Internship Experience at Dineout

Prashant Singh
10 min readJan 6, 2022

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Summary

This Article highlights my experience of Interning as a Product Designer at Dineout (A Times Group Company) [Now part of Swiggy].

Background

As the summer of 2021 arrived, I had just completed my Junior Year (3rd Year) Undergrad Assignments and was looking forward to gaining internship experience that would not only enhance my learning but also provide me with the opportunity to work on real projects or products. In May, I applied for a position as a UX Design or Product Design Intern at several companies, hoping to hear back soon. Unfortunately, many did not respond, and some rejected my application after taking over a week or so.

However, my experience took a positive turn when Dineout responded to my application in just 1 day. The shortlisting, screening, and interviewing process at Dineout was not only quick but also pleasant. I was thrilled to secure a Product Design Internship at Dineout, as it was exactly the kind of opportunity I was looking for during my summer break.

Dineout, a company known for its restaurant management software. The primary focus was on developing tools for fine dining restaurants, including Point of Sale (POS) systems and Supply Chain Management (SCM) applications. This internship was a turning point in my design career, providing me with hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of UX design in the food and beverage industry.

At the time of my internship, Dineout was owned by Times Internet. However, in December 2021, Dineout was acquired by Swiggy, which integrated its services into their app. This transition was significant as it expanded Dineout’s reach and influence. During this period, my role involved redesigning and improving the SCM application and contributing to the enhancement of the POS system.

Internship Summary

Duration: 5 Months in Total (Initially 3 Months, later extended for 2 more Months) June 21 — October 21

Product: B2B (Torqus & Inresto)

People

The people I had the privilege of working with at Dineout truly exemplify excellence. From designers to developers, managers to leaders, everyone demonstrated a keen eye for detail, which greatly contributed to the creation of precise and impactful user experiences.

What stood out to me the most was the welcoming and supportive nature of my colleagues. Whether it was my Design Team members, Product Managers, IT support, Developers, Human Resources, Leadership, or the Chief Product Officer, everyone made me feel valued and included.

One of the most refreshing aspects of working at Dineout was the non-existence of a rigid hierarchy. Instead of addressing superiors as “Sir or Madam,” we were encouraged to use their first names. This approach fostered a sense of equality and openness, where everyone’s input was valued regardless of their position. It also made it easier to collaborate and communicate effectively, as there were no barriers based on rank or title.

I found that this flat hierarchy and culture of openness contributed significantly to the overall atmosphere at Dineout. Everyone was always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it was related to work or not. This sense of camaraderie and mutual support made my internship experience truly memorable and enjoyable.

The Team

My inclination towards B2B products led me to join the Design Team for Torqus and Inresto Brands. Our team was comprised of 3–5 designers, 2 product managers from each brand, and 1 product management intern. Working closely with this team provided me with invaluable insights and experiences.

The two Product Managers, in particular, played a crucial role in my learning journey. They were always willing to provide comments and further insights, helping me understand the nuances of product management. Their in-depth understanding of each design criterion helped me develop superior solutions and broaden my perspective on product development processes.

The Product Management Intern, who worked alongside the 1st Product Manager, was also instrumental in my learning. They were always available to answer my inquiries and provide me with valuable information and specifics about the projects we were working on.

One individual who left a lasting impression on me was the Chief Product Officer. His leadership style and approachable demeanor altered my perception of individuals in positions of leadership. His politeness and warmth created a positive work environment where all teams flourished under his guidance. It was inspiring to see how he led the teams to complete projects and deliver products on schedule. In fact, his leadership was one of the reasons I decided to continue my internship at Dineout.

Mentors

During my internship at Dineout, I was fortunate to have mentors who not only assisted me with any challenges I faced but also acted as elder brothers, providing guidance, support, and camaraderie.

My Main Mentor played a pivotal role in my internship experience, particularly in helping me with the projects I was assigned. Their expertise in design alignment and design guides was invaluable, and I learned a great deal from their guidance.

Additionally, my co-mentor, who is a Senior Designer, had a profound impact on my understanding of design. Their keen eye for detail and precision was inspiring, as they emphasized that even a millimeter difference could significantly affect the design. This attention to detail and commitment to excellence has had a lasting influence on my approach to design.

Overall, my mentors at Dineout played a crucial role in my professional development, providing me with guidance, support, and valuable insights that have shaped my understanding of design. Their mentorship went beyond professional guidance, as they also took the time to engage with me on a personal level, creating a supportive and nurturing environment where I could learn and grow.

The Work

Dineout is a great place to learn and enhance your design skills. You are given sufficient autonomy to make design adjustments or enhancements, which are always welcomed and investigated. Even input is offered on how to improve the ideas.

As part of the b2b segment called Inresto, I was exposed to the complexities of balancing business goals with user experience, which significantly shaped my approach to design. In this blog, I will delve deep into my internship experience, highlighting key learnings, challenges faced, and the impact of my work on restaurant management systems.

Redesigning the Supply Chain Management Application

One of my main tasks was to revamp the SCM application with a new theme. The goal was to align with modern design trends, improve usability, and create a better user experience by reducing the dominance of branding colors.

Key UX Principles Implemented

  1. Simplify Choices: Making it easier for users to make decisions by reducing the number of options at any given time.
  2. Ease of Use: Ensuring that buttons and interactive elements were easy to find and use.
  3. Clear Information: Breaking down information into manageable chunks to help users understand and remember it better.

