DOLPHIN FAST FOOD’S WIRELESS INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE STREAMLINED
COSTS AND OPERATIONS, WHILE MEETING THE NEEDS OF CUSTOMERS, STAFF
AND REGULATORS. By Greg Dolphin
Dolphin Fast Food, which operates 19 Burger King franchises in Minnesota, maintains a wireless LAN at each restaurant to provide
both public WiFi service for its customers and corporate wireless network access for its management. To comply with corporate
and regulatory security mandates to keep these public, corporate wireless, and point-of-sale networks separated, Greg Dolphin, the
company’s CEO, worked with a local service provider to consolidate the firm’s disparate and outdated wireless infrastructure. The
upgrade enabled Dolphin to improve customer service, staff productivity and regulatory compliance, while reducing IT overhead costs.
JOB SITE SUMMARY
IIN THE FAST, QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANT (QSR) industry, WiFi Internet access has become a staple over the last five years. Customers bring their wireless laptops, PDAs
and smartphones to our restaurants and expect to get online.
Today, if you don’t offer wireless, you are just not competitive.
To accommodate our customers’ WiFi demands, we provide free guest wireless Internet access in each of our franchise
dining rooms. At any of our 19 locations throughout Minnesota,
we have upward of 30 customers a day logging on.
WiFi also makes our restaurant managers and visiting district managers more productive by enabling them to work on
their laptops or PDAs in the dining room,. The corporate wireless networks give our managers on-site access to backoffice
PCs, printers and video surveillance systems.
Our corporate LAN infrastructure includes more than 10
primary servers, including Dell PowerEdge models, and 80 Dell
PC workstations, including Dell OptiPlex 755 and 745 models.
Managers have wireless access to files, e-mail and other business applications via the store’s site-to-site VPN, using virtual
IP technology, without having to use a software VPN client.
The corporate wireless network and staff wireless network
apply the same service set identifier (SSID) and WiFi Protected
Access (WPA) key, so staff can roam between our corporate
office and restaurant locations using the same wireless profile.
In addition, managers can gain Web access over the wireless
network to log into Web-based point-of-sale consoles to admin-
ister the restaurants’ Sicom and QuikServe POS registers.
AN AD HOC IMPLEMENTATION
When we built our wireless infrastructure, we found that we had
cobbled together a fragile daisy chain of separate devices. For
each restaurant, we would purchase, deploy, configure, power and
maintain a separate VPN firewall for the back-office network, a
separate wireless access controller and a separate router to split
off the customer WiFi services from the POS network.
Unfortunately, as often happens with ad hoc implementations,
this initial wireless deployment proved terribly unreliable, and
ultimately ended up increasing our network’s complexity, downtime and costs. When any one of the devices on the chain had
issues, it could undermine the entire wireless network. Wireless