Open Reality Helps Marston’s Telecoms Manage Bytes to Fill Pints

Network Optimisation

By | 08/07/2014

Network Optimisation

Open Reality Helps Marston’s Telecoms Manage Bytes to Fill Pints

Marstons Blog Featured ImageDriving Revenue Growth through User Experience

The eating-out market undergoes constant shifts that Marston’s has navigated for more than 100 years by creating an engaging customer experience. The crux of being successful in the restaurant business has always been convincing customers to linger longer – to order that second pint of beer or splurge on dessert.

“A key part of our strategy is to create an environment that is comfortable for families to visit. Enhancing the customer experience with free Wi-Fi allows customers to access the content they would at home and allows us to provide a more flexible way to order and pay for food and drinks.”

Rob Derbyshire, Operations Director, Marston’s Telecoms

With the rise of always connected customers, the pub chain realised that a new shift was underway. Marston’s addressed this new shift with a focus on two key initiatives:

  1. Creating an experience that feels like home
  2. Making it easier for customers to order drinks without having to get up from their table and go to the bar.

To support these business initiatives, Marston’s decided to introduce free Wi-Fi throughout their chain of pubs. With a Wi-Fi network installed in every pub across the country, Marston’s also introduced an electronic point of sale application that allowed servers to take orders from anywhere, eliminating the need for customers to go to the bar to order drinks.

Service Popularity Compromises User Experience

While deploying Wi-Fi throughout its pubs has proven popular for Marston’s, it also presented a challenge. Marston’s found its customers not only visited their pubs for food and conversation, but also to use the network to stream video, gaming, email and music content to their various mobile devices.

As more customers used the service – especially during peak times – the service for all customers and, more importantly, the mission critical electronic payment and other corporate applications were compromised.

The Marston’s Telecoms team knew that to realise revenue and profit growth from its free Wi-Fi service, it needed to deliver a better user experience by actively managing bandwidth and quality of service across all competing demands, with specific attention on prioritising its business applications.

“My goal is to drive Marston’s growth by delivering a better experience for our customers. To do this, I need to understand bandwidth consumption across the network, so I can find ways to improve the way we conduct business.”

Rob Derbyshire, Operations Director, Marston’s Telecoms

PacketShaper Provides Marston’s with Path to Growth

To support its free Wi-Fi initiative, Marston’s Telecoms turned to the Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances. The granular bandwidth controls and application prioritisation capabilities were the right answer to Marston’s dilemma.

“Achieving the customer experience we were after required greater control of our bandwidth and the ability to manage traffic spikes. For example, customers come to the pub and want to be able to stream live football matches on their devices.

We needed to support this added load on the network and make sure it didn’t affect our payment and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, and PacketShaper gave us the control we needed to make this happen.”

Rob Derbyshire, Operations Director, Marston’s Telecoms

PacketShaper provides the Marston’s Telecoms operations team with full visibility into the traffic on its network, including the intelligence on which applications are the biggest bandwidth consumers on the network. The team can now assess the impact of these applications on the payment system and other corporate applications and predict and plan for the next bandwidth spike.

Armed with this intelligence, the Marston’s Telecoms team can prioritise mission critical applications to assure their performance while allowing customers to access the content they want. It’s a win-win situation for both the restaurant and its customers and allows Marston’s to achieve its goal of creating a more home-like experience for its customers.

Open Reality  Protected User Experience During Transition

Blue Coat Premier Partner Open Reality played a crucial role in the success of the installation by consulting with Marston’s ahead of the deployment to understand the business requirements and training the operations team post sale to help them continue to optimise their traffic management rules with their business requirements.

“The pre-project consultancy and post-installation training provided by Open Reality made a big difference in the deployment, ensuring that there was no impact on our users through the transition. The team is now fully proficient and the results have been immediate.”

Rob Derbyshire, Operations Director, Marston’s Telecoms

Managed Bandwidth Increases Profits and Customer Loyalty

By assigning accurate bandwidth to each application, Marston’s Telecoms delivered a full return on investment (ROI) in under six months and helped the pub chain improve its profit margins and increase customer loyalty.

“The Blue Coat PacketShaper helps us to manage what would otherwise be untenable commercial risks in bandwidth fluctuation. We estimate that we are saving at least £40,000 per year using the PacketShaper product.”

Rob Derbyshire, Operations Director, Marston’s Telecoms

The investment in free Wi-Fi and the PacketShaper appliances to manage the bandwidth has paid off as Marston’s continues to reign as a focal point of any local community.

About Marstons Telecoms

Marston’s Telecoms is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) arm of the Marston’s Brewery and Pub chain, an independent UK company with over 1,700 pubs that prides itself on providing Real Ale and high quality food in family-friendly pubs.

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