Whitbread PLC is the UK’s largest hotel and restaurant company, operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its brands include Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.
Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 8.5 million business and leisure customers every month in its 1,500 outlets across the UK. Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company.
Whitbread wanted to process payments more efficiently and more cost effectively. They wanted to unify and simplify their credit and debit card transaction processes across all their different brands. They also wanted quicker payments and to enhance the experience for both staff and customers.
Their brands were also treated as disparate companies by the banks, resulting in multiple rates and charges when they should have benefited from the buying power of the overall group.
The various systems previously used by Whitbread transferred transactions directly from each outlet to the bank. This meant Whitbread had no central visibility of the transactions and limited access to transactional data.
Not having access to transactional data meant any discrepancies that occurred during the reconciliation processes were difficult and time consuming to rectify.
Whitbread also wanted to better understand their customers to enhance their marketing capabilities, which their current processes did not allow. In addition, their PDQ systems were slowing down service to their customers as data needed to be entered into both the till and the PDQ terminal.
PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance was another factor in the company’s desire for change. For example, each individual brand would have required significant investment to achieve PCI compliance on their own. Additionally, the ‘Swipe & Sign’ technology throughout the brands meant that Whitbread were liable for any fraud.
FIS Merchant Payments provided Whitbread with the TRANSAXion solution.
This includes a managed, fully integrated host, giving a single view of all transactions and real time management information. The TRANSAXion solution is integrated with Whitbread’s existing Point of Sale (PoS) and is both Chip and PIN and PCI compliant.
FIS handles Whitbreads’ card transactions from all their PoS and forwards these to their different acquirers for authorisation, with sub-second efficiency. FIS then submits the files for settlement.
Settlement is completed throughout the day, as required. Data is verified, reconciled and checked again, making the TRANSAXion solution more reliable, meaning Whitbread are paid by the bank without delays.
In addition, FIS specialise in detecting payment fraud, reducing Whitbread’s chargeback exposure.
FIS operates fully resilient, dual primary data centres in the UK, with no single point of failure, allowing Whitbread to concentrate on running their business. FIS’ full PCI:DSS accreditation means that data is stored securely, which has reduced this responsibility for Whitbread.
The company now has instant secure network access to a wide range of management reports, that can drill down to an individual brand, branch or terminal if required.
FIS has become the focal point for all Whitbread’s card transaction processing.
Whitbread have revolutionised their card payment processes, introducing a single efficient way of working across all of their brands. Card payments are now integrated with all their PoS systems, removing duplication and manual error whilst delivering much quicker payments for customers.
Restaurants converted to Chip & PIN from ’Swipe & Sign’ are making significant savings in transaction rates, whilst security for customers has increased as their cards are no longer taken away for swiping.
Moving away from ‘Swipe & Sign’ also means that Whitbread are no longer liable for fraudulent payments.
Staff are now able to access tables, take card payments, enter gratuities, split payments, print receipts and close tables all without leaving the customer’s side.
End-of-Day processes are now automated removing the need for staff to add and enter figures, removing manual error and freeing up vital resources.
The new central system transmits and stores all transactions, providing better security and has replaced outdated and error prone polling mechanisms.
Visibility and reporting on each stage of the transaction has transformed the reconciliation process and provides vital management information on the nature of transactions that Whitbread processes. This enables better targeting of future customers with marketing initiatives.
By consolidating all its transactions Whitbread has achieved cheaper transaction rates as a result of its group buying power. In addition, the FIS solution could facilitate an easier transition to a new acquirer should that be required.
Whitbread are now saving more than £1,000,000 every year by consolidating their card payment system across all of their brands.