Simplifying a complex, aging web of infrastructure components leads to more satisfied customers — and greater revenue.

Every business wants to increase revenue and decrease costs while mitigating risks and the restaurant industry is no different. Improving the effectiveness of technology can boost customer satisfaction, which goes hand-in-hand with increased revenue. A better bottom line looks good to any restaurant operator — from fast food to fine dining.

With customer expectations growing faster than ever before, Wi-Fi has become an essential element of the overall customer experience. Patrons expect seamless online service that is as good as or better than what they use at home and at work. Many restaurants want their customers to stay a while, and one way to encourage this behavior is by providing reliable Wi-Fi access.

But the demand for high-quality Wi-Fi poses a challenge for many businesses. As restaurant and retail chains open scores of locations, they often find themselves struggling with a complex hodge-podge of new and aging infrastructure components, multiple vendors and ad hoc technologies that may be difficult or expensive to manage. Performance often suffers as a result, which in turns diminishes customer satisfaction.

The solution often comes down to one word: simplify. Businesses frequently address these challenges by streamlining, consolidating and standardizing their network infrastructure. Managed wireless services delivered via the cloud are becoming an increasingly popular option for simplifying Wi-Fi.

An Expanded Menu

One of our customers, a large, casual restaurant and sports bar chain, discovered the advantages of simplification when it started buying back numerous franchises while simultaneously adding 50 to 60 new locations per year.

The company sought to attract and hold customers in its seats for as long as possible, watching sports, playing games and ordering more food and beer. Large-screen TVs, of course, were one strategy. The chain also provided fast Wi-Fi connections that kept customers happy for hours, playing interactive games such as fantasy football. The company even provided Wi-Fi-connected tablets for customers who wanted to play games and order food at their tables. During major events such as March Madness, fans might show up at 10 a.m. and stay online all day if the food and Internet connection allowed it. That sounds like a lot of fun!

And it was: From a business and customer satisfaction perspective, the scenario paid major dividends. The drawback, however, was that customers’ intensive online use, coupled with servers’ and staffers’ wireless mobile devices, often overtaxed the Wi-Fi resources of a single restaurant.

Unfortunately, the company’s former franchise model had created a complex mess of more than 30 telecommunications carriers and inconsistent, often aging wireless infrastructure. Many locations had no backup Internet connection — a sure path to frustrated customers and lost business.

Full-Service Solution

Resolution of such issues is one of the expert services CDW provides. We help our customers identify best-of-breed solutions, bundle them into an elegant architecture and take over much of the infrastructure purchasing and management. That frees our customers from having to coordinate with and manage multiple vendors.

We helped this customer consolidate, simplify and standardize its entire branch infrastructure. We aggregated its complex telecommunications environment to a single supplier with a single set of customer service escalation paths and simplified its Wi-Fi to a single, powerful, enterprise-class Cisco Meraki wireless infrastructure, which provides multi-site management via the cloud. We added a 4G backup wireless connection in each location that acts as a failover for the primary Internet connection, delivering uninterrupted fan connectivity.

CDW also acts as the company’s help desk, creating a single point of contact for troubleshooting and issue resolution that eliminates the frustration of having to pursue resolutions through multiple vendors. All of those changes resulted in significant cost reductions, increased revenue and more efficient use of IT resources.

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