Handling Service Delays – “The computer says no”

By: Andrew Stevens 

If you have ever watched Little Britain you will be familiar with the sketch where a woman uses a computer to provide answers to questions posed by visitors to her office. The answer is always; “The computer says no”. 

With the ever increasing reliance on technology it is all too easy to get caught up in blaming ‘computers’ for operational problems, when in fact these could be caused by a number of factors:

  • Insufficient procedures in place
  • Data entry errors
  • Forgetfulness
  • An out of date system 

A recent example of a service delay blamed on technology:

When my colleague and I recently dined at a client’s venue the evening prior to an installation, my entrée arrived but his did not. After an enquiry about his dish, the response was “I am really sorry but we are having problems with the computer system losing orders… the computer technician will be here tomorrow to fix it”. 

As we were the ‘computer technicians’ we kept silent until we could assess the situation. In this particular scenario there was no problem with orders going to the kitchen, it was simply a convenient excuse for not placing his order correctly. 

Why can’t you blame a service delay on technology? 

A few years back, blaming the computer may have been acceptable when you weren’t able to provide timely service. Today however, the level of tolerance for this excuse has dropped dramatically. 

This is because patrons know that restaurants use point-of-sale (POS) systems to place orders. Poor service caused by operational problems or even a problem with POS shows negligence on the business operator’s side. 

So, how can you avoid service delays?

  • Develop clear service procedures and communicate these to staff
  • Regularly maintain your POS system and upgrade when necessary
  • Thoroughly test new menus and ensure these are printing to the kitchen accurately 


The restaurant customer can only take so much when it comes to poor service. Can you imagine a regular client being told more than once that the computer was to blame? I am sure their response would be “get another computer then” or they might just not come back.

From your smiling staff to your choice of technology, there are many factors that link when providing excellent service. Make sure you invest in them, leverage them and maintain them.

Find out more about what MICROS can do for you! For more information contact us at info@micros.com Phone: 866.287.4736 (US and Canada)

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