Feeding the Consumer’s Need for Speed Demands an Innovative Network Solution

Feeding the Consumer’s Need for Speed Demands an Innovative Network Solution

This is a synopsis of a presentation EarthLink made with customer TGI Fridays at the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Conference held Dec. 5-8, 2016 in Las Vegas. The topic was “A No-Hype 3 Step Guide to Transforming your WAN,” and featured a terrific explanation of how the popular and innovative restaurant chain supported their customer experience initiatives with new SD-WAN Concierge technology from EarthLink. 


From restaurants to retailers nothing can impede the need for speed when serving customers. If diners have to wait too long for a table, or shoppers spy a longer-than-normal checkout line, you may lose them – in the blink of an eye – to competitors. That unquenchable thirst for quickness extends online, including social and digital platforms that are increasingly driving customer engagement and satisfaction and ultimately a network solution to meet these needs.

Consumers are demanding that their experience with a brand be unencumbered by needless delays and expect those that serve them to know who they are and provide a more personalized experience. To accomplish this, businesses must reshape both in-store digital and mobile experiences and deliver a unified experience across all of their platforms. In fact, 87% of restaurateurs believe that incorporating technology into their restaurants would help attract more customers, according to an American Express Restaurant Trade Survey.

Knowing that even the most innovative apps or intuitive websites are useless if the network can’t keep them up and running 24/7, TGI Friday’s engaged EarthLink to implement a wide area network that would support its customer experience platforms.

Serving more than 500,000 guests every day, TGI Fridays is well familiar with the battle for restaurant share and knows that the key to success is building share of mind, not just share of stomach. To achieve this goal, the brand is focused on connecting with guests when and where they choose through innovative apps and technology across all of its channels.

Starting tableside, guests no longer have to wait to pay their check, thanks to a mobile pay feature launched Summer of 2016. By giving guests the opportunity to control the conclusion of the transaction on their terms, and without additional intervention, the restaurant chain solved a clear pain point felt across the industry.

For those who dine at on-the-go, an improved digital online ordering platform allows diners to place “to go” orders with lightening-like speed by tapping into personalized data on order history and frequency, food/bar preferences, location, and other insights to create one-click order options and provide exclusive promotions and targeted reminders. Surveys reveal that guests love the new and easy way to place carryout orders and to-go business has tripled since the new platform was implemented.

Extending the anytime, anywhere connection with customers beyond the dining experience, TGI Friday’s created a social media command center that monitors and responds to customers in real-time across social platforms. It is staffed both by Fridays team members and automated “chat bots” for even quicker interactions.

With so many technology-driven customer touch points relying on 24/7 access and speed, any glitches in systems and platforms can spell disaster for today’s restaurants. No one – from customers to bartenders to servers – thinks about technology until something goes wrong and it fails to work. Then, and suddenly, it becomes visible and highly annoying to all stakeholders impacted by it.

Given the breadth of digital features and interactions that must occur seamlessly on a daily basis, “always on” technology is the linchpin to the restaurant’s success and growth. This is especially true as the complexity of the systems increases as TGI Friday’s continues to enhance and expand its customer-facing technology.

A reliable, high-speed telecommunications network is vital to ensure that customer experiences are delivered smoothly and effectively, across all channels. To meet this critical need, TGI Friday’s moved to Earthlink’s SD-WAN, a cloud-delivered network service designed to optimize performance and reliability to meet consumers’ expectations for speed and accessibility.

In doing so, they can leverage next generation integration and analytics, while furthering high availability (HA) network switching and other performance metrics and maintaining heightened security protocols.

Beyond 100 percent uptime guarantees and the confidence to support all applications, TGI Fridays SD-WAN network allows a different level of engagement between team members and guests than either group has experienced before.

With the right network infrastructure in place, TGI Friday’s can boldly embrace progressive new resources to stay ahead of competitors and win both share of stomach and share of mind with consumers.


Missed the presentation?

Jay Ferro Jay Ferro (3 Posts)

Jay Ferro is EarthLink’s EVP, Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining the company in 2016, Jay held similar positions leading transformational IT efforts with the American Cancer Society, AdCare Health Systems, a health care facility management company, and AIG Aerospace, the aerospace insurance unit of American International Group (AIG). Prior to that, he served as CFO for Operations and Systems for AIG Aerospace. Jay has a BA from The University of Georgia and an MBA from the University’s Terry College of Business and is involved in a wide variety of charitable and community service organizations.


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