A Bronx, NY restaurant was two weeks from opening. They were busy getting every aesthetic detail perfect. And behold, the restaurant had inherited a patchwork of technology from the previous owner, with very confusing wiring and network infrastructure. Not the forte of the head chef or owner to deal with. To handle the payment and ordering system, they hired a “best of breed” technology consulting firm. The firm specializes in payment and ordering systems to install a restaurant point of sale (POS) system, including set up of multiple iPads for full menu/kiosk setup to support in-house food and drink ordering, as well as managing delivery and pick-up. How did this go from “best of breed” to a restaurant with an emergency?
The consulting firm successfully installed the payment system; however, they did not clean up, disentangle, map or clearly label any of the work performed. Considering the central and critical nature to the functioning of the restaurant, this should have been included as a standard in the scope of work. Additionally, the payment system failed to work after only a few days. The consulting company backed away from performing any network repairs and stated, “the system worked when we left.” This left the restaurant looking at a non-functional core system over a holiday weekend with the clock ticking and staff that could not be trained before launch. Additionally, the restaurant’s phone system was a non-functional (network-based) VoIP and they needed WiFi in place for customers.
A client of ours recommended us to the owner. (We believe word-of-mouth referrals are the best compliment.) Without hesitation or much notice, we showed up on Saturday, on that holiday weekend. Our scope of work was to get the entire restaurant’s technology network functional (network/WiFi, POS system, and phones)… by the end of that weekend.
- Disentangle, reorganize, label, and document the entire network
- Rebuild the WiFi network to accommodate the secure internal-only network and an isolated public WiFi
- Re-install and test the VoIP phone system
- Engage with the previous vendor to repair their payment and ordering system once we resolve the network issues
Why was the restaurant consulting work important?
The challenge for many businesses seeking help is that while a number of technology vendors are available, often these companies specialize in one specific capability. It’s great to be a “best of breed” vendor with a pitch that sounds like it will solve everything, but this has obvious limitations when you don’t look at your technology as a whole. Without assessing or communicating the needs to the owner, the firm specializing in payment and ordering systems expected and assumed all other issues to be resolved prior to implementing the payment system. Anyone who has opened a restaurant or retail business knows that may not be feasible, especially as you’re racing to launch, because everything happens at once.
Some technology firms are too general or lack advanced expertise. They may not want to admit it or will charge you many extra hours while they struggle through it. On the other hand, some firms are so expensive that businesses balk at performing or trusting in the work, even when it is truly necessary. This costs the business later in either downtime and lost revenue, a security incident, or expensive emergency repairs. There has to be a compromise and a way for you to trust the work to be done properly.
In this instance, our expertise and flexibility empowered the restaurant in the end to make the best informed, future-proofed and least costly installation possible, even in an emergency situation. We don’t just solve the problem, we proactively assess your needs and design our work to make it easier on you and your business to move forward.