Google is cooking up something special other than search engine power, according to the Providence Restaurant Group.

The Charlotte-based chain is teaming up with Google to demonstrate a “cloud computing” solution that one of the firm’s co-owners says will save his company money and enable it to better train employees. Google’s Eric Schmidt, the firm’s chief executive officer, has been pushing the cloud agenda for more than two years. And Providence is a believer, just as is

The “Googlers” coming to Charlotte will demonstrate a system that enables Providence employees to share information and use Google PC power rather than having to maintain multiple servers and machines itself as part of a virtual network. The demo, which Google is calling its “Cloud Camp,” will take place at the Back Yard Burger at 13736 Conlon Circle, Charlotte from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In a Q&A with WRAL Local Tech Wire, Fred Miller- a co-owner of Providence Restaurant Group, talked about the Google cloud and why the company implemented the solution.

How does your company define cloud computing?

Cloud computing for us as a restaurant group is the ability to scale our communication system to a multi-unit operation- leveraging storage, email, documents, etc. in a way that decreses redunduncy and administrative oversight.

What drew your attention to this as a possible technology for your firm?

The natural tansition from current Google products/services to more of an integrated architecture.

How have you implemented the "cloud"?

We currently use Google Apps that leverage Google infrastructure to our multi-unit operation.

What training was required for your employees?

There was little training required because most of the employees were familiar with Google applications. However, some functions such as Google Docs where training needed to be done, for what we are doing on the restaurant level, the training was not extensive.

What bottom-line benefits do you expect from the cloud project?

Decreased overhead expenses, increased productivity/workflow.

How did you address security concerns?

The security issues inherent in borrowing infrastructure and computing capabilities were risks that were calculated in order to bring our company increased productivity and efficiency. The benefits outweighed the risks, but issues of multiple users on a single account as well as communication transmission are security issues that we are currently attempting to mitigate by administrative oversight and company policies/procedures.

Would you recommend the cloud to other companies?

I would recommend cloud computing in general and the specific Google Apps. specifically for the reasons addressed above such as increased communication, decreased overhead expenses, and ease of transition from one user to another.

Was Google your partner in the project?

Google is our partner in implementing Google for Domain and Google Apps. It has been a great opportunity to test beta products/services offered by Google and see how Google is looking to improve small business and leveraging the success of search to give back applications that will mutually benefit all invovled.

Can I as a consumer expect better service and better food because of the "cloud"?

The cloud can be used for training and re-training purposes as well as implementation of new company policies and procedures that will decrease service times, provide for a fresher product through re-iterating time and temperature requirements, and increase the value received by the guest if the cloud is used for multi-unit training and educating employees.