Yelp Waitlist Kiosk

Introducing wait time communications to Yelp Waitlist’s Kiosk experience


Yelp Waitlist Kiosk is a time-saving restaurant host assistant that allows users to add themselves to a restaurant’s waitlist through a stand-alone iPad app.

The problem

The product allows users to join the waitlist, but it doesn’t tell them how long they’re going to wait. So, how might we display wait times on the Kiosk as a party is adding themselves to the waitlist?

My role

Shipped 2019

Product designer –– Worked to improve user experience for restaurant hosts and collaborated closely with PM to push sign up metrics

The experience

Users walk up to the kiosk to add their name to the waitlist and then walk away from the iPad to wait. With that context, the experience not only focuses on the in-iPad experience but also the surrounding enviornment


Introduced wait times to kiosk

Focus on the task at hand––adding oneself to the waitlist––with unobstructive design. Used color, typography, and proximity to draw users toward intended outcome

Accounts for surrounding enviornment

The entire experience isn’t just in the iPad; there’s an external world to account for too! Utilizes clear interstitials to convey information and requires user to tap to confirm updated wait times


Clear confirmation before user leaves iPad experience

Focused closely on hierarchy, adhering to pattern library + creating new hierarchy when necessary

Product thinking

I considered the human problems from the perspective of specific user types

Restaurant guests

Users are forced to either calculate their own wait time, which is usually not accurate, or track down a host to get a quoted time.

Restaurant hosts

Hosts have increased overhead and less efficient use of their time when they have to repetitively give wait estimates to guest.

I then zoomed out to consider how this feature affects the business and Yelp as a whole.

Contradicted value prop

Added host overhead, which directly goes against Yelp Kiosk’s value proposition of reducing host effort and time.

Decreasing churn

If the product doesn’t meet Yelp’s value proposition, there will be increased churn.

I then zoomed out to consider how this feature affects the business and Yelp as a whole.


We predict that by adding wait time communications to Kiosk, we will reduce overhead for hosts and provide diners with better expectations.

Key metrics

We will know this to be true when we see fewer instances of host intervention needed after parties get on the waitlist via Kiosk.

The look and feel

The details of the visual and interaction design, informed by internal audit, pattern library and iOS guidelines


Pattern library

Looked at existing styles, components, and patterns as inputs into my design decision. Also departed from existing patterns that weren’t scaleable.

Big to small

Dug into edge cases and design decisions ranging from big to small.


Designing amidst uncertainty

Designed even for situations when wait times are unknown. Flexible design that was landed upon with multiple iterations for variable situations.