October 4, 2001, 12:00 AM

Schlotzky’s restaurant chain is linking its 700 outlets via the web

Schlotzsky`s is linking its 700 restaurants through the Internet, beefing up its web site, linking its POS system to the web and opening wireless stores where customers can order and pay via PDAs or web-enabled cell phones.

Austin, TX-based Schlotzsky`s is taking its 700-restaurant chain to the Internet, linking all its stores through the Internet, beefing up its web site, linking its POS system to the web and opening wireless stores where customers can order and pay via their PDAs or web-enabled cell phones. Schlotzky’s is working with IBM Corp and Aloha Technologies software to implement the program.

"This agreement with IBM and Aloha is part of Schlotzsky`s plan to be one of the first restaurant chains to build an advanced e-business infrastructure," said Robin Hanna, Schlotzsky`s chief information officer. "Our market is very competitive, and our franchisees need quick, timely information and communications to give them a competitive edge."

The project includes:
--Upgrading the Internet-based communications network that links the stores, employees and headquarters. Schlotzsky`s is developing FranWeb to connect all 440 Schlotzsky`s franchisees worldwide with online operations manuals, newsletters, daily communications and timely information on suppliers.
--Expanding Schlotzsky`s web site (www.cooldeli.com) and interactive, e-marketing programs, such as e-coupons.
--Opening its first two wireless stores in Austin, where consumers will be able to download all Schlotzsky`s store locations, directions and menus to their personal digital assistant devices, and then use those palm devices to place orders. Eventually, customers will be able to place and pay for orders with their PDAs and future Internet-enabled cell phones.

IBM will install IBM eServer xSeries systems in each restaurant, linking them with the POS systems and employee/franchisee communications network

"Retailers of all types, including food service and hospitality, are quickly realizing that advanced, e-business technology can transform their business, improve operations, enhance customer service and contribute directly to the bottom line," said Tom Peterson, general manager, IBM Retail Store Solutions.

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