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Zen Builds Solution for SSP to Modernise Food

by Anthony Weaver

Giants across the UK

Zen builds SD-WAN service for SSP to tackle ageing connectivity as part of a network expansion programme, helping to achieve continued success and expansion

·         SSP operates in 37 countries worldwide and is known for the franchises it operates such as Burger King and Starbucks, as well as its own brands Upper Crust and Millie’s Cookies

·         SSP will migrate all 600 of its units across their 500 locations across the UK, Ireland and Scotland to SD-WAN in the next year

UK, 14 July 2022:  TodaySSP, the international food travel experts, announces it has successfully modernized the applications of food giants such as Burger King and Starbucks across the UK, which it franchises alongside its own brands Upper Crust and Millie’s Cookies, thanks to its partnership with Zen Internet.

For a large and geographically diverse business, ageing connectivity became a major obstacle for SSP. After kicking off a network expansion programme that was driven by a need to sunset old copper technology and gratify bandwidth hungry applications, a new solution was needed to continue success and expansion.

As the largest B Corp accredited technology service provider in the UK, Zen was tasked to build a service to meet the varied needs of modern application requirements constrained by their traditional networking model. Having identified SD-WAN as the solution, the two companies worked together to develop and implement a new product that is now rolled out across the majority of SSP’s UK locations.

Francisco Castillo, Head of Infrastructure at SSP Group, comments: “SSP needed to find a solution for three big challenges – including finding the right bandwidth for each location, to deploy and open units more effectively, and guarantee good performance and resilience in our locations across the UK. We’ve been operating with Zen as a partner for nearly 15 years and throughout the pandemic, so knew their networking pedigree was the best fit for our new SD-WAN solution. With such a comprehensive and complex task, Zen has remained extremely effective in terms of communication and relationship management which has allowed us to keep on track and achieve our goals. As a result, we’re on track to migrate all 600 locations to SD-WAN in the next year.”

Out with the old, in with the SD-WAN

With traditional networking models directing connectivity back to data centres, modern applications are unable to break out to the internet from individual unit locations. In fact, the stop sell of copper services will take effect next year in 2023, leading up to the late 2025 switch off by which time we’ll welcome next gen communications. Despite this, there is still a perceived gap in the preparedness of different sized businesses. Zen’s research found that only 6% of large businesses and 33% of SME’s are aware of the switch off.

Prior to SD-WAN implementation, all of SSP’s internet traffic in the UK was backhauled through its data centre – a bandwidth-hungry process which had an adverse impact on performance. Now, traffic is able to breakout right from the unit into the internet directly which saves on bandwidth and cost all while improving performance. Meanwhile, other traffic can still be routed through their secure data centre which also allows SSP to deploy SaaS solutions in the future if desired.

Zen’s SD-WAN solution provided SSP with the capability to make each decision at the end point. For a large and geographically diverse business, this was crucial in allowing the segregation of traffic, application prioritisation and greater security. Allowing for more intelligent bandwidth allocation also means SSP can now simply switch bandwidth based on requirements – facilitating the network modernisation that the business required. SD-WAN provides total independence in terms of network connectivity and gives the opportunity to back up lines and use the same device on two lines at the same times. For example, on occasions where a network is struggling to supply bandwidth, you are able to fall back on 4G and 5G routers and technology. As a result, SSP will migrate all 500 of its UK locations to SD-WAN in the next year.

Martin O’Donnell, Managing Director, Zen Business, comments: “Businesses are increasingly feeling the pressure to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and helping SSP to achieve this has been a pleasure.

With the copper stop sell fast approaching, keeping company technology up to date should be a continuous and evolutionary process, but the clock is ticking for those businesses still reliant on outdated communications tools such as traditional telephony.

While Zen thrives to help businesses fight obstacles caused by ageing connectivity, it’s also crucial we work with businesses that embed sustainability into their objectives. I am thrilled that, like Zen, SSP continues to make progress in their sustainability agenda and is pursuing net zero carbon emissions. I look forward to continuing to deliver enhanced and secure solutions to further business across the UK.”

About Zen:

Zen Internet is the largest B Corp certified telecommunications and technology service provider in the UK. It provides a full range of broadband, data, voice, hosting and infrastructure services to homes and businesses across the country. Zen also provides business-grade broadband, Ethernet and data services for a wide range of large business, corporate customers and channel partners.

A multi-time Which? recommended provider, Zen is renowned for delivering excellent customer service and technical support. This is reflected in the many awards it has achieved, including; PC Pro’s Best Internet Service Provider for 17 consecutive years, the UK IT Industry Award for Services Company of the Year and a UK Customer Experience Silver Award for Technology & Telecoms.

Zen has offices in Rochdale and Leeds and employs over 550 people. The organisation puts great emphasis on maintaining a people-centric business and was once again named a Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For in February 2020.

About SSP:

SSP is a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, principally airport and railway stations.

All of our outlets, from quick service to fine dining, are developed or tailored to be run in high-volume travel locations to meet the evolving needs of our customers and our clients. Alongside our 2,700 units on 37 countries manging with more than 30,000 employees.

We have more than 550 brands in our portfolio, which means we can response to the needs of passengers as they travel around the world. These include brands we create like Ritazza, Upper-Crust, Millie’s Cookies, and we also franchise well known international and local high street brands. These brand partners trust us to effectively tailor their ‘downtown’ offers for the specific needs of the travelling consumer, like BK, M&S, Starbucks or O’learys.

Embedding sustainability into our business is a key strategic objective for SSP. Our framework is focussed on three key areas with commitments and goals under each (Supporting and protecting our colleagues and communities; Serving our customers responsibly; Protecting our environment)

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