You can take the boys out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boys. In ‘86, some good ol’ Texans found themselves hunting for home style cookin’ in Canada…with little success. They knew there was one way to fix that. And that’s how the Lone Star Texas Grill came to be. Bold flavors, warm service, and a fantastic dining experience grew the business overnight, and now Lone Star boasts 24 locations across Canada. Lucky for Lone Star, Cisco Meraki and Cloud4Wi were able to provide the WiFi service, data, and analytics needed to support such a rapidly growing restaurant chain.
When you’re pursuing a passion, you don’t have time to be bogged down manually configuring switches or troubleshooting uplinks. Bob Macey, Lone Star’s senior product manager, understood his priorities, “First and foremost, we’re a restaurant company. We focus on food and service. […] We don’t want to spend a lot maintaining our IT.” This is why Macey and team knew the best solution for them would be cloud-based, easily deployed, quick, and reliable.
Tech revamps often beget tech headaches. But the Meraki cloud networking solution was able to alleviate the tech headaches before they started. No troubleshooting necessary. After a successful deployment in their flagship restaurant, Lone Star was ready to go full-Meraki. According to Macey, “Within two weeks we had rolled out [Meraki] to the rest of our locations”—19 in total. Full wifi coverage, data analytics, and customer info ready to go out of the box.
The analytics were one of the reasons we chose Cisco Meraki. Bob Macey, Senior Product Manager
Access points in each of Lone Star’s restaurants are not only providing Internet access for patrons and POS systems, but also tracking valuable data for the business. The Cisco Meraki Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) captures tremendous amounts of customer data. “The analytics were one of the reasons we chose Cisco Meraki,” says Macey, who plans on utilizing the information to create new menus, customize promotions, and interact with guests at a very high touch.
Pairing with Cloud4Wi’s Volare platform made this WiFi solution a no-brainer. Cloud4Wi, a Cisco Meraki technology partner, capitalizes on Meraki products to create an enhanced guest WiFi experience. Their state-of-the-art solution, Volare, allows Lone Star to recognize return customers and personalize the WiFi experience to maximize returns. Using the Meraki location analytics information, Volare pinpoints customer locations in real time. Perhaps the most advantageous feature is the ability for Lone Star to count the number of people walking past each restaurant. Volare can determine how many pedestrians are strolling by, or lingering for a few minutes to check out the menu. All without needing visitors to actually connect to the WiFi!
With Meraki and Volare, Lone Star has drastically expanded their social media presence. Cataloguing customers with a captive portal welcome page, Lone Star saw the number of VIP members (frequent customers) spike in the first 90 days. This translates to massive increases in email subscribers, and as a result, more effective and targeted promotions.
As Lone Star continues to grow, so will the ability to connect and interact with customers in a personal and meaningful way. There’s nowhere but forward with the tandem Meraki–Volare solution; as technology migrates to the cloud, Lone Star will lead marketing efforts in the restaurant and retail space.