WEBSTER, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 2011: Remember the on-board food ordering systems aboard the starships in the (pick your favorite) Star Trek series? After a long day battling deadly aliens, navigating thorny philosophical predicaments, and contextualizing the human experience, Captain (pick your favorite) would select a meal on a TV screen mounted on the wall and, moments later, food would be either delivered via high-tech dumb waiter or fabricated on the spot from raw chemical constituents. Well, now thanks to the iPad® and the visionary team behind Stacked, you too can order your food on a screen (deadly aliens, etc. optional). With an iPad at every table and an addictive app that allows customers to visually build their ideal burgers, pizzas, salads, and desserts, Stacked offers a glimpse into the future. And because everything about the California-based chain needs to live up to our hopeful expectations about that future, A/V integrator No Static Pro Audio Inc. (Burbank, California) delivered hi-fi sound to all three existing locations using eight-channel Ashly Audio ne8250pe amplifiers with onboard DSP and out-of-the-box network-ready integration.
From the customer’s perspective, the iPad ordering system is transparent and easy to navigate. For example, the hamburger builder allows the user to drag tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, etc. from one side of the screen to a virtual burger on the other side of the screen. When they’re finished, they hit “send to kitchen” and a sophisticated triangulation system determines the table of origin and then communicates the order to the cooks. When they’re finished, customers have the option of using the built-in credit card readers to pay for their meal with the iPad. “I think it’s worth pointing out that the food is really, really good,” asserted Eugene Gordon, CEO of No Static Pro Audio Inc. “The technology will get people in the door once, but the quality of every other aspect of their experience will keep them coming back.”
Music is a high priority at Stacked. Chief information officer Brian Pearson is passionate about selecting upbeat tunes from across a range of contemporary genres. The songs reside on a gigantic MegaSeg repository from which a week of back-to-back songs will never repeat – and never let the carefully molded Stacked brand topple. No Static Pro Audio Inc. came to the project on a recommendation from another contractor already involved in the creation of the restaurants, and the pairing couldn’t have worked out better. “It’s fun working with Brian,” Gordon said. “He’s knowledgeable and excited about new technology and great sound.” To tie the Stacked music experience into the Stacked iPad experience, Gordon worked out a little app that allows patrons to review the last five songs that played, right from the table’s iPad.
The sound system Gordon designed for Stacked is both high-performance and cost-effective. Eight-ohm ElectroVoice ZX1-90 full-range loudspeakers provide audio throughout the establishment and JBL SRX718S 18-inch subwoofers kick up the kicks around the bar and dining area. An Ashly ne8250pe paired with an Ashly WR-5 wall-mount remote control comprise the rest of the audio system. The ne8250pe delivers eight channels at 250 watts per channel into 4 ohms (and since Gordon ran two 8-ohm loudspeakers per channel, that’s what they deliver). Moreover, the ne8250 has onboard Protea™ DSP and network integration – all in a single unit that is only two rack-spaces high.
Gordon reduced the cost of the project by turning to the Ashly model ne8250pe for the sound system amplification, matrix mixing, control and digital processing. The on-board 8-in x 8-out Protea™ DSP processor and matrix mixer provides overall equalization for the system, loudspeaker alignment & delay, and matrix mixing to allow, for instance, satellite TV audio for the bar and, at the same time, background music everywhere else. It also provides auto-leveling and brick-wall limiting. The programmable Ashly WR-5 allows Stacked staff to change volume separately in each zone. In addition, it allows them to select the MegaSeg playlist or the satellite TV as the input source for each zone.
“The Ashly ne8250pe is a high-performance, cost-effective, space saving solution for a place like Stacked,” said Gordon. “We were able to tuck the two rack-space unit into the server rack located in the equipment room, which was dominated by the back-end iPad infrastructure. The amp is reliable, great sounding, and powerful – indeed, Stacked has tons of clean headroom. Mostly to offer peace of mind, we employed the ne8250’s network capability so that we could monitor and change its status remotely.”
Be on the lookout for more Stacked locations opening up nationwide. Their plan is to open four to five of the restaurants each year!