Jack Irwin
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8 Mile Pizza

January 17 - April 19, 2024

UX Researcher  

5 Members

8 Mile Pizza
Improving the in-store pickup experience


8-Mile is an artisan Detroit style pizza restaurant located in the Yorkville area. They cater to a diverse demographic of pizza enthusiasts who value quality, customization and convenience.

The objective of this school project was to understand the current service delivery model and find opportunities for improvement.


Customers experiencing longer than expected wait time upon arrival at the restaurant.


Prototype service solutions which improve staff awareness of customers entering the store.



During the discovery stage of the design process, our team conducted extensive research. We began with a high-level competitor analysis, followed by an audit of social media and online customer reviews. We also performed a mystery shopper experience to gather addition information prior to the site visit to reveal any potential concern which may not have been revealed in the initial desk research.

Our Site audit consisted primarily of observing front and back of house operations through notes and images. We also spoke with the GM of the restaurant to gather deeper understanding of the processes and potential pain points that customer could be facing with the current service delivery model. Following the audit we began drafting the service blueprint and coupling the touchpoint inventory.


Persona & Journey Map

The proto persona and journey map highlights a potential customer and their order pickup experience from initial awareness to pizza consumption. Informed by our desk research and site audit, the journey map highlights the highs and lows of the experience with supporting images of customer touch points taken during one of our mystery shopper visits.

As-is Service Model

The main issues present in 8Mile current service model of instore pick up orders arise during the arrival phase of the journey. Trouble finding parking, lack of wheel chair accessibility and missing attention from staff upon entering the store, were all potential points of contention for customers.

We also observed that cooking staff had many responsibilities, including ones which required them to move into a front of house position. This included active exposer, like taking customer orders when cashiers weren’t present, or indirect exposure, like bring ingredients from the basement to replenish them throughout service.


Service Prototyping

A major problem that was found with the business was the store’s lack of attention to customers arriving at the restaurant. Even though most walk-ins are UberEats drivers, there are still customers who order for pickup online, and walk in to get their orders. The delay in service is most noticeable when the store is being run without the help of a dedicated cashier.

The solution was chosen based on the results of a decision matrix which was conducted following the development of multiple potential solutions. The matrix compared cost, time and impact on employees and customers. Installation of door sensors and chimes would be relatively quick and low cost. Increased awareness of people entering the store would allow staff to make more informed decisions and remove uncertainty about customers’ presence in the store. This is especially important for cooks responsible for fulfilling front and back of house positions. Customers would benefit from improved response times from staff and a reduction in wait time for receiving orders.

    8 Mile cooks are responsible for working front and back of house when cashiers are not currently available. Ensuring a consistent in-store experience and reducing uncertainty in the minds of customers during arrival, will meet the expectations set at other stages of the service delivery. The following scenarios depict the current problem and how the proposed solution can improve the service experience.

    Full Document ->


    Asperational Service Model

    Individually, we were tasked with developing an alternative soloution to the one developed as a group. Using the same problem tree I explored the branch involving the obstructed line of sight as the reason for longer than expected wait times upon arrival.

    Proposed solution: Remove wall separating kitchen and front counter area


    • Cooks have clear line of sight to the front counter and dining area allowing them to see customers entering the store.

    • Completed pizza orders can be places on table without the need to walk through and around the doorway. 
    • Easier communication between kitchen and counter area
    • Removing wall would allow for front counter to be moved back. This would result in more space at the front of the store which could be used for additional seating (A common customer complaint) or more standing space around the entrance.

    Removing the wall separating the kitchen and front counter area will bring the cooks fully into a front of house position during service. This change primarily aims to make it easier for staff in the kitchen to locate customers arriving at the store so that they can attend to them without friction.

    Before: Staff in the kitchen cannot easily see customers entering store due to lack of signaling and line of sight issues

    After: Improved line of sight from kitchen to front counter

    Impact of the solution on service:

    • Losing the wall may require reorganization of kitchen layout. Items or tools which don’t get frequent use could be moved to basement in an effort to keep the kitchen organized.

    • Cooks will still be responsible for preparing orders, packaging pizzas and placing on counter with the receipt. If a cashier is not present cooks will delegate one person to help the customer.
    • Additional effort and/or training may need to take place to ensure that kitchen remains clean and presentable during service, as it will be visible to customers

    • Reorganization of existing technology may be required to optimize the new layout.

    • 2-3 staff (1 cashier and 2 cooks) can still operate under this new solution. Customer service training will now be required for all staff as they will be expected to interact with customers.



    Only had the opportunity to speak to the GM during the site visit. Speaking with staff may have added an important perspective on their working experience. Limited access to client following the completion of the site audit meant that we didn’t have the opportunity to facilitate a co-creative environment for solution exploration.


    Solutions to service design problems need to consider the impact on the employee experience. Expectation management is vital to successful service design

    Next Steps

    Discuss solutions proposed with client and iterate based on feedback

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