Hal Smith Restaurants

Challenges

  • Provide superior customer Wi-Fi experience in every restaurant location
  • Deploy a wireless network in over 60 restaurant locations in 7 states across a large geographic area
  • Move from a consumer-class solution to a comprehensive Wi-Fi network with enterprise security and Quality of Service features

Results

  • Customers enjoy superior guest Wi-Fi and enhanced wireless services for private banquets and events
  • Company realized cost savings with centralized network management without addition equipment
  • Retail analytics and other enterprise features will enable HSRG to provide optimal customer experience

Hal Smith Restaurant Group Employs Aerohive for Greater Mobility and Efficiency

Hal Smith Restaurant Group (HSRG) was founded in 1992 by its namesake, Hal W. Smith, and manages over 60 restaurant locations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska.

Operating 14 different restaurant concepts, the company has over 6,000 employees and its restaurants vary from high-end steakhouses to burger joints, Mexican and seafood restaurants. With headquarters in Norman, Oklahoma, some of its recognizable restaurant brands include Charleston’s, Kevin Durant’s Kd’s Southern Cuisine, Mahogany, Redrock Canyon Grill and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.

The Challenge

HSRG had been operating with a consumer-based wireless solution, and as a large restaurant management group, it urgently needed an enterprise-class solution with reliable infrastructure. The biggest drivers for wireless were mobility and guest satisfaction in order to provide the highest level of service in each restaurant. Another key consideration for the new network architecture was simple, centralized network management system with distributed security enforcement, crucial for an organization with centralized IT and locations spread across a large geographic area in seven states with over 60 stand-alone restaurants.

Additional enterprise features, including retail analytics, were a key factor as HSRG considered different wireless network solutions. The company offers a top-notch restaurant experience and wanted to offer an equal impression for technology, creating an overall superior customer experience. Its existing wireless solution was not comprehensive and no guest Wi-Fi was offered in its establishments, requiring an urgent enterprise solution for the booming restaurant group.

Solution

HSRG turned to Integr8 Media, a managed services company that works closely with the company to provide a variety of services, including technology consulting and support. HSRG was about to launch Kd’s Southern Cuisine, a new restaurant concept with Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the time was right to test Aerohive at this new location before rolling it out across all restaurant concepts.

“I knew if I were going to move Hal Smith Restaurant Group forward in Wi-Fi, it would be with Aerohive,” explains Jerrald Buchanan, Information Technology Director, who first heard of Aerohive at a trade show and was enamored with the technology from the very beginning. HSRG was convinced the controller-less solution from Aerohive was a perfect fit, from its ease of management to cost of implementation.

HSRG deployed Aerohive AP121 access points, as well as Aerohive’s AP230 802.11ac access points. The AP230 access points will be used in high volume environments, such as restaurants that host large banquets or events requiring robust guest Wi-Fi. HiveManager Online enables the company to have a complete picture of its network across all locations and easily adjust configurations.

The company has a guest network with captive web portal, and an employee network to access corporate applications and information. Aerohive’s Radio Frequency (RF) planning tools were essential for remote deployments, especially at restaurant locations like Toby Keith’s that has seating for 450 guests. HSRG has segregated traffic and devices by creating separate VLANs for added security.

Results

“We are proud of our fantastic restaurants where we offer top-notch food and service, so it only made sense to match our technology to provide an overall superior experience for our guests. That is why Aerohive is going into all of our restaurants,” explains Jerrald Buchanan.

The company recently hosted a large group of pharmaceutical account representatives at a restaurant where the guests were easily able to give a presentation in a private room with flawless connectivity. At particular restaurants guests use iPads to access a wine list, ordering a selection directly from the table through the wireless device.

HSRG now boasts enterprise wireless capabilities with superior reliability, enabling many corporate processes to now operate fully over the wireless network. HSRG uses Point of Sale devices from Squirrel Systems with wireless functionality, instrumental for a fast-paced restaurant environment. Back-end inventory software also operates over the wireless network, as well as other reporting functions.

Aerohive’s solution has also allowed the IT team to easily manage the network across a large number of restaurant locations. It was crucial to not have to assign additional IT staff to the network, and the ease of management has enabled the team to be more agile and efficient.

“Without having to deploy staff to each installation, Hal Smith Restaurant Group has reduced considerable T&E costs. The solution has more than paid for itself in just one year’s time,” highlights Buchanan.

Road to Better Retail

Future plans at HSRG include leveraging Aerohive’s powerful retail analytics to better understand customer behavior in order to offer another layer of customer satisfaction and boost marketing efforts for the company. The company hopes to take advantage of digital menus and signage, and offer ways for patrons to interact with social media during their guest experience. HSRG is also well-poised to meet any issues of PCI compliancy or advanced security measures with a robust solution in place from Aerohive.

Aerohive has enabled HSRG to provide a resilient foundation for its wireless operations. In the year ahead, the company looks forward to taking advantage of additional enterprise features for even greater mobility and efficiency.

Resources

Industries

Articles