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 Post subject: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:39 pm 
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Lord of Scaratings
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http://hospitalitytechnology.edgl.com/n ... Wings92581

How Wings, Beer, Sports & a Tablet are Paying Off for Buffalo Wild Wings
By Abigail A. Lorden, Editor-in-Chief | May 06, 2014
Its mantra is simple, and can be summed up in three syllables: wings, beer, sports. By the end of 2015, those three things, plus an entire menu of multi-media gaming, music, and food and beverage, will be directly brokered by guests at all of Buffalo Wild Wings’ (BWW, www.buffalowildwings.com) 1,010+ locations. The Minneapolis-based company is currently in roll-out for a tablet solution that fully integrates its Aloha point of sale (www.ncr.com) with NTN Buzztime’s (www.buzztime.com) BEOND entertainment platform.

The tablets will be mounted at the table and pre-loaded with a mix of complimentary and paid entertainment choices, including trivia, poker and other multi-player games and music. Later this year BWW will add its full food and beverage menu. Check settlement for all purchases will be integrated into a single transaction: games, drinks, music, etc., in one bill. And responding to a common request in the sports bar segment, guests will be able to split their checks themselves and pay directly via the tableside tablet.

Already available in 150+ corporate locations, the tablets replace existing trivia consoles and the company is on track for a system wide roll-out by the end of 2015.

In this exclusive Q&A, Hospitality Technology talks to Karen Bird, vice president of information technology for Buffalo Wild Wings, about some of the technical aspects of the project, including its impact on in-store WiFi. Bird also shares feedback on how BWW’s marketing and IT teams collaborated with each other and with suppliers on the project, and offers up her predictions for how mobile will continue to evolve in the restaurant industry.


HT: First, can you give a little background on the decision to overhaul the tablet experience at Buffalo Wild Wings?

We’re an experience restaurant, and we’re always looking for ways to enhance that experience. Buffalo Wild Wings is about wings, beer and sports, and it’s our objective to create the ultimate social experience for sports fans.
As a part of that, we’ve offered tablet devices that are used for game play. They’re about one-foot by one-foot in size, so they take up a lot of table real estate and we can’t bring in additional functionality. At the same time that we were looking to improve the experience, our guests were looking for ordering and payment at the table. We tried to do it five years ago, but technology then wasn’t ready. Then about two years ago, we again started looking at how to update the table experience with something our guests were looking to use. We created a team — our “Guest Experience and Innovation Group”— that brought in an internal team and our partners to bring a new tablet solution into our restaurants.

HT: What were some of your requirements for the solution, in terms of both the application and the hardware?

In terms of the application, we wanted to build a single system for order-and-pay between the gaming and content piece, and food and beverage items. We wanted a single reconciliation process for our servers, and a single interface for adding menu items and updating prices. We started working with our partners to develop an integrated system between the POS and the tableside gaming device. We use NCR’s Aloha POS and we worked with Buzztime for the tablet and gaming application. With this integration, guests can use the tablet to order premium games, music, food and beverages, all through our POS on a single check.

On the hardware side, we knew we didn’t want an iOS device. We wanted something we could lock down and control, and that would also be just large enough for game play but a smaller footprint than our former devices. Buzztime presented us with Samsung’s 7” Galaxy tablet (www.samsung.com/us/business) with a hardened shell, and it was a great solution.

HT: How is the new system impacting your in-store networks? Are you
upgrading?

We do have guest-facing WiFi in all of our restaurants today. But with all of the things that we’re doing and the number of devices, we realized that the current infrastructure wouldn’t support our technology. We’re completely overhauling our in-store networks and piloting business-class guest WiFi from Cisco (www.cisco.com) in our company-owned restaurants. We will segment the network, and we have some pretty high-speed bandwidth requirements. We’ll use a minimum of 35/5 Mbps for the guest network, and we’re rolling that out currently.

For Buffalo Wild Wings, events like March Madness, Fantasy Football and the Super Bowl of course, create significant demand on connectivity. When you get 100+ people in your restaurant all using multiple devices, you have to have robust WiFi.

HT: Can you share some insights about the development and roll-out process?

We didn’t get technically involved in actual development work, but we have been very involved in putting together the business requirements. NCR has done a lot of work on the integration side, and our marketing department has worked with them on the visual content development for the tablet.

To date, with what we’ve rolled out, there’s been no officialtraining needed. People — including kids and adults — you put a tablet in their hands, and they know how to use it. As we add more advanced applications, specifically around order and pay, we will need more of an introduction to our guests, but it should be easy and intuitive.

I took my two grandchildren, ages seven and ten, to the restaurant and let them play with the tablets and they absolutely loved them.

HT: This roll-out is yet another example of the cross-over between marketing and technology teams.How did that collaboration play
out for Buffalo Wild Wings?

