Back when I managed Havasu Palms’ Road’s End Restaurant, we installed a computerized point of sale system. We were one of the first Havasu restaurants to go computerized – even before such notables as Shugrues.
While computerized POS systems are commonplace today – that wasn’t the case back in the early 90s.
The Road’s End Restaurant’s POS system involved two touchscreen computers – one in the waitress station and one at the bar. Neither had a hard-drive, and both were hooked up to the main computer – located in my office at the rear of the restaurant.
Placing an order involved entering it at the bar or waitress station computer. If it was a food order, the order printed out on the small printer in the kitchen. If it was a drink order, that one printed out on the small printer behind the bar.
The system was installed before my father passed away in December of 1992. Back in those days most folks weren’t that computer savvy and as far as most of the crew knew, the only way to send orders were from the waitress station or bar computer. But I had a secret – I could also place an order from my office.
My father, Walt Johnson – founder and developer of Havasu Palms had recently passed away. One evening after the kitchen closed, Don and I went up to the bar to say goodnight to the remaining employees and customers – all who were seated at the bar. They could see the kitchen and hallway leading to my office was dark. After saying our goodbyes, we left out the side door – supposedly to go home.
Before I reached my golf cart to head home Dad’s playful spirit encouraged me to slip back into the restaurant at the back door – and to my office. From my office computer I sent a message to the bar printer.
Imagine our bartender Bonnie’s expression when the printer started spitting out paper. Glancing to the kitchen, she could see there was no one in the waitress station…and since she was the only one behind the bar, who was sending her an order? Was it perhaps some forgotten order stuck in the system and had somehow unstuck and decided to print?
Hesitantly she approached the bar computer, tore the piece of paper from the printer and slipped on her reading glasses.
It wasn’t an order. . . it was a message: Walt says hello.