Quiznos Inc.: Replacing Modems with IP-Based Polling

Quiznos is IP-enabling their franchise locations to poll their NEC 4000 electronic cash registers, and to gather that data into a centralized database. With more than 5000 locations in their chain, this large-scale deployment of polling capability is what Quiznos needs to get a solid grasp on store-wide sales.

The compelling business case in the Quiznos story is repeated each time a LAVA customer sets up a polling link with the LAVA HQ-ST.

Quiznos Inc.: Replacing Modems with IP-Based Polling

For years, Quiznos Inc. debated whether it made sense to replace its infrastructure of electronic cash registers to take advantage of polling over the Internet. Quiznos did not want to forklift out their existing NEC 4000 cash registers from over 5000 franchise locations to install new registers, but polling using modems was expensive, slow, and unreliable. Numerous alternatives to modem polling were available, but each posed serious cost or deployment obstacles.

In 2007 Quiznos contacted LAVA's engineering group to see what could be done. Quiznos had already investigated LAVA's serial device server products but needed something more specific to their needs. The system that LAVA developed for Quiznos was specifically designed to address ease of installation at the stores; to enable fast, reliable polling; to be cost effective; and to be secure.

With the HQ-ST (headquarters-to-store) Link, Quiznos could reduce the number of phone lines per store from three to two, retaining one each for voice and fax. Since stores were already set up with high speed Internet access to allow franchisees to contact a Quiznos extranet, it made sense to also use that Internet connection for polling.

Together, the characteristics of the HQ-ST Link that LAVA developed made a compelling business case for Quiznos. When they saw it, they wanted the system and they wanted it fast. LAVA engineered and delivered working prototypes in two weeks; a full-scale rollout began in six weeks, and Quiznos was soon deploying ST Plus devices to stores at a rate of over 30 stores a day.

What is the LAVA HQ-ST Link?

LAVA's HQ-ST Link system creates a dedicated high-speed Internet connection from your polling computer to remote cash registers and POS stations. Operation is transparent to both the store hardware and to the polling software.

Quiznos's deployment of the HQ-ST Link consists of ST Plus devices installed at each store. These ST Plus devices communicate with an assigned and dedicated HQ-Plus device at the corporate office. The ST Plus devices are attached to the NEC 4000 cash registers (called "Q-POS" registers by Quiznos) in each store, and to the store's Internet connection. NEC's polling software RS-Connect, originally used for polling with modems,  runs on corporate office computers and can poll each cash register via the HQ Plus devices, without modifications.

NEC4000 POS system

The system has led to very considerable savings on Quiznos's polling. The following articles will give a detailed view of what Quiznos is doing; the details on the types and degrees of savings Quiznos is experiencing are outlined in the articles following those.

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