Karam says it was important that the idea for the new integrated system came through a vendor they were already familiar with, and that was familiar with the way MUY Brands’ operated. For instance, Internet reliability is critical, since orders called into Pizza Hut, the company’s single largest franchise brand, are routed through a call center operated by the parent company, which then routes the orders to the appropriate store’s LAN and into their onsite ticketing system. They were also capable of scheduling installations of the new system during early morning hours before the stores opened, and able to installed video surveillance capability—which the new enhanced Internet infrastructure can support—in those stores where it was deemed necessary based on local crime activity.
Karam says the biggest challenge for this system rollout is the need for constant communication between the integrator, the district managers across MUY Brands’ operating region, and each individual store manager. Again citing fast-food’s tight margins, he says that a missed appointment or a last-minute change in the installation order, such as the inclusion of video surveillance capability, can wreak havoc on the tight schedules that food service works under, where customers often aren’t charged for pizzas that are delivered late. “Overcommunication” is his answer to that issue.
But the step up in security—each store sends its district manager an automated alert if the security system isn’t armed within an hour of its scheduled closing time—and energy savings are worth the effort. “It’s all about controlling costs, and this is a great way to accomplish that,” he says.