- Delighting guests: Using RingCentral’s flexibility to experiment with routing options and automated greetings, Brinker is able to continually improve its caller experience.
- Streamlining operations: Unifying the organization on a shared communications platform, accessible from any device, has improved collaboration and staff workflows.
- Saving money: By replacing 1,100+ aging phone systems—and the maintenance costs they all required—Brinker has lowered its telecom expenses considerably.
Serving delicious meals to a million guests every day
You might not be familiar with the name Brinker International, but you do know—and you’ve probably visited—one of the company’s beloved restaurants, Chili’s® Bar & Grill and Maggiano’s Little Italy®.
Brinker owns, operates, or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants in dozens of countries around the world. The innovative company even introduced an all-virtual restaurant brand in 2020—It’s Just Wings®—which offers delivery or pickup at a Brinker-owned Chili’s® or Maggiano’s location®.
Trying to administer a thousand on-prem phone systems
Brinker owns and operates more than 1,100 restaurants (and franchises its brands to hundreds of other business owners). Network Architect Nate Hawley points out that every one of the 1,100+ locations under Brinker’s direct control was running its telecommunications on standard landlines and a legacy PBX.
“Because we had a different on-prem phone system at every restaurant, we couldn’t pivot efficiently. If we wanted to change some aspect of our automated phone menu at every location, it would literally take months. That meant we ended up with an inconsistent experience for guests calling in to different restaurants.”
But a lack of efficiency and functionality weren’t the only challenges, Nate explains. Maintaining Brinker’s aging phone infrastructure was also becoming very expensive.
“Some of these PBX systems were so old that we had to buy replacement parts on eBay. Support and maintenance were also costing a fortune because we had to send local IT providers out all the time to repair or update an old system.”
Streamlining telephony companywide with RingCentral
When they migrated Brinker to RingCentral’s cloud communications solution, Nate and his team were able to retire the outdated PBX systems at all of the company’s restaurants and the legacy system at company headquarters. This allowed Brinker to upgrade from a costly, decentralized, and feature-poor telecommunications infrastructure to an intuitive cloud environment that unified the entire organization and allowed the company to create a consistent experience for every restaurant caller.
As Nate explains, “There are a lot of positive things I can say about RingCentral. But maybe the most significant is this: My team and I went from overseeing and troubleshooting a thousand outdated phone systems, which needed help all the time, to administering just one telephony system companywide—which hardly needs any maintenance at all.”
Improving operations throughout the company
In addition to unifying the entire organization on a single communications platform, Brinker has also leveraged RingCentral to create significant efficiencies across the company, all of which were unachievable with Brinker’s decentralized phone infrastructure.
“Because RingCentral’s admin portal makes it so easy to make changes to the phone system—for a single restaurant or companywide—we can set up exactly the call flows and routing instructions we need want any location, and update them just as easily.”
Nate adds, “We also regularly use RingCentral to try out new ideas for managing call traffic and adding new content to our phone menus, to see where we can improve efficiencies and our guests’ experience. That’s something we could never do with our legacy phone infrastructure.”
Yet another advantage Nate points out is that his team can spin up communications service for new locations—an enormous timesaver overall considering how many restaurants Brinker opens each year.
“One of the big benefits of having RingCentral is that it’s easier than ever for us to roll out telephony and other communication services each time we open a new restaurant. That used to require setting up hardlines, sending out local IT teams for the installation, and a lot of waiting. Now we can do it all online from our headquarters.”
Enhancing the guest experience with RingCentral Contact Center
As Nate also notes, Brinker signed up for RingCentral Contact Center to help Brinker’s Restaurant Support team more efficiently cover guest calls at the company’s Dallas headquarters.
“RingCentral Contact Center gives our centralized support team all the tools they need to help backfill our restaurant locations when they’re experiencing high call volume. And because Contact Center gives us such granular call-data reporting and analytics, we use it to make sure we’re always properly staffing our support teams’ call queues to help our guests reach live agents as quickly as possible.”
Saving money on telephony
Even with all of the operational improvements Brinker is enjoying as a result of migrating to RingCentral, the company has actually lowered its overall communications costs. Nate explains how.
“We’re no longer buying parts on eBay to keep an antiquated PBX operational for one more year. We don’t need to hire local IT consultants all over the country to service our restaurants’ on-prem systems. And we’ve replaced several communication vendors—for video conferencing and fax, for example—with one predictable bill from RingCentral. It’s saving us a small fortune.”
Originally published Aug 08, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022