Have you ever wondered what goes on during an outage?  Here’s your chance for a glimpse into what happens at CAKE when a system doesn’t perform as expected.  CAKE places the utmost importance on customer service.

CAKE prides itself on making it easy for you to run a restaurant.  We strive for excellence including the maximum up-time and reliability of all of our restaurant service products.  We have never had a total system outage.  However, it’s true that CAKE occasionally has disruptions – just like any other piece of technology, from your home cable TV, to the iPhone app console of your business bank.  Software and hardware inevitably suffer from the occasional hiccup.  That’s where the CAKE Restaurant Services team steps up.

Our customer support team is comprised of foodies and tech-types, fully embedded into our organization.  We have two functional contact centers and are adding a third.  Each CAKE support representative is a permanent employee, fully trained, and integrated into our culture. In fact, every CAKE employee has equity in our company. We find this increases their sense of ownership and accountability when taking calls and handling issues. Each agent has a sense of purpose and urgency when handling customer issues.

Passion is not optional here.  CAKE team members are always available and are constantly monitoring call volume, network status, and other data gleaned from internal tools in real time to assess the health of the overall CAKE network.  We employ countless automated monitoring tools that use statistical measurements to detect changes in our infrastructure and environment to better predict issues.  When we discover a situation that could potentially impact a customer or a group of customers we “sound the alarm”.  A CODE RED alert summons everyone from engineers to salespeople, trainers to marketing managers, admins to executives.  In most cases we are able to determine the root of the issue and take steps to correct the situation long before a restaurant operator experiences a problem.  In other rarer instances we swing into action to minimize disruption and return systems to normal working order as quickly as possible.

Every server knows what it’s like to be “in the weeds” and no one wants to be alone in that situation.  In a CODE RED event, all CAKE’s Restaurant Services team members join the support team members in responding to our customers.  This includes supervisors, managers, directors, and myself.  We quickly double or triple the number of available agents working phone calls, emails, and other channels of support while our engineering teams work to resolve issues.  Jim Belosic writes in Forbes: Why Everyone Should be Trained in Customer Support.

CAKE has engineers in California, Texas, and Sri Lanka; every single one of them is a full-time permanent CAKE employee, just like our support team.  During these events, it’s All Hands on Deck.  Critical leads are pulled out of meetings, woken up, or even called in from vacation when the situation warrants in order to put our restaurant customers first.  Even when we are working with vendors and partner companies to resolve a 3rd party issue, we always demand the same level of service and response on behalf of our customers.

Communication is paramount during such a frenzy.  We keep an internal chat room available during the entire event so all team members can share the most up-to-the-moment information with our customers.  We work to proactively message the POS terminals whenever possible and to put important service announcements on our support telephone line.  In most cases, issues are resolved in a few short minutes.  In cases where issues may persist for more than a few minutes, we activate our SMS alerts so we can notify our customers of changes and updates in a quick, efficient manner so as not to further interrupt the restaurant’s operations.

The most important part of a CODE RED event is what takes place after systems have returned to normal function.  CAKE takes these issues seriously.  We begin a full-scale investigation of the issues and root causes.  These are presented to the leadership team and executive staff along with proposals to prevent similar outages and issues in the future.  Our plans are enacted as quickly as possible and an accountable person and team are identified.  We make every effort to prevent recurrences.  In fact, CAKE has terminated relationships with partners who have not been able to uphold the high levels of up-time we expect and commit to our customers.

CAKE is committed to Simplicity, Reliability, and Accessibility.  With these values printed right on the walls around our offices, we strive to go above and beyond expectations.  Our love of food and restaurant culture drives every decision we make.

About the Author:  Wesley B. Wilson has spent well over a decade implementing systems and technology strategy in retail and hospitality enterprises.  While consistently looking for new, innovative ways to delight guests and customers through technology, he’s not afraid to embrace the tried-and-true.  Wesley is CAKE’s Vice President of Operations and Customer Experience and leads a team of over 40 hospitality and technology professionals demonstrating and demanding the CAKE pillars of passion, integrity, ambition, and smart recklessness.