What happens when a franchise is excellent at making and delivering gourmet pizzas, but not so hot at connecting its technology across multiple stores? In its early days, Crust Pizza Bar was struggling with the disconnection between technology from its website, ordering system and POS tech between different stores, says senior franchise account manager Ray Gonzalez.
So how did Crust Pizza Bar transform its operations? LOOKUP got itself slice of the action.
A robust solution that can withstand the hottest pizza ovens
Prior to getting in touch with LOOKUP, Crust Pizza Bar was plagued by persistent hardware and software failures that were hurting both brand reputation and bottom line. In hardware alone, the failure rate was as high as 20 per cent per year across their 25 stores, says Ray, directly affecting the business’s potential for expansion.
The first port of call to counter this was the establishment of a robust and reliable POS system that held up to the same level of integrity as its reputation for excellent gourmet delivery pizza. In this case, it meant installing HP brand POS technology to match the quality of the Crust brand across all their existing stores.
Ray Gonzalez explains the reason why the premium HP brand was the right choice for the gourmet pizza brand:
“Guaranteed robustness, guaranteed redundancy and guaranteed up time,” says Ray. “With the HP’s robustness we implemented something called failover hardware. What this means is that the primary server unit contains copies of itself with in-built redundancies. You aren’t reliant on backup computers anymore to make sure you’re ready to go, you pretty much have a backup computer in the computer already.”
“This includes having a backup server of lower spec in addition the the ‘bells and whistles’ main one that, in the event of an accident, franchisees could literally take the hard drive out and put it into another terminal. It guarantees that if there were failures, the stores would be up in a flash so that both finances and brand reputation remain undamaged.”
The second challenge was to tackle the online ordering system. With the aid of a third party software house to provide a complementary solution, LOOKUP helped build a new system from the ground up, being the single point of call between so that LOOKUP could ensure Crust was getting what was best for its brand.
At the beginning of LOOKUP stepping in, the goal was to achieve a 5 per cent failure rate online, compared to over 30 per cent. The end result? Upon launch of the new POS system the team at Crust overshot their goal, with less than 2 per cent failure across all stores.
It’s not a technology thing, it’s a relationship thing.
From a technology standpoint, LOOKUP had successfully transformed Crust into a sleek, coherent operation. However, that was by no means LOOKUP’s end goal, as it’s the continued relationship that truly helps franchises grow, says Ray.
“No matter what technology we implement, the persistent factor is our support desk. It is the backbone of everything. At the time, Crust’s franchises were pretty much self-remedying all their issues themselves and making technical decisions. Once they partnered with LOOKUP, there was no more passing the buck. Ultimately, the technology comes from us and stops with us and we make sure all issues are resolved. Less back and forth, more resolutions,” says Ray.
Thanks to this ongoing support and the resulting expansion of Crust brand, it inevitably attracted the attention of RFG, a retail food conglomerate, who recently brought Crust into its fold. Yet, it wasn’t the end of LOOKUP’s relationship with Crust.
“We were ultimately kept on as both part of our service agreement and the excellent level of service we were providing to the previous owners. The larger RFG group saw our value, despite having their own IT support and kept us on for the Crust brand and actually sprinkled us across some of the other RFG brands for assistance and technical advisement,” says Ray.
To find out more, get in touch with LOOKUP today.
What happens when a company outgrows its current location? It moves, to bigger and better things.
To the average outsider, the relocation of Digital Camera Warehouse, a specialist photographic retailer, might have been something of a non-event. On Friday afternoon, over 60 head office staff switched off their computers and laptops to go home for the weekend, showing up to work on Monday morning in a shiny new office. Not much to write home about.
That’s exactly the point.
A grand move behind the scenes
The fact that the transition went unremarked to outsiders was only possible thanks to the monumental effort of those working behind the scenes. For the six months leading up to the move, Digital Camera Warehouse had been working closely with LOOKUP, to make sure this move went off without a hitch. Come the Monday after, employees could pick up where they left off with not just the same set up as before, but with the potential to grow into this shiny new office.
So how did LOOKUP help Digital Camera Warehouse pull off this feat? Well, it wouldn’t have been possible without LOOKUP’s 360-degree approach to assisting partners with every aspect of digital transformation.
Relocating: more than just the flick of a switch
To move a head office is not your everyday task for an IT company. An online retail business like Digital Camera Warehouse cannot function without its technical capabilities, so if the transition didn’t go perfectly, any downtime would be a costly hindrance to productivity and bottom line. Additionally, the point of the move was to find a more comfortable location to grow, so any transition had to also predict and account for any and all future technical demands, not just one of increased capacity, but anticipate what functions will be needed.