Enhancing the Point of Sale System

Improving the POS system was another key area of my work. This involved coming up with new ideas, identifying user experience issues, and conducting research to understand how POS systems are used in restaurants.

Integration of Dineout Pay

Understanding Business-Focused UX: One of the most significant aspects of my internship was learning to prioritize business goals over user experience, a concept that challenged my conventional understanding of UX design. A major part of this project was integrating the Dineout Pay feature into the POS system. The goal was to make payments easier for customers and staff, encouraging more users to use Dineout Pay and nudge the customer to use it as well.

While designing on the POS system, I encountered a scenario where I had to nudge users to select a promoted payment mode, despite knowing that it might not align with their preferences. This experience taught me the importance of striking a balance between meeting business objectives and delivering a seamless user experience.

Research and Analysis

To ensure the redesign was effective, I conducted extensive user research. This involved talking to users, testing the application, and comparing it with other similar tools. I created profiles of typical users and mapped out their interactions with the application to identify pain points. For example, many users found the old system cluttered and difficult to navigate, which slowed down their work.

Potential UX Improvements

  1. Familiar Design Patterns: Using design elements that users are already familiar with to make the system easier to learn.
  2. Visual Appeal: Making the system look attractive to encourage use.
  3. Logical Grouping: Organizing related items together to make the interface clearer and easier to use.

Balancing Business Goals with User Needs: The challenge of balancing business goals with user needs was a recurring theme throughout my internship. I learned that effective design is not just about creating visually appealing interfaces but also about understanding the underlying business objectives and aligning them with user expectations. This approach not only enhances the user experience but also contributes to the overall success of the product.

Data-Driven Design: During my internship, I gained hands-on experience in understanding data metrics to drive design decisions. By understanding user behavior and interaction patterns, I was able to identify areas for improvement and optimize the design for better usability.
For example, I used heatmaps to visualize user interaction with the POS system, which helped me optimize the placement of key features and buttons for improved usability.

Making Desktop Applications Touch-Friendly: Another key learning from my internship was learning to make desktop-based applications touch-friendly. This involved rethinking the user interface and interaction patterns to ensure a seamless experience across different devices. This experience not only broadened my technical skills but also enhanced my understanding of cross-platform design principles.

Restaurant Management Systems: Through my work at Dineout, I gained a deeper understanding of restaurant management systems and their impact on restaurant operations. I learned about the importance of integrating different modules, such as inventory management, order processing, and customer relationship management, to streamline operations and improve efficiency. This experience gave me a holistic view of how design can influence the overall success of a business.

Collaboration and Ideas

In addition to these projects, I participated in brainstorming sessions for the Dineout Great Indian Restaurant Festival. These sessions were a great way to come up with new ideas to engage users and improve their experience during the festival.

The Impact of UX Design on Business

During my internship, Dineout was growing rapidly. Here are some ways better UX design could have positively impacted the business:

  1. Higher Adoption Rates: A more user-friendly SCM and POS system could lead to more restaurants using Dineout’s tools, increasing revenue.
  2. Better Customer Satisfaction: An easier-to-use system would make customers happier, leading to better reviews and repeat business.
  3. Increased Efficiency: A streamlined interface would help restaurant staff work faster and more efficiently, saving time and money.

The working style

Throughout my internship at Dineout, I was actively involved in various meetings and discussions, including Feature Discussions, Revamp sessions, Product Manager Inquiries, Developers-Design Sync Up, and Daily Stand Up Meetings. I was invited to participate in these meetings and made sure to actively engage in conversations, contributing my ideas and insights wherever possible. This not only allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the projects and processes but also helped me build relationships with my colleagues and mentors.

Other Fun Stuff

In June, the entire Times Group took part in a Yoga Asana Challenge to celebrate International Yoga Day. Each business within the Times Group formed teams to practice Yoga Asanas of their choice and submit a photo of themselves performing the Asanas. While the challenge was a bit tiring, it was also incredibly enjoyable. I’m pleased to share that our Dineout team emerged victorious in the tournament, adding a delightful highlight to our experience.

Conclusion

My internship at Dineout was a transformative experience that not only honed my technical skills but also shaped my approach to design. I learned the importance of balancing business goals with user needs, the value of data-driven design, and the impact of UX research on product development. These learnings have equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field of product design and make a meaningful impact on the products I work on in the future. My internship at Dineout was not just a stepping stone in my career but a journey of self-discovery and growth that has prepared me for the challenges ahead.

Looking Forward

One of the standout features of my experience at Dineout was the genuine value placed on ideas and iterations by everyone, from my Product Manager to the Chief Product Officer. This culture of innovation and continuous improvement ensured that the designs I worked on were regularly updated, leading to the imminent launch of an upgraded product that I am incredibly proud to have contributed to.

This internship not only provided me with valuable experience but also helped me enhance my skills in various areas, including B2B products, usability, marketing, quick-service restaurant operations, and designing for specific needs. I am confident that the knowledge and skills I have gained during these five months will prove to be immensely beneficial to my career. I am eagerly looking forward to the next chapter of my journey, knowing that I am well-equipped to take on new challenges and make a meaningful impact in the field of product design.

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