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5 Key Challenges When Providing IT Support for Restaurants


Jose Alvarez

Managing Director of Infrastructure Technology

Keith Sayewitz

Commercial Managing Director & Restaurant Vertical Leader

In brief: 

  • Most multi-location restaurant brands struggle with help desk and POS support, which can lead to serious consequences like IT downtimes and loss of customer loyalty
  • Costs for hiring and training tech employees have risen due to the talent shortage in the US, hitting the quality of help desk support restaurants can provide
  • An effective Service Desk can serve as a one-stop shop for handling and resolving issues related to all IT infrastructure across restaurant locations, including POS
  • Moving to a proactive IT support model is critical for brands to stay ahead of the competition
  • AI and automation are critical for transforming restaurant’s IT service desk to provide effective and timely support

Restaurant operators today face multiple challenges, including rising food and labor costs, labor shortages, tighter margins, declining customer spend, and stiff competition – and they are increasingly turning to technology to solve these issues. When done right, technology can truly be a core business differentiator, but poor IT management and support can just as easily become another drag on your business.

Unfortunately, most multi-location restaurant brands struggle with effective management of help desk and POS support across their landscape as well as the supporting systems and infrastructure. Coordinating operations across diverse locations can be complicated: menu and pricing updates, third-party delivery synchronization, network connectivity, etc. while also being able to scale to accommodate growth.

Worse, IT downtimes can have disastrous consequences. This was demonstrated by the widespread outage of digital payments provider Square last year, which left many restaurants without the ability to accept credit card payments for more than half a day, forcing them to turn away customers or in some cases shut down for the day.

Customer loyalty can easily become a casualty here. Already a challenge due to growing competition, fast-changing consumer preferences, and tighter consumer spending, the odds of a customer changing loyalties are higher than ever before. In fact, a whopping 73% of consumers say they will abandon a brand they once felt loyal to after a single bad experience, a TCN Consumer Survey found.

Below we discuss the top challenges multi-location restaurant brands face in maintaining this complex ecosystem of store support, POS Management, Infrastructure Management, and proactive monitoring, and how Auxis effectively addresses these issues through our integrated services for restaurants.

1. Talent shortages and labor costs impact quality of IT support for restaurants

The severe IT labor shortage over the last few years has left IT departments of organizations across industries stretched thin, with Help Desk Tier 1 agent topping the list of hottest tech jobs on Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide.

Costs for hiring and training tech employees have risen as a direct consequence of the talent shortage, with even large corporations finding it difficult to hire in-house tech talent, particularly for help desk services.

Most enterprises solve this issue by working with a nearshore or offshore partner. However, restaurant brands are in a unique position as they need a partner who can understand the intricacies of supporting hundreds or even thousands of locations where the caller may be a restaurant worker with limited IT understanding. Beyond basic help desk knowledge, they need specialized knowledge in retail support, understand the complexities of third-party delivery orders and the underlying technology, and can solve issues in real-time.

Through our experience delivering innovative and customized IT solutions to multi-location enterprises since 1997, Auxis understands how a restaurant brand’s service desk can be a key enabler of core operations. We are helping leading restaurant brands overcome the severe IT talent shortage and high cost of labor in the U.S. by leveraging top quality talent from our nearshore delivery centers in Costa Rica and Colombia.

Restaurant IT Support: Transforming User Experience

We offer clients top talent working in an overlapping time zone with close cultural alignment, helping them strike a balance between proximity and affordability. Going beyond basic help desk skills, we offer highly educated support agents with critical-thinking acumen, industry-specific expertise, bilingual proficiency, and soft skills for effective communication, enabling faster issue resolution and better support for our clients, so they can deliver seamless dining experiences to their customers.

2. POS system outages bring restaurant sales to a grinding halt

POS systems today are critical to restaurant operations – handling payments, tracking sales transactions, controlling stock, inventory management, and more. Not surprisingly, POS problems can carry a heavy price, with stores losing approximately $855 per hour when a POS device goes down in a single store, according to a Retail Touchpoints survey of store managers. Remember the 2015 POS glitch which disabled POS systems at thousands of Starbucks stores and cost the coffee chain an estimated $3 million?