Joel Gardner, the senior account manager who worked closest with Digital Camera Warehouse during the move explains:
“There’s no point moving a computer and giving Digital Camera Warehouse less resources than it had previously. We needed to make sure staff not only had the same resources, but have more than what they actually needed currently, so that growth can happen in this new premise as well.”
A move of this size meant more than just piling laptops and desktops in the back of a van – it meant moving all of Digital Camera Warehouse’s technology, big and small. From internal servers, networks and computers, to liaising with security, electrical and phone migration so that everything transitioned to the exact same configuration with no loss of service come Monday morning.
And it all happened in a single weekend.
Asking the real questions, big and small
In Joel’s words, the months leading up to the move had been a rolling conversation, not just figuring out the logistics, but getting at the heart of what Digital Camera Warehouse needed to move forward as a company. Installing technical functionality in a space is straightforward enough, but to truly make the move a value-added venture, the question of how to make the most of each space needed to be answered.
“Questions ranged from the obvious, to the more detailed as the floor plans were sent through. Are there going to be meetings in these rooms? Will it need webcams? Will it need screens? What kind of presentations would be done here, and how would that all work? All of these needed to be answered well in advance.”
“We were meeting with Digital Camera Warehouse and external contractors regularly, covering fine details such as where each individual desk would go, along with questions of security and phone services so that everything was set up correctly.” said Joel.
When head office staff came to work the Monday after the move, and sat down at their desks, they could be forgiven for not seeing the work that went on during the months, weeks and days leading up to it. As far as LOOKUP’s concerned, that’s the sign of a job well done.
To find out more, get in touch with the team at LOOKUP today.
Success in one country doesn’t automatically guarantee success in another. To set up in a new location, a business has to say goodbye to the support of its home base, and forge a new path in unfamiliar territory.
The HR Department, an HR outsourcing and support company, had already achieved a high level of success in its home base the UK, with over 60 franchises to its name. Australia was its next target to branch out in, but in order to lay down successful roots, the company needed to find partners that could assist it with this venture. The UK and Australia might have much in common, but what works for one by no means works for another.
The HR Department reached out to LOOKUP for this very purpose. With 15 years of success assisting Australian franchises grow and achieve operational excellence, LOOKUP was in the perfect position to help The HR Department thrive in Australian soil.
New territory, new partner LOOKUP
Finding the right partner in a new country can be tricky, especially when it’s your first foray into this territory. However, the decision to partner with LOOKUP was easy. Beyond their experience and expertise with franchise groups, there were a few key capabilities LOOKUP brought to the table.
Firstly, LOOKUP assisted The HR Department in recreating its existing UK technology setup so that the Australian branch has access to the same systems that contributed to The HR Department’s success back home.
Secondly, LOOKUP worked closely with The HR Department to establish a consistent IT model for each franchise. This included ensuring all members were using the same technology, proper email accounts and a OneDrive cloud solution for all their data. A consistent approach to technology helps employees to communicate and collaborate across the same platforms. What’s more, a standard technology model ensures that as this business expands into Australia, each subsequent member will be fitted out in exactly the same way.
“Consistency means they can all collaborate the same way,” says senior account manager Joel Gardner. “In a BYOD model, you could bring all different sorts of tech, and that complicates things. If technology is consistent throughout the brand, it’ll enable them to grow and grow as more people are brought in.”
LOOKUP: One point of contact, one simple solution
A single point of call to guide The HR Department through the process of establishing itself in a new country has helped make the transition quick, smooth and straightforward. Because LOOKUP was able to cover all aspects of their technological needs, and could identify what capabilities the company would need moving forward, gave The HR Department peace of mind with this joint venture.
What technology was involved and why?
Making IT simple is easy with the right technology. With a comprehensive, holistic approach to current and future needs, LOOKUP was able to fit The HR Department out with the necessary tools to view, share and collaborate across all its documents and data.
Alongside fitting out users with the right hardware, LOOKUP also implemented the following digital capabilities:
- Microsoft office 365
- Skype for business
- Enterprise mobility suite
- SkyKick cloud backup
- Exclaimer cloud signatures
LOOKUP has a long history of helping franchises grow, from one store to 10, and from 10 to 200. No job is too big or small, and with our holistic approach to managed IT services, you can be sure we’ll find the right solution to your unique business needs.
To find out more, get in touch with our team today.
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