Network Setup for Restaurants

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Ideally, the full setup of the Information Technology network needs to be drafted out even before the cabling is specified and the rack space is planned. It is essentially the blueprint to the whole of the restaurants IT system. We know before we start planning that the heart of the network will be the coms cabinet. First we work out where the cabinet will be placed. Next we decide where all the devices will be placed around the building. Like the organs in our body they need to be placed in the best locations to fulfil their functions and maximise restaurant workflow. Our goal is not simply IT in nature. It is also to make things as easy as possible for the restaurant staff to offer first class, efficient service to their customers. After all, this is key to creating profit and making the venue a success.

As with the cabling infrastructure and the space in the cabinet racks, we need to know the location of all the devices that are initially being setup within the restaurant. Once this has been planned and documented, it then needs to be double checked with a 'measure twice, cut once' mental approach. We do not want to miss any key devices or systems at this early stage of the process. Following this work we need to future proof all parts of the network as best we can. Modern restaurants are not static. Things change. More systems go in and we cannot yet assume that all systems will be fully mobile and WiFi compatible. Also, many devices that are designed with both wired and wireless interfaces, work faster and more robustly when attached to the wired Local Area Network (LAN). Added to this, saving wireless bandwidth for the devices that must use the wireless LAN is often advantageous to overall network efficiency.

We certainly need to future proof the Ethernet cabling at the network planning stage so that the wired network can grow effectively. See more advice about this in the Cabling Restaurants page. Having planned the network, the cabling infrastructure and the cabinet pedantically, we will be ahead of the game. When the time comes to install all the IT devices, we are often not ready to do this. In pre-opening periods, builders will often be behind schedule, IT vendors will not be able to move their install days and the invitations to the VIP openings will have been printed and sent out. Being on top of the install at this point is priceless. Having a good plan enables you to re-act to last minute changes and find innovative solutions.

Having planned the systems and hardware installs well in advance will take the sting out of these difficult last minute setup periods. It will make juggling suppliers and installers much easier. It will also prevent vendors getting in each other’s way and save a lot of duplication and potentially conflicting network configuration. If someone is not in charge of this process, IT vendors often do things to the network that will conflict with other service providers. They are only concerned with their system. They will generally not worry about the efficiency of the network as a whole.

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MWDC Service Provision

"Pre-opening IT planning and the co-ordination of the physical install of systems, devices and service providers is perhaps the mainstay of what I do for clients. I started my career opening restaurants and hotels as a hospitality manager so I understand this process. I understand how stressful these periods are and how good planning and efficient procedures can mitigate many last minute hitches. Having done literally hundreds of restaurant, bar and coffee shop openings in the last thirty years I am pretty sure I can be a useful guy to have around during this key period. "