QDOBA’s Transformation Anchored in SD-WAN
Since Jack in the Box spun off QDOBA Mexican Eats in March 2018, there have been a lot of behind-the-scenes changes, but what hasn’t changed is the retailer’s network.
“With a chain of 700-plus restaurants, it is important for us, from an IT department perspective, to have a strong and reliable network vendor partner so that we can focus on things that drive the business forward, such as guest experience,” says Eric Rosenzweig, vice president of Information Technology at QDOBA Restaurant Corp.
Before their separation, Jack in the Box and QDOBA shared services – IT, HR, accounting, staffing, infrastructure, and more. So when the fast-casual brand was spun off, “everything you can think of to run a company” was needed, Rosenzweig explains.
For years, Hughes has managed all broadband services and the entirety of the restaurant’s networking infrastructure across the enterprise, including Wi-Fi and guest Wi-Fi. It is also responsible for the brand’s PCI compliance for the HughesON™ Managed network.
After the separation, QDOBA hired more than 100 people to staff its corporate office. All the infrastructure, from email to financial systems, had to be set up, and its connections to the HughesON managed network had to be moved to a new data center. The stability of the network enabled QDOBA to adopt a cloud-first approach and embrace infrastructure as a service, “which allows us to grow or shrink without a capital investment,” Rosenzweig notes. “We were able to get up and running faster.”
Rosenzweig and his IT team of 13 people were able “to lift and shift applications and technology” without impacting the restaurants’ operations, thanks in great part to the stability of the HughesON infrastructure.
The IT team implemented a variety of cloud services, including Zscaler as part of its security stack, replacing a clunky whitelisting protocol that would take weeks to verify new websites.
In support of making things as efficient and seamless as possible, QDOBA’s IT team added the Okta Identity Cloud, providing secure identity management with Single Sign-On and added CrowdStrike for endpoint security.
“QDOBA provides technical support to franchisees and corporate locations alike,” Rosenzweig states. “QDOBA is in the process of becoming a PCI service provider, removing a large part of the burden of compliance for franchised locations. Thanks to Hughes’ attestation of compliance for PCI regarding our network, our work for PCI compliance is greatly reduced.”
With the groundwork for a solid tech infrastructure recreated in about nine months, QDOBA also tackled its guest-facing tech and ended up scrapping its entire digital system. A new website and mobile app, using technology from Paytronix for loyalty and integrated with Olo for online ordering, debuted in January.
When the transition was complete, “We saw no real degradation of sales through the entire go-live process,” Rosenzweig says.
“Hughes has been a dependable partner for many years and continues to be a good partner. Our relationship with Hughes allows us to focus on the most important aspect of our business: our guests.”