Welcome Break takes the delay out of payments for customers on the go developed in partnership with Vodat International and STS

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Welcome Break, a leading UK motorway service operator, has revolutionised its entire in-store payments operations, significantly increasing payment transaction speeds and reducing customer queuing times.

Welcome Break is one of the UK’s leading independent motorway service operators and has 29 sites across the UK open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The company strives to proudly and passionately offer its customers world class hospitality and retail brands, such as Waitrose, Starbucks, Harry Ramsden’s, KFC and Burger King, in a friendly and relaxing environment. With around 25% of payments being made electronically through debit and credit cards, fast transaction processing is vital as the speed of purchase is paramount to ensure that customers are able to make a quick pit-stop before getting back on the road to complete their journey.

Using Smart Technology Solutions’ (STS) flexible G8 payment application, integrated into Vodat’s Unified Payment Service, the award winning system has radically improved the speed of service to customers and streamlined the day-to-day management of transactions. Serving 80 million people a year, Welcome Break wanted to ensure more customers were being served throughout each day.

The architecture of the solution, and the integration to the point-of-sale means that all payment amounts and transactions are now automatically settled within the system resulting in hours of time saved automating what used to be a manual process.

David Willock, IT Director, Welcome Break, said “We felt comfortable with the team and their level of knowledge and expertise to securely manage our high volume of payment transactions. The solution is the IT driver that has enabled us to significantly improve our speed of service and back office reconciliation. The fact that the solution also supports PCI compliance was of the utmost importance. Customer card data is not held in the EPoS system, therefore costly EPoS development was avoided. Instead, card data is stored in one secure location, fully meeting the requirements of PCI compliance.”

The new solution has now been rolled out to all of Welcome Break’s sites. Each site was on a six week timeline with regard to the implementation because of the advanced technology updates that were made in terms of software, hardware, networking and communications.

Initially, Welcome Break had around 550 payment terminals installed, all with separate phone lines. The new system meant that it could cut the amount of phone lines running through the retail estate and has now been reduced to around 80 ADSL lines, whilst increasing the number of terminals to around 650.

Paul Leybourne, Head of Sales at Vodat International said, “Our solution has been developed in partnership with STS and Alaric, recently acquired by NCR, bringing together best of breed elements to deliver a unique client solution. The flexible architecture of our Unified Payment Service meant that we were able to create a bespoke solution for Welcome Break. We look forward to continuing our working relationship and being able to see the true benefits of the technology shine through during peak holiday seasons, such as August.”

Steve Turner, CEO of STS said, “I am delighted that the flexibility of our G8:Enterprise product has proved to be so successful for Welcome Break. Not only have they been able to choose the PIN pad devices that best suit their environment, they have also been able to choose where our software runs to best facilitate PCI-DSS compliance. We look forward to seeing Welcome Break exploit our plug-in architecture so they will be able to add further functionality going forwards.”

This project won Welcome Break the title of Retailer of the Year Award at the Payments Awards, for which they were also shortlisted in the Best In-Store Payments Solution category.

About Welcome Break

Welcome Break is one of the UK’s leading independent motorway service operators, and has over 27 sites across the UK. Formed in 1959, Welcome Break now has over 50 years’ experience in the sector and attracts 80 million motorway customers a year.

Welcome Break employs more than 4500 team members who strive to proudly and passionately offer its customers world class hospitality and retail brands such as Waitrose, Starbucks, Harry Ramsden’s, KFC and Burger King in a friendly and relaxing environment. It has just announced a new partnership with the world’s largest specialist sandwich provider, Subway, and the first branches opened at Welcome Break Woodall on the M1 at Sheffield, and Welcome Break Charnock Richard on the M6 near Chorley, on 13th December 2013.

Welcome Break sites are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and welcome 80 million people every year. Welcome Break is owned by Appia Consortium.


About Vodat International

Vodat International specialises in providing communication solutions and Unified Payment Solutions to enable cross-channel retailing. Vodat’s specialist knowledge and experience in retailing enables it to leverage value from each of its client’s networks through the development and implementation of retail specific products and services, enabling them to boost revenue through any channel and improve the customer experience. Vodat’s client base includes Poundland, Beaverbrooks, Coast, Dune, East, Fat Face, Ted Baker, L.K.Bennett, Spar, Welcome Break, Whistles and White Stuff making it the leading player in retail communications.