Although we live in an age where access to the internet is becoming easier and more reliable, it is never guaranteed that our internet connectivity technology will always work perfectly. Operating a business with multiple sites, whether restaurant or retail, it is one of the critical functions that you need to do business and provide a seamless experience for your customer. Whether it be that ice storm that sweeps through the country, or your cable provider isn’t quite doing their job, you can probably expect your internet access to fail at some point in your restaurant’s lifetime. Planning ahead and having a business continuity plan is extremely important.
When something unexpected happens, if you don’t have a strategy in place to back up your current network, your operations could be in complete disarray. What does it look like when your staff’s handhelds or your point-of-sale systems suddenly don’t have that ubiquitous connectivity that they are used to? Imagine writing down credit card numbers manually on a pad for each customer order. Imagine no music for the customers and just an echo of voices flooding through your establishment. Imagine having to keep track of table vacancies and logging shifts manually.
It would be a disaster. But luckily there are ways to support your operational systems and keep them up and running when your local network shuts down.
Running Your Business Offline
The first step is making sure as many of your critical applications are able to run offline as possible. If your company is streaming music for your customers, you may be at the mercy of the amount of bandwidth available to your network. You are also very dependant on network reliability, and we all know that some of the most reliable enterprise-grade WiFi systems go down from time to time.
But music streaming apps today have made it much easier to compile playlists for offline listening. Top music streaming applications like My Instore Radio, Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music not only offer the ability to download custom-made playlists within seconds, but also have thousands of pre-organized playlists for you to tailor to whatever crowd you are bringing to your store or restaurant. Having an offline music application is also one way to ensure your customers have the same experience every time.
So, as a multi-unit operator, taking inventory of the applications that you can run offline is your first step in your business continuity plan.
A Backup Plan - Have a Redundant Network
So you have moved most of your business applications offline. Great! But the reality is that you will still need internet access for some of your most critical store-operating functions in times when your main network isn’t accessible. What is a restaurant operator to do when your business is at peak operating hours, and your network goes down? How will you run credit cards, gift and loyalty cards and keep business running smoothly?
This is where choosing the right solution for failover connectivity is crucial to your bottom line. Having a failover system implemented that automates the switch from your main network to a 4G network will not only give you 100% reliability, but it also gives you peace of mind when it comes to having stable access to the internet. It will also save you tens of thousands of dollars in revenue in the long run. Losing sales because your internet is down isn’t an option in today’s world of intense competition.
Partner with an Experienced Vendor
The only thing left to do is to implement these systems. We work with companies like Cradlepoint that develop solutions which integrate seamlessly with your network infrastructure. We project plan, design and implement these solutions nationally for our multi-unit customers, always keeping in mind what their business goals are and how we can make life easier for them.
As a multi-unit restaurant or retail operator, there is enough stress with the nature of the business. Added stress due to unforeseen network outages can and should be avoided with a clear redundancy and business continuity plan. In order to ensure success with every store opening and with the restaurant technology and retail technology available today, are you using all of the tools that are at your disposal to have fail-proof systems? Planning ahead for worst case scenarios is how businesses keep a competitive edge and succeed, allowing your business to grow with no setbacks.