The guest experience and innovation team is business owner of this project. No project is an IT project any more. IT provides project management, integration, and testing; marketing provides all of the graphic art; and the operations team is responsible for implementation and training.

As to collaboration between technology and marketing, I say, “bring them in early and often.” You have to be part of a team and talk to each other. Not just internally, but especially when you’re relying on vendor partners. We go to Atlanta as a team to meet with NCR. You literally do have to bring everyone together, face to face, to communicate on the project.

With this project, we started about a year ago with a strategic operational planning session and one of the things we started talking about was, what are the other projects IT needs to pay attention to — EMV, for example. We all have EMV staring down at us and that concerns me. So, as an example of how we break down the language barriers and create shared understanding, we literally brought in all the teams for a day-long session to talk about EMV. At the beginning of the day, some people understood it and some didn’t. But by the end of the meeting we had common ground, and that lets you prioritize IT resources across business projects.

HT: When we spoke recently, you mentioned that you see the guests’ own devices as the end-game for ordering and especially payment. How does that reconcile with the application you’re investing in today?

I truly personally believe that the tablet technology we’re working on today is a short-term, interim solution. It’ll provide us the knowledge and understanding we need, but will ultimately transition to a BYOD model on the guests’ own devices. Guests are going to want to do things more and more with their own devices. Having said that, there will still be a population of guests that won’t gravitate towards that model — they’ll still want to be serviced by our team members. I think over the next three-to-four years we’ll start to see this become much more common.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:46 pm
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Location: Cricketers 54, New Port Richey, FL
This is a very interesting article and thanks to SCAR for bringing it to our attention.

Any discussion of BWW brings strong opinions from NTN hardcore players, so here's what I think about them. I haven't been to all of them--my spreadsheet shows I've only played at 21 BWW's so I have about a thousand to go. Personally I think they do a great job with NTN. Most of the places I've been had a higher system knowledge than other bars. They promote the game well and keep their equipment in better working order than most locations.

I'm not fond of the noise level or the furniture in every BWW I've visited. The noise level is, I'm sure, part of their rah-rah sports enthusiasm motif and it's probably appreciated by young sports bar enthusiasts while at the same time less attractive to older trivia players who would prefer a quieter venue for team trivia play. The furniture issue still begs explaining to me: why does a chain that encourages customers to come in to watch a game put them in such uncomfortable seating? Except for the seats at the bar, BWW's feature high-top tables with backless stools and hardwood booths with ninety degree seatbacks and unpadded seats. Such furnishings are usually chosen to deliberately improve turnover. But a bar that contracts with NTN to use trivia games to encourage patrons to stay longer and spend more money should want to give their customers a comfortable seat. I don't get it?


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 10:24 am 
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Lord or Lady Postsalot
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Location: Michael's Sports Pub & Grill, Westminster, CA
Someone had posted here earlier that the backless stools are being replaced by ones with backs. I did notice locally that one site has already replaced their backless stools. In the past the site did have the backless ones. However, the noise level is much too loud as you have to shout in order for your fellow trivia player to hear you, who is seated next to you.

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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 5:00 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postalot

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scar wrote:
.

The tablets will be mounted at the table.


And yet another problem for us multiboxers, as it sounds as though the free-moving tablets COOGS and I played on a few weeks ago at a non-BWW will be replaced with ones whose position is fixed in a way I suspect will make it very difficult for a single person to use more than one at a time.

We don't really play much at BWW, so perhaps it won't really affect us, but I guess the solution would be to bring our current iPad and pick up some cheap Androids.

Brooke/AARDVK


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 5:09 pm 
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Lord of Scaratings
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AARDVK wrote:
scar wrote:
.

The tablets will be mounted at the table.


And yet another problem for us multiboxers, as it sounds as though the free-moving tablets COOGS and I played on a few weeks ago at a non-BWW will be replaced with ones whose position is fixed in a way I suspect will make it very difficult for a single person to use more than one at a time.

We don't really play much at BWW, so perhaps it won't really affect us, but I guess the solution would be to bring our current iPad and pick up some cheap Androids.

Brooke/AARDVK


The ones I have scene are mounted on a much nicer charging unit hanging verticallyon the wall, not bolted individually to a table.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:43 pm
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Location: BWW Henderson, NV
BWW is under attack:

http://www.winningatwildwings.com/conte ... b-2017.pdf

Tablets and buzztime are discussed, may be upcoming changes! Good or Bad??


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:40 pm 
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Lord of Scaratings
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Well that was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing that.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:04 am 
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scar wrote:
Well that was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing that.


Does not look good for Buzztime at B-dubs. The end is near?


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:38 pm 
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cards wrote:
scar wrote:
Well that was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing that.


Does not look good for Buzztime at B-dubs. The end is near?


