No matter how hard you try or how little you sleep, you can’t be in two places at once. That’s why operating multiple businesses requires handing off some control and responsibility. But what if you could literally check in on your properties from home at any time and see what is happening on site? Susan McCart, a franchisee and now part corporate owner of Yogurtology, a premium frozen yogurt store chain, found that with the ELAN control system pulling together the lighting, HVAC, audio, video, energy management, security and surveillance, she’s never more than a smartphone tap away from the pulse of her businesses.
According to Sarasota-based electronics integrator Mark van den Broek, the ELAN system made such an impression in the first store that McCart is going to install nearly identical systems in her other four franchise locations in the next two months.
“When we talk about control systems in food establishments it’s usually focused on audio and video, and maybe security,” van den Broek said, “but together, Susan and I created a very powerful tool for her to manage her multiple locations. Once all five stores are finished, she’ll know for certain that all the lights, TVs, audio equipment and registers turn on 30 minutes before opening and turn off 30 minutes after closing. She’ll know how many people are going in and out of each store each day through intelligent software that parses the surveillance camera recordings. Best of all, she’ll be able to quickly login to each location from the ELAN g! app on her smartphone or tablet, from anywhere in the world, any time, and view live video feeds plus see the status of the lighting, A/V and climate control at each store.”
Consolidating the utilities of multiple physical locations into a single smartphone app is a monumental shift in small business management. While individual locations obviously still require managers, franchise owners with this kind of instant access can get the truest sense ever available of what goes on in their restaurants. Beyond the owner accessibility, automation offers promises to cut maintenance and daily hassles from the staff, freeing them up to interact with consumers and enjoy their work more. By scheduling lighting, A/V and HVAC systems, the owners can closely monitor and adjust their energy usage across multiple locations. The ELAN system’s climate history feature provides a snapshot of energy use over time, which can help guide decisions and ultimately provide significant energy and cost savings.
The first Yogurtology store to receive the ELAN system features seven 42” TVs, seven speakers from SpeakerCraft and Niles, eight IP surveillance cameras, a 4TB NAS drive to keep surveillance footage, Lutron Radio Ra2 lighting, Leviton HVAC control and a commercial WiFi access point to provide consistent coverage throughout the store.
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