Virtual Office Featured Article

New York Restaurant Group Goes VoIP

May 23, 2017
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

When you think of restaurants, you don’t often wonder about their telephone systems. You wonder about their menus, their chefs, their specials, their wine list, their beer selection and whether there’s a Groupon available to make the experience affordable. You don’t often wonder about their telephone systems. But in a high-competition environment like the New York restaurant scene, managing reservations becomes a back-office function that is critical to the health of the entire operation. If you’re leaving the reservation process up to a land-line and a harried hostess to answer the calls, you probably won’t last long, particularly if you’re a prominent upscale restaurant group that takes a significant portion of its reservation calls from overseas.

The Keith McNally Restaurant Group experiences high volumes of telephone traffic for all of its 14 restaurants. Wisely, the company uses a central reservation system, which moves the responsibility of handling reservations away from the individual restaurants. But the group was still relying on a Verizon-provisioned Centrex phone system with Toshiba (News - Alert) on-premises equipment that was costing it six figures in bills each year once services, equipment and repairs were factored in. Reporting for tracking call volume and call issues wasn't available, and repair response times were slow, according to an article by TechTarget’s Jennifer English.

“A consultancy proposed a VoIP telephone system, supported by VoIP Armor -- a virtual network functions (VNF) product from Mushroom Networks (News - Alert) Inc. that creates a voice over IP (VoIP) bonded tunnel,” she wrote. “So, the restaurant group sampled a new Mushroom-flavored ingredient. Mushroom Networks is a San Diego-based SD-WAN vendor that offers a range of SD-WAN and VNF products intended to help organizations maximize WAN usage.”

The result was a wholesale replacement of all telephony across 18 reservation agents as well as the corporate arm of the business, which is responsible for procurement and inventory. After implementing Mushroom VoIP Armor and the 8x8 virtual office platform, the restaurant group gained some important virtual office technological advantages.

"What we did was deploy 8x8 (News - Alert) on a subnet and route all the traffic, so normal traffic – the workstation traffic – goes through the B-Way circuit," Bob Nevans, CEO of consulting company Cloud Solutions Today (CSToday), told TechTarget. "Then, we created a 10-dot subnet and created an assignment protocol for static IP, so there was an identity between each subnet's static IP and each phone. It's a one-time configuration change for the firmware on the Polycom (News - Alert) VVX 500s, and you're up and running. All the heavy lifting was done by Mushroom."

The new solution has resulted in zero dropped calls, busy signals or downtime, unlike the previous system. The restaurant group can generate reports detailing who answers the phone, how many times the phone rang before it was picked up and peak call times throughout the day. This information allows the group to schedule and manage accordingly. Overall, the new approach has significantly reduced costs and made the organization more efficient.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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