Jessica Goldman
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The Meal Ninja

A case study on designing a meal-splitting app for friends.

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Case Study

The Meal Ninja

The meal-splitting app that saves you your time, your wallet and even your friendships. 


As part of General Assembly’s admissions process, we are tasked with designing a simple mobile application that helps users deal with common challenges and pain points. I chose to create an app that splits checks at a restaurant between a group of people.

The Prompt



“The One With Five Steaks And An Eggplant”

I immediately thought of this Friends episode. It helped get me into the right mindset, think about the type of people I’m targeting and discover some common pain points when eating out with friends.

The Competition

There are several meal-splitting apps currently on the market, some of which I’ve used in the past. I dove into the pros and cons of the best apps out there: Plates, Settle Up, and Tab.


Key Takeaways

Each app comes with cons that are potential barriers to entry. Not everyone is going to be tech savvy if they have to do their portion of the bill on the app. There’s a learning curve for people to have to figure out a whole new app on the fly. Some groups might all want to do their part themselves, but wouldn’t be able to on an app that only lets one person do the work. People need an app that is flexible for multiple different types of groups.


Personas & Scenario

Our Users

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The Scenario

Joe, Stacy and Erica are out celebrating. Stacy ordered three drinks. Joe got lobster, the most expensive meal on the menu. Erica only got soup. Everyone split the appetizers. The waiter brings the check. How do you split the check in a way that is simple, efficient and most importantly: keeps the peace?




  • Create and save groups for friends who dine together frequently

  • View steps all at once as a list, or page by page

  • Unlimited group size

  • Take a picture of the bill OR input your bill manually

  • Everyone can join group via a code or share link, select what they ate and pay primary payer via apps like Venmo or Cash App. One person can also do the work solo.

  • Internationally integrated with currencies, languages AND exchange rates.  


Example User Flow






The Final