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Trend Report: Mobile Device Management for Restaurants

As the digital landscape evolves at an unprecedented pace, MDM is a critical tool for restaurants to enhance the guest experience, streamline operations, and more.
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For restaurant operators, the mobile device has become a hub of customer service, operations, and security initiatives. Whether it’s a guest placing a mobile order or a server taking orders on a tablet, or the variety of methods for leveraging devices to manage workforce, inventory, kitchen operations, and more, the right mobile device management (MDM) is now critical. 

“Almost every device in a restaurant can be regarded as a mobile device,” says Vadim Parizher, VP of Technology, Taco Bell. “With the right MDM tool, you are able to keep these devices up-to-date and running. Ideally, MDM will help you with a full device lifecycle, from the initial deployment to firmware, OS, and application updates.”

One example of the transformative potential of the right MDM is how Esper provided MDM solutions to Ordermark, including:

  • No-touch deployment with a customized APK
  • Tooling for increased flexibility and the ability to deploy at scale
  • Customized integration with their Salesforce application 
  • Remote viewing for debugging and training
  • Support with custom device manufacturers

“The right device management tools ensure devices are doing what they’re supposed to be doing all the time,” says Yadhu Gopalan, CEO & Co-Founder, Esper. “That’s delivering exceptional customer experiences, simplifying staff experiences, updating devices rapidly, and minimizing device downtime.”

Here, we’ll take a deep dive — guided by experts from Taco Bell, White Castle, Starbucks, Earl Enterprises, Red's Savoy, and PDQ Chicken — into how MDM can enhance the guest experience, streamline operations, maximize hardware, and ensure safety and security.

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Executive Q&A: How Mobile Device Management Boosts Efficiency & Satisfaction

“When devices are operating optimally—they’re engaging, fast, and integrating with your entire business infrastructure—everyone benefits. New staff is trained faster, experienced staff sees continuously improving operations, customer satisfaction goes up, and even tips go up. The role of device management is to ensure those devices—whether they are self-ordering kiosks, point of sale terminals, kitchen display systems, or digital menus—are always working, always secure, and always delivering the latest and greatest experiences.” —Yadhu Gopalan, CEO & Co-Founder, Esper  READ MORE!
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Enhancing the Restaurant Guest Experience

One of the benefits of mobile device management is improving the restaurant guest experience, including faster and more efficient service, mobile ordering and payments, and personalization.

“MDM is about providing a consistent personalized experience as well as real time communication with the customer,” says Nick Buddell, Director of Information Technology, White Castle. “For instance, you may be able to track customer usage and behavior to understand how something is being used to help improve the customer experience.  At the same time, you can receive real time feedback from the customer to identify issues before they turn into a major problem. By gathering these metrics from the customer you can provide automated personalized notifications to provide a more memorable customer experience.”

“It is all about functionality and availability,” says Tom Seeker, CIO, Earl Enterprises. “It must work and it must be available. Customers will only get the benefits of the mobile device if it does the work as advertised. In addition, it must be in good working order and provide insights prior to failure to ensure efficient operations. MDM tools provide insights and visibility to both.”

“I see this as critical to ensure that any mobile devices used for managing in-store restaurant operations are configured properly, stay operational at a high level of availability, and in case of issues, are returned to service in a short amount of time,” says Flavio Diomede, Director, Retail Platform Technology, Starbucks.

“Implementing the right mobile device management (MDM) strategy can significantly enhance the customer experience in quick-service restaurants such as PDQ,” says Ken Bott, head of digital and loyalty, PDQ Chicken. “Working with our partner Paytronix, PDQ launched its mobile app in April 2021. Today, 80 percent of our loyalty members interact with the brand via this app. This enables PDQ to offer mobile ordering and payment options, reducing waiting times and improving efficiency.”

Holding smartphone

Streamlining Operations

MDM can be a crucial tool for streamlining restaurant operations, including front-of-house efficiency, communications, and back-of-house operations such as inventory and supply chain.

“Overall, an MDM solution allows IT to automate, control, and secure mobile devices that have access to the companies’ network,” says Buddell. “By using an MDM solution, it increases the efficiency of maintaining

 this equipment which allows for quicker deployment and structured configuration and security.”

“With our mobile app, Red’s Savoy is able to streamline operations by virtue of what we give our guests to put on their devices,” says Reed Daniels, CEO at Red's Savoy Pizza Franchise Corporation. “We’ve worked extensively with our partner Paytronix to think through the guest’s mobile experience and how we can use software to make that easier. As a result, we are able to focus on this one key tool and make it interactive in a one-to-one way. Our app takes a lot of work off of our operations and marketing teams by getting information to our guests.”

“Avoiding the need for remote connections (à la Remote Desktop) or a truck roll increase the effectiveness of the staff in-store and help maintain a high level of customer satisfaction,” says Diomede.

Maximizing Hardware

MDM can also enhance hardware usage by improving integration and compatibility, scaling and future-proofing, and training and support.

“Structured seamless deployment would be the first item that I would focus on,” says Buddell. “By making the process standardized you can save setup time, rapidly deploy devices in the field, as well as make changes to the devices across the company.  This would allow you to rapidly prototype changes without the immense overhead of manually pushing updates.  Ensuring device availability is another key aspect for maximizing restaurant technology value and by using the tools within the MDM to monitor the health of the devices you can maximize their uptime which is key to maximizing the customer experience.”

“We must ensure that the folks who manage the applications, or services hosted in mobile devices have appropriate and seamless access to MDM in a secure and editable way,” says Diomede. “These tools can be misused or applied in situations by mistake where the impact of improper usage can cause widespread service impacts.”

Ensuring Safety & Security

Security benefits of MDM can include data encryption and access control, device monitoring and remote wiping, and regular updates.

“Security is always top of mind, and choosing the right partner is key,” says Buddell. “When choosing the proper partner, you need to look at the overall security strategy of the company.  The software is used to administer and secure mobile devices and if the vendor’s security is not strong then it could leave your company vulnerable to supply chain attacks which could lead to loss of data, productivity, and impact the bottom line.”

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