In a recent post, we explained how connectivity is now the most important business driver for a multi-site restaurant chain.
That’s because just about every process now requires connectivity, from keeping PoS and ordering systems up and running to ensuring food and worker safety.
The truth is that most businesses can only function for few minutes without connectivity before shutting down. And in the fast-paced, high volume restaurant industry, downtime can have significant financial repercussions.
Implications of Downtime in the Industry
Downtime can harm a restaurant chain in many different ways.
Here are a few:
Lost profits: Without a functioning PoS system, it’s impossible to collect payment from guests and new guests must be informed that sales are cash-only before they are seated.
In one study, over 98 percent of large enterprises with over 1,000 employees said that on average, a single hour of annual downtime would cost over $100,000, while 81 percent of respondents said the cost would exceed $300,000. And three in 10 said downtime would cost $1 million or more.
It’s also worth considering the impact of financial downtime for individual franchise owners. While an enterprise may be able to absorb the cost of downtime, it can be very difficult for a store owner to bounce back from a lengthy outage.
Loss of operational control: Many businesses are now leveraging connected devices to control critical operations like climate and security. Without connectivity, those devices become inaccessible. Downtime can lead to issues like temperature spikes, which can drive out customers and spoil food.
Poor customer experience (CX): Imagine getting in the car and going to a restaurant, only to be turned away because the network is down. In today’s customer-centric market, network issues could lead to negative reviews, and give the perception that the restaurant is unreliable. This could have a lasting impact on a business’s reputation.
Stress for IT: What happens when the network goes out? IT is the first to get blamed. Oftentimes, network administrators are tasked with keeping WANs up and running without the proper resources. This can create a stressful environment, and lead to high employee turnover.
As you can see, a lot can go wrong in a restaurant when connectivity stops. With the right solution in place, though, connectivity can change from a vulnerability into a valuable asset.
Suppose a storm rolls into an area, and knocks out internet service for a considerable length of time. Restaurants with only one line of connectivity will be stranded until service is restored.
A restaurant with backup connectivity in place, however, will be able to continue operating while others are shut down—providing services like food, coffee and WiFi to customers, while winning over local customers.
SD-WAN: A Game Changer for Restaurants
Restaurants can eliminate network downtime by using software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN)—a revolutionary networking concept.
With SD-WAN, restaurants can create highly secure WANs from multiple connections and carriers. So if connectivity is lost on one line, it can automatically “fail over” to another one.
To learn more about Multapplied’s unique approach to SD-WAN, click here.