Food & Beverages

3 min read

by Alex Knight on 18th March 2024

Test today. Or be in the news tomorrow 😥

Wow. That was some weekend for business failures in the news headlines! We don’t think there’s ever been a better illustration of the importance of testing than what happened to some of the world’s biggest brands…

Updated 20th March – Greggs, the well-known bakery chain suffered store closures and customer misery after a payment systems failure…more below!

Burger breakdown

First up: on Friday, McDonalds (that small burger franchise) had an epic meltdown of systems in their restaurants. Globally. Yes, we will let that one sink in. Over 5,000 restaurants in the UK, Australia and Japan, plus other countries, suddenly stopped being able to take orders.

Cyber attack? No. A ‘configuration change’ via a third-party provider – likely a software update – that hadn’t been tested, brought the burger chain to their knees as they couldn’t take orders around the world.

Supermarket Sweep-ing tech issues

Fast-forward 24 hours and two of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, suffered a similar fate.

Sainsbury’s were forced to apologize to customers after most of their online grocery deliveries couldn’t be delivered due to technical issues; they were also unable to offer contactless payments in store. Their tech issues later transpired to be due an overnight software update.

As if out of sympathy a key rival, Tesco, decided to have a similar issue and were forced to cancel a small number of orders.

You don’t do a major update to your live system without making sure its going to work first.

According to retail technology analyst Miya Knights, “if a major update was being made to a live system there needed to be rigorous testing protocols in place [and] rigorous release planning”.

One of their customers, a computer science teaching fellow at Aston University, had this to say…

“I went on to the Tesco site and they had no deliveries slots today. People need to test software. You don’t do a major update to your live system without making sure its going to work first.”

Flaky software hits Greggs

Not wanting to miss the IT action, early on Wednesday 20th March, Greggs, the bakery chain, announced they’d been hit by an IT issue that was affecting card payments and they’d been forced to close some stores and only accept cash payments…

According to expert, Paul Cooper, who is Head of IT at takepayments, “Last weekend Sainsburys shared that the error in the payment systems was due to an overnight software update that encountered problems, which affected the ability to take contactless payments the next day. Although we don’t know for sure, it sounds like the supermarket may not have tested the update sufficiently. It’s important for any business to test their system updates thoroughly and to keep any updates local.”

Test today. Don’t fail tomorrow.

All four firms will have experienced a drop in revenue for the affected period. Some of them may have to deal with a lot of customer complaints. Some may experience a hit on share prices. All will have experienced a negative mark against their brand experience, which they all pride themselves on.

And what’s the conclusion of our story – when one weekend sees the chaos caused by a lack of testing when deploying config changes? Well, it’s shining through loud and clear.

Test thoroughly.

If you want to find out how you can avoid joining these three and transition to bug-free releases in less than a week, then let’s talk.

It doesn’t have to be you next.

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