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Arcos Dorados - Virtualization of the Franchised World

Arcos Dorados

Arcos Dorados is the world’s largest independent McDonald’s franchisee and quick-service restaurant chain in Latin America and the Caribbean. With the exclusive right to own, operate and franchise McDonald’s locations in 20 countries and territories, Arcos Dorados strives to maintain streamlined business operations within and among its 2,000 franchises.

Managers at these locations access proprietary company applications from their standard PC workstations. High-availability restaurants require equipment that can sustain constant use. Maintaining these PCs, particularly as they aged, was becoming a common problem. In the search for a different approach, Arcos Dorados’ Restaurant IT Infrastructure area conducted various technical and economic studies to find the best cost-effective solution to their growing challenge. While replacing PCs with newer machines would undoubtedly alleviate some of the IT headaches, Arcos Dorados opted for virtualization to solve the IT issue, providing a transformative moment for the company.

“Embracing virtualization technology opens up a realm of limitless possibilities for businesses. It’s not just about running servers on a screen; it’s about unleashing efficiency, flexibility, and innovation. By virtualizing our infrastructure, companies like Arcos Dorados can transcend physical limitations, optimize operations and create a digital ecosystem where growth is unlimited,” said Ignacio.

Virtualizing the manager’s workstations provided some very immediate returns. The PCs were replaced with NComputing thin clients, a savings of 50% compared to PCs. The small footprint of the thin clients reduced the physical space needed for each workstation. They use drastically less energy than a PC, and the need to update and manage Windows directly on the device was gone. With no moving parts, the hands-on IT visits a standard PC can generate were all but eliminated.

Virtualization allows all operating systems and applications to run centrally from servers rather than locally on PCs. PMC Endpoint Manager, the virtual appliance that manages the deployed thin clients, allows IT to administer device profiles, user access, firmware updates, and remote troubleshooting to any connected device – a game-changer for Arcos Dorados’ various distributed locations. 

“Once the servers and applications are virtualized, the ability to expand the device network to new locations is easy,” said Ignacio. “We can set up a predefined profile for each device and send them to the location managers – it’s plug and play for them.”

In 2023, Arcos Dorados adopted the NComputing platform, utilizing Microsoft Windows Server, RDS, and HyperV. The initial deployment consisted of three markets, with 400 locations across Argentina, Chile, and Peru brought online. The deployment will continue to grow through 2024 as all 2000 locations are migrated. 

“We couldn’t be happier with NComputing’s devices, software, and support team. The transition has been seamless.