The average retailer experiences over 80 hours of unplanned downtime every year, with 87% of retailers having to wait for up to four hours for support.

The key to solving this is to work with an experienced partner to help clients resolve issues effectively, through prompt issue triaging, remote troubleshooting, and 24/7 support, so customers can avoid long wait times to have urgent issues resolved.

The Auxis Service Desk serves as a one-stop shop for handling and resolving issues related to all IT infrastructure across restaurant locations, including stability and availability of the POS system, integration with online and third-party delivery platforms, issues with robustness and security of the network infrastructure, etc.

This is complemented by our proactive monitoring and management services that we deliver via monitoring devices we install in restaurant locations to continuously monitor networks and pinpoint the cause of the outage, helping reduce the time taken to detect and resolve high-business-impact outages.

3. Implementing promotions and menu changes can be tough without effective POS administration

Restaurant brands often announce promotions timed for events like back to school, summer break, or specific holidays. The success of such promotions is heavily reliant on centralized POS administration and consistency across locations. This, and several other critical administration functions need more more complex POS software support. Finding the right talent to support this at the right price is challenging and sometimes even impossible.

Working with a partner who can provide talent with the right skill set and technical expertise to handle complex POS support tasks can ensure security, consistency, accuracy, and operational efficiency across the entire restaurant operation.

Auxis specializes in providing highly skilled nearshore resources who can handle this critical function to ensure customers get a consistent experience across locations and brands don’t miss out on sales spikes.

4. Restaurant IT needs to shift from firefighting to proactive mode

Outage of critical business apps annually cost retailers an average of $9.95 million, much higher than the $7.75 million annual outage cost across all industries, the New Relic survey found. But what if retailers could be aware of an impending outage, or better still, could ensure that the outage didn’t happen during business hours?

Moving on from the traditional reactive approach of IT support is critical for brands to stay ahead of the competition. Through the implementation of proactive management, brands can update software before lack of patching becomes an issue.

Auxis offers brands a unique approach to proactively address store IT satisfaction even when there are no problems. Our Health Check program schedules bi-annual calls with local stores to review ticket history, ensure satisfaction and provide a voice to locations to ensure problems are solved before becoming major issues and affecting business.

5. Automation to replace time-consuming, inefficient help desk processes

It is not enough in today’s competitive landscape to just have the ability to solve issues as they occur, especially when they come at as heavy a cost as restaurants are incurring today. Automation is key to changing this, and restaurant brands need to understand that AI and automation are as critical for transforming backend restaurant systems as they are for driving revenue in the front of the house.

Stretched IT help desks make it essential to have a self-service portal with automated knowledge bases as Level 0 support, so restaurant staff can find answers to common IT issues independently, reducing the need for raising tickets and speeding up problem resolution.

An automation partner should enable a restaurant’s IT service desk to provide effective and timely support by prioritizing issues, improving response times, streamlining routine tasks, and identifying recurring issues and introducing automations to resolve those without human intervention.

Automation is an integral part of Auxis’ IT support suite, and we implement a slew of automation initiatives for restaurant brands, including chatbots to enable agents to manage multiple interactions across channels, ticket creation bot, virtual agents to assist our service desk agents, automated ticket resolution, etc.

For instance, Auxis transformed restaurant IT support for a leading food service company’s 4,000-plus franchised locations by leveraging our highly skilled nearshore resources and innovative automation initiatives to deliver faster resolution of IT issues, better user experience, and 30% reduction in cost of operations.

Together with our pioneering Brand Protection services, Auxis’ IT retail, infrastructure monitoring, and POS support services present a comprehensive solution for multi-location restaurant operators looking to provide better support to their owned and/or franchised locations to ensure a unified brand experience for customers.

Schedule a consultation with our Restaurant Services experts today! Or, check out our restaurant industry success stories. To learn more about other restaurant industry services Auxis provides – including virtual audit and brand protection services – click here.

Written by

Managing Director of Infrastructure Technology
Jose leads our IT Outsourcing and Solutions practice and has extensive experience always delivering best practices. His expertise includes IT strategic planning, cost control programs, emerging technologies, IT operations and infrastructure management.

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