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E la Carte

E la Carte


  • Centralized management for this Smart Dining™ technology & service provider
  • Cloud Managed MR, MS, and MX solutions provide scalable, secure infrastructure
  • Built-in troubleshooting tools offer deep visibility & remote management

“Think of us as a network within a network,” says Dan Smith, the Director of Operations and Information Security for E la Carte. Revolutionizing the future of smart dining, E la Carte provides a comprehensive guest ordering and pay­-at-­table solution for restaurants across the nation, with customers such as Applebee's, Johnny Rockets, and Outback Steakhouse. Dan and his team deploy and manage nearly one hundred thousand wireless tablets to provide this advanced dining solution, which securely connects to the point of sale system in each unique dining environment. This is where Meraki cloud managed access points and security appliances come into play.

Original Networking Challenges

  • Prior to Meraki, E la Carte was using consumer­-grade equipment to support their first customers
  • The team had to go on­site whenever something went wrong, which became very time consuming, cost prohibitive, and impossible to scale with a lean IT team
  • It became difficult to effectively manage and support customers with mismatched traditional networking products
We wanted to make sure that whatever vendor we chose would be someone who would be there in the long run and have a great tool to use; ultimately, we went with Meraki. Dan Smith, Director of Operations & Information Security, E la Carte

Why Cisco Meraki

  • The team needed to standardize and centrally manage their equipment, while remaining secure and scalable
  • They wanted to make sure that whatever vendor they chose would be there for the long run; partnering with the Meraki team was easy and the future proof cloud solution guarantees continuous feature updates
  • Built­-in PCI compliance and security are necessary to manage payments and sensitive data traversing the E la Carte network
  • Straightforward, simple solution makes it easy to onboard new IT team members

The Deployment

  • Proprietary E la Carte wireless tablets deployed to over 1700 restaurants, with 5 to ­10 locations being added every day; an average of 50 tablets per store
  • One Z1 or MX64 Security Appliance sits alongside the restaurant router at each location
  • A few 802.11n APs wire into the security appliance and provide wireless connection to all tablets in the restaurant
  • Meraki wireless, switching, and security solutions deployed to support E la Carte staff and on premise equipment in offices across the nation
  • Built­-in troubleshooting tools were a strong aid in deployment phases; for example, being able to remotely ping a device and check the channel utilization at any restaurant


  • Small IT team is able to remotely provide support for all restaurants with visibility and live tools like packet capture and traceroute, which is important since they’re managing around 3500 networks on any given day
  • Built-in alert features notify the team immediately if an AP goes down and integrates with their own software alerts to automatically create support tickets and escalate to appropriate tier
  • Troubleshooting tools are key as the team can see the health of a device at a glance, or dive into more complicated issues like DNS server and firewall issues all through the Meraki dashboard
  • Traffic shaping and bandwidth monitoring across Meraki full stack in E la Carte offices
  • Air Marshal feature frequently used to quickly detect and neutralize spoofs, malicious broadcasts, and packet floods that are trying to disrupt the network
  • “A good decision all around for us,” ­Dan Smith