User Shadowing: Purchasing Manager at the Dorchester

On 12 June 2018 I visited a luxury hotel in Mayfair to speak with a longtime Purchasing Manager to understand what was their ordering process currently, since they have been using a legacy product created by Fourth to create purchases for the hotel.

The business wanted to incorporate some of the functions offered by this legacy product into the Ordering App, so I wanted to see if there was any particular difference in terms of information, behaviour and logistics that was being performed.

I arrived early at the hotel and met with the purchasing manager in the lobby, who showed me to his office which was in stark contrast to the opulent entrance of the hotel. As we sat down in a small office with at least three other desks squashed in the room, I asked him to go through the legacy product to perform the ordering process of products for the hotel. Purchasing products took him only a few minutes, and afterwards he offered to go through the process slowly and describe each step.

The Interview

When we went through the various screens, I asked him a few general questions about his day as a purchasing manager. He spoke about the intensity of trying to order the numerous products needed to satisfy the needs of highly demanding guests of the hotel, and the importance of estimating the correct amount of products needed whilst being under budget.

From this, he was able to discuss his main frustration about the legacy product which doesn’t allow for clear communication between numerous users, which consists of the chefs who are ordering products for their kitchen and the purchasing managers who must review and approve these requests.

When I was finished with my observation and interview, the purchasing manager offered to give me a tour of the stock rooms and delivery bay. I took a few pictures to share with my team back at the office, and also to help remind me of the context in which purchasing managers are working in.


From the time I had with the purchasing manager, my time observing his work and the interview I created a user journey map for comparison with how users currently perform purchasing of products on the Ordering app. In general, the main difference that I could summarise between the process of a hotel ordering their products and the process of ordering products in a restaurant using the Ordering app was the fact that in a hotel, there is a stronger hierarchy of approval processes. Also, there was a lack of clarity from the point of view of a chef in terms why products had been rejected, which took time away from focusing on their job at hand.