Success Story

Dairy Queen franchisee increases year-over-year sales, keeps labour costs the same, thanks to Solink’s video surveillance camera system

October 23, 2020

The Challenge: Old security camera system isn’t proactive, can’t cope with manager shortage

Steven Galloway operates two Dairy Queen franchises in the Great Falls, MT area, as well as several hardware stores. During the writing of this piece, he was also pursuing public office. To say he is a busy man is an understatement.

dairy queen buildingDairy Queen is a widely recognized and multinational quick service restaurant brand. In the QSR business, regardless of the brand, every penny counts. Speed, efficiency and accuracy is paramount to maintain margins and ensure a great guest experience.

Even before the pandemic, Galloway struggled to keep a diligent eye on both of his DQ locations without actually being on-site. His operations suffered from what has become a chronic issue across the QSR industry — a shortage of capable managers he could trust.

Galloway wanted an effective remote monitoring system, along with advanced search features and audit capability, that would enable him to proactively manage issues at both locations from anywhere. His DQ locations operated with video surveillance systems from DTiQ, but these couldn’t deliver the real-time insight and system reliability that he required.

His search for a better option led to Solink, which gave him the visibility to bridge that critical manager gap.

“Once I had the demo, I was pretty much sold,” he said. “I like to move forward with new technology – but only if it’s been proven, first.”

See how Solink’s powerful analytics helps keep your restaurant efficient.

Solink deployed at both of Galloway’s DQ locations in December 2019, using a combination of new security cameras and the existing ones (28 cameras in all at one location, 12 at the other). Through Solink’s cloud video management platform, every security camera and its video footage became accessible to Galloway through his mobile phone.

Galloway could now keep a sharp eye on both operations through the Solink dashboard. “I can zoom in on a point of sale and not only count the denominations, but practically read the serial numbers on the bill,” he said.

“The really great part is how easily I can check up on the store if I have a few minutes. Flip out my iPhone, view a few cameras, and track service times.”

This capability became that much more valuable once the pandemic struck and both DQ locations had to close their dining rooms. Galloway, for example, routinely checks to see if too many vehicles are backing up in the drive-thru lane and whether staff are on station to ensure quick and efficient order fulfillment.

Compared to DTiQ, Galloway says Solink is delivering premium cloud video surveillance at a better price. Even DTiQ’s upgraded options can’t compare. This includes how Solink can complement his POS systems with rapid, data-driven insights.

“Solink can give me information easier than I get out of my actual POS system in some cases,” he said. “The way I can get a report that highlights anomalies in my register activity – I have nothing that compares in the actual POS software.”

This isn’t a coincidence. Dairy Queen has partnered with PAR Brink for POS and Solink already had an existing integration with PAR. It’s just one example of the various partnership ecosystems Solink continues to forge across the retail and restaurant industry to ensure all of a customer’s information systems are available.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch.

A woman is standing in front of a cash register in a restaurant.

The Benefits: Greater efficiency, higher profitability, less shrinkage

Thanks to his drive-thru, Galloway’s DQ locations saw a strong uptick in business in the summer of 2020 that offset the dining room closures.

“Sales during COVID are up 20 per cent or more,” he said. “Solink helped us manage the increase without having to add staff because I could easily oversee operations at both locations to keep everyone productive.”

Solink also proved its worth by identifying an employee who had decided to take advantage of his locations’ manager shortage.

Over a week, a total of $1,500 went missing due to employee theft. The losses were tracked against who had worked those shifts and Solink ran audits of the video camera footage on the point of sale. It quickly became evident that a single employee had been skimming cash.

The guilty party was confronted with irrefutable video evidence within a couple of days – hard evidence that could have also been provided to law enforcement.

In another instance, some employees had begun to take advantage of the system for discounted meals, again because of the manager shortage. Thanks to video integration with the point of sale, it was easy to pinpoint employee theft based on specific POS transactions. Solink even caught employees in the act of just taking food and walking out the door.

“Solink gives me a value-priced source of protection from all kinds of issues that can be happening in my business when I am not present,” Galloway said. “It really is like an added employee–one I can always trust to keep an eye on things, day in and day out, while I am busy with my other ventures. It’s a godsend.”