The iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a modern-day melding of history and technology. Built in 1907, the 24-acre amusement park is home to 34 rides and attractions (including two national historic landmarks), casual restaurants, gift shops, indoor arcades, laser tag and miniature golf, serving 3 million visitors a year. Unlike newer theme parks owned by investor- backed resort operators, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is owned by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, a private family business whose goal is to preserve the flavor of the historical site while investing in infrastructure to ensure a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
2007 marked the Boardwalk’s 100th anniversary, and the property has seen record-setting gross revenues each year since. “Our visitors come for the memories,” said Monty Matteson, POS Systems Administrator. “We have 80 year-old patrons who proposed to their wives on the merry-go-round and return with their grandkids to reminisce.” The temperate ocean climate is also a plus. “When the needle hits 100 degrees in the Central Valley, we’ve got a pleasant 78 degrees here,” he said.
Food sales deliver a large slice of the Boardwalk’s profitability. With the highest volumes of seasonal visitors coming on holiday weekends and pleasant summer days, POS system downtime delivers a huge blow. “We have a fixed number of days where we make the majority of our revenue—Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July—so how fast we take POS transactions dictates what’s going to the bottom line. If we make an extra $10K that day because we can support more throughput, that’s direct profit,” he said.
With responsibility for five fast casual restaurants, two quick service concessions and a bevy of specialty food carts, keeping up with peak volume was impossible with the Boardwalk’s old POS system, built on a closed POS architecture and cloud-based network plagued by chronic failures. “We’re a huge property and one little network hiccup would take the entire system down,” observed Matteson. He knew he needed a POS system with a modern architecture and network that could run all the Boardwalk’s food businesses while taking increased volume and mobile transactions in stride.