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Simplifying splitting the check

  • New feature
  • User research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Brainstorm Facilitation
  • Native design

My role: Lead Product Designer in collaboration with Product Manager, Researcher, and Engineers.

Problem: The process of splitting a bill for a large group is cumbersome and takes a lot of time. It often can spoil an otherwise positive dining experience. It also takes a lot of time for servers to figure out who pays for what items and whether or not everything has been paid. It prevents restaurants from turning tables quicker and increasing profits.

Solution: "We’ve created an experience that allows the guest to split their bill evenly or by item themselves and save time on the back-and-forth with the waiter."

Outcome: Coming soon

More on Process More on Final Design


Splitting checks can be difficult and uncomfortable for both Servers and Guests.

We started the process by interviewing servers and guests to understand their current pain points with splitting the check:

  • Guests don’t like to spend time on figuring out how to split the bill and all the back-and-forth it requires
  • Guests can feel uncomfortable asking the server to split their check, and will sometimes use Venmo to avoid it
  • Servers feel uncomfortable asking Guests what they ordered if they haven’t assigned items to seats
  • Dealing with check mistakes creates a negative Guest dining experience

What can go wrong today?

existing splitting check pain points

"If we're able to do it ourselves and move stuff around... it would make it easier....Then we could just do the whole thing from start to end by ourselves and have it paid and done" Guest research participant

Understanding and solving for potential pitfalls

As a team, we’ve ideantified potential pitfalls:

  • Experience is unnecessarily complex and takes longer than the current process
  • Undoing incorrectly split bills is hard and takes time
  • Unclear process results in people leaving without paying
  • Lack of real time updates makes it hard to create a good group experience
brainstorm map

We've reached our goal if guests prefer our experience vs existing solutions like Venmo. Main stakeholder

Concept testing

One of our main technical limitations was the lack of real time updates. To address that limitation, we’ve created three concepts and got feedback from guests.

In the Leader concept, there is one person responsible for indicating how the bill is split and assigning items to other guests. Through research, we’ve learned that natural “table leaders” exist today. With this concept, there are less chances of items be left unassigned. But it would be pretty time-cosuming and require a lot of knowledge sharing.

The second concept was around

The third concept

The feedback on this idea was positive. Employers thought it would be helpful to have all this information if the estimated numbers were close to the actual results they would get.

Participants preferred All Together concept as it was the fastest way for all the guests pay at the same time and required the least knowledge sharing.

More info about the other stages of this project, the final mock up, and the impact is coming soon.

What we’ve learned?

Although, we’ve tried to keep the scope under control, all edge cases made the designing and engineering process complicated. We’ve learned to cut all unnecessary features out of the MVP so we can release and learn faster.

While designing and building Split Even functionality, we’ve realised how crucial real-time updates were to creating a smooth experience. We’ve decided to address that technical limitation before we build Split by Item and any other additional functionality.