisions:

  • Home Page: Search for the experienced customers. A "how it works" section for new customers. People can see the experiences for the given week. Cravings happen suddenly and participants in the interviews were not book for cravings weeks or months in advance. This restriction also taps into the principle of gamification.
  • Preferences: Upon coming to the landing page, people would be asked about their dietary preferences so the curation list is personalized. It can be changed later on from "Specify your preferences". Registered users can put these settings in the profile and they do not get asked about preferences in a pop up.
  • Booking Page: Standard information about the event such as the host, how to reach the venue etc.
  • Blind Experiences: This stems from the desire of chefs to experiment with new recipes. Blind experiences matches people with food experiences randomly for the times they selected during a week. It taps into the unpredictability and curiosity gamification principle.
Homepage Part-1 (Searching, How it works)
Homepage Part-2 (The curated experiences, Testimonials)
Reserve food experience
Blind experiences
๐ŸŒˆ Hi-Fi Designs - Customers
Search and curated lists of cuisine experiences
Preferences about diet and allergies
Reserving an experience/event and its information
Blind experiences
๐Ÿ“ฑ Mobile Design - Customer

I will be adding this section soon...

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ Chef

Any person can also register as a chef to provide their services. A chef can manage their offerings, schedule and, view statistics on how their business had performed. Currently, I am working on the chef section and have a two sketches. I will add more sketches and the final designs soon...


What's there:

  • Weekly view of the bookings for regular food experiences or blind experiences.
  • I can keep the interface simple because experiences are shown for only one week at a time.
Catalogue of food experiences

What's there:

  • Catalogue of all the food experiences.
  • The chef can repeat the same schedule every week or change it.
๐Ÿง Style Guide

It is not a full design system. Though, it contains the foundations such as color system, typography, icons and their usage guidelines. I need to update the components for the new iteration.

๐Ÿ”ฎ Work for the Future

Need to finish the mobile design for customer platform.

Complete the chef section and actionable analytics for their business.

Usability testing of the new iteration.

Later on, a friend and I started to work on the concept of providing a cuisine box with the exact amount of spices and ingredients. The customers could follow the recipe and test a local cuisine for themselves. We have named it Bites 'n Boxes and did get some interest in orders even though it is a Facebook page at the moment.

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