Brett Babick, David and Mike Gianascoli, and Chris Paphites, the partners of Desert Wings, can turn on, set up and change the channel on all 62 TVs at once at each of their three Southern California Buffalo Wild Wings locations, and all from an iPod touch with the ELAN g! Control System. With this system, it doesn’t take a whole team of employees to manage and constantly change the channel on 62 TVs, which was precisely the problem they had in a restaurant they previously owned.
“In the old restaurant, we used a system that we thought gave us top-of-the-line video distribution and control,” said Babick. “All the TVs were physically controlled from a central point, where we had to walk over and manually switch to control a specific TV set, then change the channel for just that set. In an establishment like Buffalo Wild Wings, we can have up to 70 TVs showing almost a dozen different sporting events, so any time a customer asks us to change the channel it was incredibly inconvenient and time consuming to manually identify and adjust each TV.”
So when they decided to open three new Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Southern California, they turned to Craig Curran at Smart Systems Technologies (SST) to design a fluid, simple-to-operate audio/video system, based on the ELAN g! Control System. With an innovative interface that is uniform across all platforms, including iPhones, iPads, PCs and even retail POS (point-of-sale) terminals, ELAN g! provides users with incredibly simple control over the entire audio/video system, and can even expand to control lighting and monitor surveillance cameras.
“I came into Brett’s previous restaurant and showed him how we could improve the system and make it much simpler to use and manage,” Curran said. “We agreed that embracing new, better technology in the three new locations would be the best thing for him and his customers, and would remove some of the hassle and headaches.”
“As soon as Craig changed the channel from a handheld device he had, I was sold,” said Babick. “Now, we have select employees who can access the AV control system through 10 or more POS terminals and the manager can even control the TVs with an iPod touch we bought for each restaurant! Thanks to the POS integration, we can control the system from more than a dozen spots. We used to literally use hand signals to relay customer requests, and a manager or I would have to leave the floor. Now with our new system, the instant a customer asks us to change a TV, it’s done. Some customers have actually said ‘Wow, how did you do that?’ when they saw us use the iPod. Now there’s no leaving the restaurant floor, no time wasted.”
Thanks in part to the ELAN g! system, Babick believes that they’ve “got the best Buffalo Wild Wings in the country.” In fact, one of their locations is ranked one of the company’s top 10 franchises. In addition to seamless, instant control, they set up the ELAN g! Control System to automatically turn on and set the channel on every TV at 10:30 a.m. before they open, and automatically turn off at midnight when they close.
One of his favorite features is the ability to display personal marketing messages right on the TVs. “Now we can run a ‘ticker’ on the bottom of any TV we want, just like ESPN does. We use it to promote specials and let customers know what games are coming up, and it really adds a sense of professionalism whenever you see that on the screen,” Babick said.
Desert Wings’ Buffalo Wild Wings locations have up to 62 TVs, including up to a dozen 11-foot and one 13-foot HD projection screens and up to 49 HD LCD TVs, most of which are 55” LG sets. He can show 16 different video feeds at once, combining 10 DirecTV receivers and a DVD player as well as internal marketing programming. The ELAN g! Control System also controls the restaurants’ audio systems, which have up to 30 speakers in six discrete zones, allowing customers to listen to music in one section and the big game’s play-by-play in another.
Curran sees the ELAN g! Control System as one of the best new tools for business owners, as well as installers. “The price point and ability to duplicate installations are making media integration and distribution more available for the mass market,” he remarked. “And it’s the same with automation. Not having to custom program subsystems and graphical user interfaces makes it much more attractive and infinitely simpler to use. You can control everything – security, surveillance, lighting, heating and air conditioning, audio/video systems – right from your PC, iPhone or iPod. Automation has never been easier, or as affordable.”
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