How a Fast-Casual Burger Chain’s Digital Transformation Fueled Growth

    More connected than ever, expanding chains require better networking capabilities.
    Sponsored Content | December 11, 2019

    Hopdoddy

    Sponsored by Netsurion

    Featured on “best burger” lists put out by Food & Wine and Everyday with Rachael Ray, Hopdoddy Burger Bar grew quickly. Within just five years of opening, Hopdoddy was doing $50 million in annual sales across 13 units, and now, with 35 units, shows no signs of slowing down. 

    But growth brought new challenges, particularly in connectivity. 

    Take spooling, for example. When a restaurant’s Internet shuts off, card transactions must be stored on hardware until a connection is reestablished. The risk is that if the card is expired, or out of funds, the restaurant will not know until the customer is gone, and the store is then responsible for any costs associated with the meal. While spooling is an issue for smaller brands, if a larger chain’s network goes down, the effect of this outage across stores can amount to monumental costs.

    Additionally, as consumers increasingly rely on cards and mobile transactions rather than cash, restaurants now possess an increased amount of customer information that must be kept safe in order to become Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliant amid an ever-growing list of reputation-damaging data breaches. Those data sets become increasingly larger as brands grow. 

    Spooling and cybersecurity were precisely the types of challenges Hopdoddy wanted to fix when it hired Jason Batten as manager of information technology in 2018. Batten knew the brand needed outside support in order to resolve these issues. After talking with a number of companies, Batten and Hopdoddy decided to partner with Netsurion, a holistic technology solution that specializes in working with quick-service restaurants to improve connectivity and network security while offering technical support. 

    To address the spooling issues, Netsurion helped Hopdoddy implement automatic cellular failover, a service that connects devices to 4G LTE service when broadband connectivity is temporarily unavailable or simply running too slowly. After the installation of automatic cellular failover and other connectivity and security measures, the positive effects were felt across the board at Hopdoddy. 

    “Our accountants loved having reduced credit card declines because of the network being offline. It makes their job that much easier,” Batten says. “And our GMs love Netsurion because it keeps them from spending large amounts of time on the phone with tech support. It used to sometimes take multiple phone calls to various companies to even diagnose what the issue was, but now, our GMs can be in touch with Netsurion, via our tech support company, and the problem is addressed immediately.”

    Another benefit of the transformation was better WiFi connectivity, which improved the customer experience and reduced the number of complaints staff received. 

    With so many Internet-connected devices now a part of everyday operations—and new technology must-haves such as online ordering, digital menus, loyalty programs, and kitchen technologies that require always-on connectivity—having a resilient connection to the Internet is now the very lifeblood of a modern restaurant.

    “This is a concern that’s only going to grow for operators,” says Mark Cornwell, chief information officer at Netsurion. “With how rapidly restaurants are evolving and moving to the cloud, a centralized network is going to be key in implementing new services across locations with the click of a button. That means that the digital transformation Hopdoddy underwent not only solved existing issues, but also positioned them for future growth.” 

    By Charlie Pogacar