IT Disaster Of The Week (07-10-20)

Cabling Tim Sauer Jul 10, 2020
Tech Service Today (TST) IT disaster of network cabling hanging from a restaurant ceiling

Today's photo caption:  "Would you like PVC or plenum-rated Cable Fries with your burger?"

Welcome back to Tech Service Today's IT Disaster of the Week series where we showcase the ugliest IT environments our technicians run into.

Before we talk about this week's photo, we want you to consider what it's like to be the IT leader of a restaurant chain - especially a fast-food chain, or Quick-Serve Restaurants (QSRs) as they are now classified.

First, consider the sheer number of different technologies that you must manage in all your restaurants. There's the traditional point-of-sale (POS) equipment (cash registers and credit-card terminals), as well as video-surveillance/ security systems, drive-thru headset & intercom systems, telephone systems, and public-address/sound systems. Now add to that the automated drink-dispensing systems, digital menu boards behind the counter, digital order screens in the kitchen (so the cooks know what to make), wireless access points (for guests and/or staff), and even self-service, touch-screen kiosks that enable customers to order and pay for their meals without any human intervention from the restaurant staff.

Now think about when the best time is to have all that equipment - and the cabling that connects it all together - installed and/or replaced...especially when your restaurant is open 24x7. Kind of a daunting scenario, huh?

Stated simply, sometimes installations must occur during normal business hours. And while this can cause minor disruptions to some businesses, it gets especially tricky inside restaurants where food is being prepared and eaten.

This week's featured photo shows just such a project. And while it may appear to be a disaster at first glance, this was actually a very successful, well-performed installation. But we are using it to highlight how restaurant installs could become disasters if you haven't learned the things we've learned in our 10+ years of performing technology rollouts to restaurant chains consisting of anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand locations.

Here are TST's three tips for avoiding disasters when installing network cabling in an open restaurant:

TIP #1 – Always Cordon Off Your Work Area

While the cabling in this photo appears to be hanging directly in front of the patron at the counter, it is actually several feet way and hanging directly over the center-section of counter which was closed during this installation. In other words, a generous section of the seating in this restaurant was closed off to ensure the safety of our technician, the restaurant staff, and the patrons. If this were an open floor-plan type of restaurant, then our technician would have used construction cones, gates, and/or tape to create a work-area perimeter to prevent anyone from getting too close.

TIP #2 – Be VERY Careful When Removing Ceiling Tiles

If you’ve never removed a ceiling tile before, then just trust me when I say a lot of dust builds up on the top side of ceiling tiles. And when you remove one of those tiles, that dust will start falling if you tilt the tile too much. But even if you’re careful, you will still create falling dust from the edges of the tile when you remove them. So whenever accessing drop-ceilings, it’s important to mark off a wide-perimeter around you to ensure that dust stays away from diners. (If you hear a customer ask the waitress why there’s powdered sugar all over their spaghetti, then you didn’t cordon off a large enough area.)

TIP #3 – Make Sure Your Technicians Have Eaten Before They Arrive

Nothing slows a project down more than technicians who arrive unprepared…or really hungry. This is especially true when performing an installation in a restaurant that's filled with glorious aromas wafting from the kitchen. While the absence of any visible technicians in our featured photo might suggest that they are off eating instead of working, our technician was, in fact, taking this picture. And because he arrived with a full belly, he finished this project quickly and without significant disruption to the restaurant staff or diners.


If your business needs help installing or servicing the IT & telecom equipment and cabling in your remote facilities, just give us a call. With Tech Service Today (TST), scheduling a service technician takes about as long as ordering a cup of coffee. (Plus you'll know that anything floating in your coffee is either sugar or powdered creamer and not ceiling tile dust.)



Check back every Friday for TST's latest IT Disaster of the Week photo

which represents one of the thousands of customer sites our technicians visit every year as they install and service IT, networking, and telecom equipment & cabling for our clients. (You can also enter your email address in the Subscribe box to the right and we'll send you an email every time a new IT Disaster photo gets posted.)

Click here to see last week's IT Disaster photo.


Do you already have an IT disaster that needs to be cleaned up?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to install a network. But to ensure that your equipment, racks and cabling are installed properly in an organized, efficient fashion, it does require the talents of a skilled IT technician. If you need help installing or cleaning up your network, contact Tech Service Today to have a skilled, seasoned Technician dispatched to your site.

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