Restaurant Chain Deploys Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service with All-in-One Routers for Flexible Failover, Management & Network Security
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a rapidly growing quick-service restaurant chain with locations in many states, was looking for ways to solve a number of critical technology challenges. First, its network connectivity solutions needed an upgrade, and then it needed to make sure all of its locations met PCI DSS standards for credit card processing. Raising Cane’s also hoped to be able to explore new on-site wireless capabilities, incorporate LTE-based failover, and to manage all of the devices on its distributed network from one central location.
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for branch enabled Raising Cane’s to remotely manage its wired and wireless connectivity, delivered through all-in-one routers that support simulataneous use of multiple cellular operators. The service provides the flexibity, connection reliability, and information security required by an organization that is opening locations in a wide variety of regions.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with restaurant locations across the American South, Midwest, and West. Founded in 1996, the restaurant has become famous for its “One Love” — a singular focus on serving the highest quality chicken fingers and a short menu of side dishes. The story of the restaurant’s success — and of the founders’ community involvement — has been the subject of widespread positive media coverage.
Raising Cane’s needed to make sure each of its restaurants was PCI DSS compliant, had an efficient primary network for operations, had a failover solution for business continuity, and that its network could be centrally managed.
Raising Cane’s also wanted to implement a Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) at each location to enable its managers to quickly go online and test a new, iPad-based employee training program.
When Vince Severns, Vice President of Information Technology for Raising Cane’s, and his team began testing solutions, they soon realized that most options involved having to work with more than one vendor. After more than a year of research, however, they discovered that Cradlepoint could meet all of the company’s challenging requirements.
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for branch locations includes routing, WAN link termination and traffic management, a firewall, WiFi, dual modems, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via a purpose-built router with embedded LTE, 24x7 support, and a limited lifetime warranty.
"When a location goes down, the network switches automatically to LTE and sends us a notification at central IT. That enables us to take immediate action with the local telecom provider to resolve the problem. Having NetCloud in place also provides us with the most current intrusion-detection and prevention capability. That's a huge win for us," said Vince Severns, Vice President of Information Technology at Raising Canes.
Prior to installing cloud-managed Cradlepoint routers, Raising Cane’s relied on dial-up phone connectivity as a backup solution for loss of network access. Not only was this solution very slow, it did not support the newest PCI DSS standards for credit card processing. Severns said installation of the Cradlepoint solution has enabled Raising Cane’s to meet both of these objectives.
“If our primary Internet connection fails, then the network automatically switches over to LTE backup. The store managers typically don’t even notice that they’ve flipped over to 4G. In fact, in some cases the Cradlepoint connection is faster than the existing primary connection. When our auditors tested the Cradlepoint router, they saw for themselves that it meets the new PCI standards," Severns said.
Not only was Raising Cane’s dial-up failover slow, it was also expensive. By implementing Cradlepoin’s all-in-one routers, Raising Cane’s was able to eliminate two phone lines at each location (one for back-up and one for fax).
"Losing those two phone lines gave us a good cost reduction on a month-to-month basis. My guess is that we should be able to break even on the cost of each Cradlepoint device within 18 to 24 months of installation. We’re seeing full return on the investment in a fairly short amount of time," Severns said.
Severns also points to emerging trends that promise even more cost savings in the future.
"Cellular providers have become increasingly competitive in their data pricing structures. I think we’re going to see more competition and even lower prices in the future."
With the company’s restaurants dispersed over a very wide geographic area, Severns knew that no single solution would work for every location. He needed something that would give him the flexibility to find the right solution for each location. Cradlepoint built-in multi-WAN capabilities give Raising Cane’s the network flexibility they need.
WiFi & Mobility for Employees
Prior to implementing the NetCloud Service, Raising Cane’s was unable to provide WiFi to support office employees as they visited different restaurants. With WWAN now available, it’s easy for managers to check email and perform other network-related activities. WWAN also provides the company with new ways to conduct employee training.
"We’re very focused on providing different avenues for training, and wireless gives us another way of delivering training content. Right now, we’re using our new WiFi capabilities to test the use of iPads in our certified training restaurants."
Problem Solving & Security
With many restaurant locations, it was critical for Raising Cane’s to find a solution that would enable the IT team to centrally manage devices, network usage, firmware, and security across all locations. NetCloud Manager has been particularly useful in allowing remote management of the company’s many widely distributed restaurants.
Severns said the support Cradlepoint has provided has been “top notch.”
“We had some questions recently at one of our locations about WiFi configuration — making sure we had the Internet configuration optimized. Without hesitation, Cradlepoint sales engineers came out to the restaurant to make sure that everything was the way it should be.”
While most of its locations currently use hardwire for primary connectivity, Severns said Raising Cane’s is beginning to explore the use of LTE instead. With their routers’ dual-modem, dual-SIM capabilities for built-in primary and failover networks, it makes it easy to future-proof.
"The only option we have at one new restaurant is a very expensive T1 line. Moving to Cradlepoint LTE would be an enormous cost savings for us, so we’re piloting ‘cutting the wire’ at that location. We’re also going to be looking for ways to leverage LTE across the enterprise as we move forward. We’re optimistic that it’s going to be very helpful for us," Severns said.
Severns knows that there is more to working with vendors than simply buying a piece of technology. For companies to benefit over the long term, vendors must be willing to work closely with the company to solve new challenges as they arise.
"We’ve had a great partnership with Cradlepoint. They’ve been very good to work with. We deal with a lot of vendors, and it’s always nice to have somebody that works really hard to take care of their customers. Cradlepoint does a great job at that."