Morrison’s, mathematics, and lots (and lots) of queues.


Morrisons cafe is driving me mad, but at least my Algebra is coming in useful.

I’m a regular at Morrison’s Café in Hunslet, the breakfasts are just the thing for me since I’m not much of a cook. But the service often verges on the comical.
It’s left me with a bit of a gripe, and it’s a bit complicated so bear with me.

The café system is similar to a conveyor belt, where you travel along the line of goods and pay at the end – like most self-serve cafes I suppose.

The difference is that there are 2 tills, one at the start (Till A) where you order hot food, and one at the end (Till B) where you pay for your food. The idea is that those just wanting cold food or drinks can walk past those wanting hot food and in general it makes the whole service run a little smoother when there are staff at both tills.

The system sounds great on paper, but in reality is a frustration for me. The main problem being that there is regularly only one staff member around the counter, the rest I presume are behind the scenes washing up, cooking, and doing other kitchen duties.

That one staff member works both tills and also seems to be responsible for re-stocking items on the counter. That is where the problems set in…

Take for example, last week…

Note: understanding the next part of my blog post might be the only time you get to use the Algebra you learnt in school.

I enter the café, just as the staff member (SM for short) has taken food orders from 8 customers at Till A and is walking to Till B to take their payments.

I reach Till A and have to wait for those 8 people to be served at Till B before the SM returns to Till A to take my food order.

While waiting at Till A, 5 people enter only wanting cold food or drinks. They walk past me, get their items and join Till B to pay. I now have to wait for 13 people to get served before I can order food.

While waiting at Till A I am joined by 4 people waiting to order hot food, there’s now a queue forming, but none of us can be served until all customers at Till B are served.

I walk to Till A to ask if I can order hot food from Till B, since I’ve now watched 5 people go in front of me and pay. I’m sent back to Till A, with the SM in tow, to order my food.
With food ordered, I get my drink and get to Till B.

I now have to wait until SM have served all 4 people at Till A to pay for my items, so am hit by a second queue.

Now here’s the most frustrating part…

After queuing at Till A, then queuing at Till B, the SM eventually joins me so I can pay… But as she’s about to ring up my items she says, “the cups need filling” and goes to fill them keeping me queuing.

So, ten brownie points if you’ve kept up so far.

Maybe you’ve been to the café and been through the same frustration. Like me, you’ve probably gone all the way to the final till then been told you have to go all the way to the start to order. It’s like a game of snakes and ladders, except no one seems to get any fun out of it.

You’d think that at busy times they’d either get someone at both tills, or do all items at one till. The staff can take food orders at both tills after all.

I spoke to staff at the café and they agree that the system needs looking at. They told me that is was the policy of Morrison’s to not allow food to be ordered from the second till when needed.

Who makes these policies? Is it someone who actually works in the cafes?


This article was written by Joy Pocock using our Community Reporters website

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