Restaurants and quick-serve chains can leverage mobile devices in a variety ways at the front and back ends of their businesses. However, to be successful, organizations must guarantee that all mobile devices not only are managed efficiently but also equipped to deter theft.
Taco Bueno, a Tex-Mex style fast food chain based in the U.S., has partnered with AirWatch, a mobile security and device management solution provider, to maintain and protect the iPad investment. Currently, 175 tablets are being used across all Taco Bueno restaurants — one for each location. Additionally, 30 district managers, corporate executives and administrators use the devices on a regular basis. The tablets help streamline restaurant task management and employee training processes, according to Tim Collins, CIO of Taco Bueno.
The Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Wandering Wi-Fi solutions, both from AirWatch, work together to secure content and resources being shared through the iPads. Furthermore, detailed reporting available through the MDM solution allows Taco Bueno to track and monitor all devices in the network, which helps ensure uptime as well as decrease likelihood of theft.
With the AirWatch tools, “it is so easy for us to manage all of our devices and ensure they’re working correctly,” Collins said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “When we push updates to our corporate apps, we can tell how many iPads receive it and how much data is being used. All Taco Bueno recipes and training videos are directly sent to the devices, so we can run reports and verify that all iPads are downloading the information.” Collins explained that if an iPad doesn’t “check in” to the system, and the store Wi-Fi is active, the executive team will know a device is either broken or stolen.
Since implementing the iPad strategy in June 2012, Taco Bueno hasn’t lost a single iPad to theft, Collins stated. “When we decided to adopt iPads in our restaurants, we knew we needed a way to lock them down. One of our biggest concerns was that someone would steal the devices. AirWatch acts as a great deterrent for theft, because employees know that we have the tools and resources to track and control the devices.”
Integrating Tablets Across The Restaurant Environment
Using iPads, restaurant staff members instantly can access checklists for tasks that need to be completed throughout the day. Reports from all restaurants are updated in real time then are aggregated into a central location, so executives constantly can keep tabs on the business.
“Human resources gives each location a roster of tasks that need to be completed throughout the day, so if any health or operational issues come up, we can address them instantly,” Collins noted. “Previously, these checklists were completed with paper and pen, so there was no way to ensure compliance. Through the app we developed, the iPads allow us to consult records and make sure everyone is doing their respective jobs.”
Restaurant staff members must complete two key types of checklists throughout the day, Collins explained. A readiness checklist, which is completed at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., features 10 questions that help “make sure employees are prepared for their shifts.” Secondly, the quality assurance checklist is done three to four times each day to decrease health and safety risks. Questions focus on food temperature, cleanliness of location and lighting, among other factors.
To streamline training of new employees and introduce new processes, employees have instant access to educational videos and other resources through an iPad-based e-learning system, according to Collins.
“As staff members increase their learning, they take a series of quizzes so we can verify that they’re understanding and retaining all of the materials,” Collins said. He added that this method is helpful in ensuring that all applicants are placed in the right positions. “To be qualified for a specific title or role in a Taco Bueno location, employees have to complete and pass a certain number of quizzes.”
The e-learning system also is helpful in educating workers on the latest Taco Bueno products and marketing campaigns. As new products are released, training materials and resources are pushed to the tablets, so the executive team can see how many managers and employees are trained on the new offerings and initiatives.
During the rest of 2013, Taco Bueno plans to integrate more apps and features into the iPad for HR, inventory planning, employee scheduling and other areas of the business, Collins noted. Additionally, the executive team intends to add more iPads in each restaurant to optimize the customer-facing experience and decrease wait times.