Not true Cards, you've been saying that for years,still not happening. The presentation clearly said that BWW was sticking with Buzztime because of the trivia players. BWW did not want to lose all the trivia players if BWW were to switch to the Ziosk system which doesn't have a trivia network. I believe that system is what was tried in MN recently and quickly shot down by the trivia players. (see other thread)

The other items besides that order/payment by tablet delay in the presentation shows BWW is doing just fine. The guest captains stuff is baby shit, no one cares about that except the investor group trying to whine their way into a board seat. The 1st part about not quite getting 20% margins again means BWW is doing great. Just under 20% is actually good, just not as high as the cry babies at Marcato Capital wanted.

Buzztime is staying at BWW, they will figure out the order/payment part.

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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Lord of Scaratings
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BUD wrote:
cards wrote:
scar wrote:
Well that was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing that.


Does not look good for Buzztime at B-dubs. The end is near?


Not true Cards, you've been saying that for years,still not happening. The presentation clearly said that BWW was sticking with Buzztime because of the trivia players. BWW did not want to lose all the trivia players if BWW were to switch to the Ziosk system which doesn't have a trivia network. I believe that system is what was tried in MN recently and quickly shot down by the trivia players. (see other thread)

The other items besides that order/payment by tablet delay in the presentation shows BWW is doing just fine. The guest captains stuff is baby shit, no one cares about that except the investor group trying to whine their way into a board seat. The 1st part about not quite getting 20% margins again means BWW is doing great. Just under 20% is actually good, just not as high as the cry babies at Marcato Capital wanted.

Buzztime is staying at BWW, they will figure out the order/payment part.


You have more faith in BT's tech than I do, Bud. Hope you are right.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Catch

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It was tried at Eagan BWW.I was told it was not a success.They need to concentrate on their core business and leave the trivia to buzztime.Since they returned to buzztime several regulars that left are now back.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:18 am 
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Golden Tee Master
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BUD wrote:
cards wrote:
scar wrote:
Well that was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing that.


Does not look good for Buzztime at B-dubs. The end is near?


Not true Cards, you've been saying that for years,still not happening. The presentation clearly said that BWW was sticking with Buzztime because of the trivia players. BWW did not want to lose all the trivia players if BWW were to switch to the Ziosk system which doesn't have a trivia network. I believe that system is what was tried in MN recently and quickly shot down by the trivia players. (see other thread)

The other items besides that order/payment by tablet delay in the presentation shows BWW is doing just fine. The guest captains stuff is baby shit, no one cares about that except the investor group trying to whine their way into a board seat. The 1st part about not quite getting 20% margins again means BWW is doing great. Just under 20% is actually good, just not as high as the cry babies at Marcato Capital wanted.

Buzztime is staying at BWW, they will figure out the order/payment part.


Well it's well known I have no love for B-dubs. But, this is not the basis for my comment. The wave of the future in the restaurant business is automation in ordering and payment. Fast food companies are looking to cut back wage costs as wages go higher. In 2 to 3 years you will be walking into a chain restaurant and ordering / paying from a pad or other device. It's going to happen. I don't see Buzztime as one of the companies offering that service. Makes no sense for B-dubs to have pads from two different companies in their stores. It's all about cost and IMO Buzztime is not the solution in lowering operating costs for B-dubs based on their past history in technological development. Another company will get the pad business from B-dubs and Buzztime will get kicked to the curb.


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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:08 pm 
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Well, hell. :roll: From what this lil old grump has seen at a few of the BWWs in Buzztime's Site-Poor Backyard, apparently some other tablet-like devices are being used to input food and drink orders. :o Whilst unable to get a really close look at them, nevertheless something tells me that they aren't Buzztime's.

Also, since the Fast Break Lunch promotion seems to have done well, supposedly a direction has been sent down to have all tablets out on tables at the start of the day for use as fifteen minute timers. :evil: This could be alright if all BWWs had their full complement of tablets, but at least a couple here in Buzztime's Site-Poor Backyard have been woefully short for some time. :(

Further, it remains to be seen if Buzztime will eventually provide those BWWs with first generation tablets either refurbished first generation (which in some cases have vastly improved battery life :) ) or the third generation tablets with proven improved battery life. Apparently customers not playing Buzztime network trivia games have no issue with tablet battery life :roll:, but to say the least battery life is a major and serious issue to longtime network players like this lil old grump. :cry:

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liljol, still residing in a humble lil abode in NTN Buzztime's Site-Poor Backyard, San Diego County, in The Horribly Site-Poor Golden State, California...

<--800 NTN Buzztime sites visited as of November 30, 2017...

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 Post subject: Re: BWW Tablet article
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Lord or Lady Postsalot
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Location: Michael's Sports Pub & Grill, Westminster, CA
You're right about the tablets at BWWs. For instance, locally (Orange, CA), one site has the first generation tablets. Only one of thirty is operational. Even the hard reset doesn't bring them online. The other site has the third generation tablets. Practically all of them work.

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