Long John Silver’s, the largest quick-service seafood restaurant chain in the United States has chosen Interface Security Systems, a leading managed service provider delivering business security, managed network, UCaaS, and business intelligence solutions to distributed enterprises, to enhance network connectivity across 430 of its restaurants.
Long John Silver’s chose to work with Interface to implement a fully managed, restaurant-technology-in-a-box solution that includes prefabricated network equipment ready for SD-WAN expansion, wireless WAN backup and VoIP connectivity.
The partnership with Interface has enabled Long John Silver’s to offer reliable network connectivity for a smooth operation of POS and other applications at the restaurants, improve customer service, and boost restaurant staff productivity while cutting down network downtime and support calls at the restaurants.
Navigating Choppy Waters
Long John Silver’s is on a mission to lay the foundations for growth and the company’s IT organization is at the forefront of the strategy to revamp operations.
Under the leadership of Brad Gardone, vice president of information technology services at Long John Silver’s, the seafood restaurant chain began migrating to cloud-based systems. This initiative allowed the IT team to optimize operational costs, support a new generation of applications, and keep pace with customer expectations for online delivery services.
However, the restaurants non-standard legacy network infrastructure limited any plans for growth.
“The existing network literally ran out of wind. I distinctly remember one of the projects where we hit a dead-end hoping to install new devices only to discover a limited supply of network ports were available. We wanted to build the ‘Network of the Future’ – one that scales for tomorrow and beyond,” says Gardone.
The challenges posed by the legacy IT infrastructure had a telling effect on Long John Silver’s operations across the board:
- Increased operational complexity – Legacy network switches were unreliable and backup parts were needed in every restaurant in case of an emergency. Non-standard equipment across hundreds of restaurants meant the IT team needed to be on-site to solve and trace the troubleshooting issue.
- Poor ISP service standards – Long John Silver’s restaurants had a slew of modem and ISP configuration issues that bogged down the restaurant staff who were forced to work their way through the ISP help desk teams for a resolution.
- Lost revenue – Unreliable network connectivity meant frequent network downtimes at the restaurants. While the network was down, the credit card readers stored the transactions for authorization until the connectivity was restored. This workaround resulted in loss of payments and profit due to security issues from a variety of card companies.
- Problems with reporting – Every time connectivity went down for long periods of time, the sales reporting system was thrown out of gear. This caused inconclusive sales numbers once connectivity was restored.
After a rigorous evaluation of managed services vendors, Long John Silver’s chose to work with Interface.
With Interface, Long John Silver’s took a clean break from the past when it had technicians installing network devices one by one resulting in longer installation time-frames and non-standard installations that increased operational complexity and downtime.
When the restaurant-technology-in-a-box (a ready-to-install, network-in-a-box) was first demoed, Gardone’s team was super excited after seeing the system for the first time.
Kevin Decker, a network administrator at Long John Silver’s and a key team member working with Gardone on vendor evaluation remembers the day vividly.
“When Interface first demonstrated their network-technology-in-a-box, it felt like Christmas morning. We started talking about the Interface Cloud-Powered Remote
Reboot and saw first-hand how the Interface remote help desk was able to reboot the devices without any one of us lifting a finger. I wish I had videotaped everyone’s face,” says Decker.
Sailing full-speed ahead with Interface
Interface helped Long John Silver’s completely replace the legacy switches and myriad connectivity solutions with its “restaurant-technology-in-a-box” that offered a secure network with wireless WAN failover, 24X7 remote monitoring along with a business VoIP solution.
Long John Silver’s Network of the Future implemented by Interface included:
- Compact, prefabricated, configured, tested, PCI-compliant network cabinets
- SD-WAN ready full Fortinet stack
- Guest Wi-Fi
- Interface cloud-powered reboot (iCPR) device pre-installed
- Cradlepoint 4G LTE WAN failover device pre-installed
- Business VoIP with auto-attendant feature to manage customer calls
- Power supply and Cat-5 wiring
- Fully managed service with on-site maintenance support
With a technician onsite for only a few hours to hang the cabinet and run the cables, Long John Silver’s was able to go live with the network of the future across 430 restaurants in a matter of a few months.
One of the goals for Long John Silver’s IT teams is to standardize the network backbone across all restaurants including those owned by franchisees. To make this happen, Interface and Long John Silver’s together launched a special program to encourage franchisees to embrace the restaurant-technology-in-a-box model.
“Of all the options we looked at, Interface’s solution was the most innovative and cost-effective. Their ‘restaurant-technology-in-box’ model meant that the network cabinet with cabling, routers, and modems were all outfitted in a factory, configured for Long John Silver’s before it was installed at our restaurants with no disruption to restaurant operations. No other service provider offered us this model.”
— Brad Gardone, VP of IT, Long John Silver’s