Jet’s Pizza Adopts Bigleaf Networks Cloud-first SD-WAN for Failsafe, Always-on Internet

Top pizza chain franchise owner eliminates down Internet, slow application performance and missing customer orders with built-in multicarrier back-ups from Bigleaf

Business Challenge

Jet’s Pizza franchise owner Dan O’Donohue relies on a cloud-based online ordering system and a Point-of-Sale (POS) solution that runs on a static IP connection. The Jet’s Pizza franchise owner wanted a reliable secondary connection to ensure his business-critical applications would never be unavailable to customers or deliver a bad internet experience. Looking for a 100% reliable Internet solution, he turned to Bigleaf Networks for help.

Solution

Bigleaf Cloud-first SD-WAN.

Benefits

  • Simple, self-installation of pre-configured Bigleaf router outside of the shop’s existing SonicWall firewall
  • Intelligent load-balancing across up to 4 Internet connections
  • Bigleaf service prioritizes mission-critical applications across the Internet to ensure high-performance access to PoS system, and online ordering system
  • Zero Internet downtime and no lost customer orders with Bigleaf’s innovative Same IP failover protection solution
  • Happy customers and no disruption to service because circuit failover occurs without dropping application sessions

Jet’s Pizza is one of the fastest growing pizza chains in America and regularly receives “Best of the Best” and “Reader’s Choice” awards. Pizza Today magazine also named the company as the 13th largest pizza chain in the nation in its “Top 100 Pizza Companies” report of 2016. (Source: Pizza Today). The company is one of the first major pizza chains to serve ‘Detroit style’ pizza, and it has created an enthusiastic cult following. That energy is part of the reason why Dan O’Donohue and his wife decided to open their own Jet’s Pizza location. Today they have one store open in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, and they are opening another in Logan Square in early 2018. While O’Donohue always wanted to run his own business, he also quickly realized there’s an incredible amount of work involved, and there’s a lot that goes into selling pizza.

“Besides making a great pizza, there’s payroll, bookkeeping, ordering supplies and inventory, staffing, scheduling, Internet and so much more,” said O’Donohue. “While we’re not a business that has vast Internet needs, we do require 100% reliable Internet access to take Internet or phone orders, or process payments. With everything on my plate, Internet is something I want to just work and that I don’t have to stress about. The Internet is our business lifeline.”

The company relies on high-performance Internet to run its PoS restaurant management system, SpeedLine, and its corporate online ordering system, OrderTalk. O’Donohue determined that with the amount of business-critical applications running in the cloud over the Internet, and with his business on the line, he wanted an Internet solution with total reliability.

Looking for options, he reached out to his technology partner, Al Kator with Bandwidth Simplified for help, and Al brought in Bigleaf Networks’ Cloud First SD-WAN solution. “Unfortunately Jet’s is in an area where cable internet is not always reliable,” said Kator. “They had multiple outages and always at the wrong time. Bigleaf changed the game for them. When those outages occur, Bigleaf’s service seamlessly moves all traffic on the affected circuit to the other connection, and ordering downtime is eliminated.”

Plug-n-play with intelligent load balancing

Bigleaf’s installation process was a perfect fit for O’Donohue’s Jet’s Pizza location. Without local IT staff, O’Donohue did not have the time or expertise to implement a complicated solution. Bigleaf’s installation was incredibly simple. They shipped out a router that was preconfigured, and designed to work with Jet’s Pizza’s existing SonicWall firewall. There was no need to change any existing security policies or LAN architecture, and the Bigleaf router was up and running after a simple, 5-minute self-installation.

Once the Bigleaf router was turned on, their SD-WAN service began to work immediately with no need for any manual configuration work. The Bigleaf platform allows the customer to connect up to 4 Internet connections for carrier and physical diversity. In the case of O’Donohue’s Jet’s Pizza location, he has both a Comcast cable connection and an AT&T connection. Bigleaf’s service immediately began to intelligently load-balance O’Donohue’s applications across both the Comcast and AT&T connections. The system Plug-n-play with intelligent load balancing measures circuit performance in real-time, and adapts dynamically as Internet connections change. This ensures that critical applications that are latency and packet-loss sensitive ride the healthiest connections. Unlike other multi-WAN solutions that monitor only a subset of Internet paths, Bigleaf’s onsite router works in tandem with Bigleaf-owned Gateway Clusters that sit in major peering centers around the country. This gives them full control of Jet’s Pizza Internet traffic to the core of the Internet, where they are a single handoff away from Cloud Content Providers.

Prioritization of traffic and Same IP failover

Bigleaf’s SD-WAN service also has a unique ability to apply Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization in both the upload and download direction to specific applications. In the case of O’Donohue’s Jet’s Pizza, the Bigleaf platform ensures that their PoS and online order systems receive higher priority over guest WiFi and other less-critical applications.

Where QoS prioritization alone isn’t enough (such as when an Internet connection goes down hard, or encounters very significant levels of packet loss, latency or jitter), Bigleaf’s service provides seamless Same IP failover, moving applications between ISP connections without changing the IP address, and thus sessions never drop. There’s no disruption to service, so users don’t even know there’s an Internet issue taking place. “With other backup options, we noticed there’s some manual switchover required, or it won’t switch over
unless the circuit is completely out, so there’s always a potential for a lapse in service,” said O’Donohue. “We weighed our options, and found that Bigleaf’s solution is very affordable, and it works automatically behind the scenes, so it’s one less thing to worry about.”

Looking at the cost of downtime

While the cost of an Internet outage depends on multiple factors, such as time of day, day of the week, or just the luck of the draw, O’Donohue believes that slow or down Internet can be a significant drain on business. As a rule, he estimates one hour of downtime on a big night of orders might cost the business anywhere from $1000 to $2000. More than that, he believes the long-term impacts on the brand could be even more costly. A flustered new customer who was trying Jet’s Pizza for the first time may decide the brand is unqualified. Or, a lost online order might upset a loyal customer who orders several pies a week, costing the business hundreds of dollars each month. Either way, it’s not a risk O’Donohue is willing to take.

“Just think about it, everyone is ordering pizza online, and everyone is on social media, and we all have that Yelp app at our fingertips,” said O’Donohue. “It just takes one missing order or a slow Internet day from AT&T to turn that person off, or even prompt them to ‘share’ their experience. With Bigleaf’s SD-WAN service, that’s just not going to be us. It’s worth it to have the redundancy in place and to make sure our Internet is up and running, and we’re getting those orders fast and making people happy.”

Reliable internet and guaranteed smiles

With Bigleaf’s SD-WAN service, O’Donohue is proud to report that his Jet’s Pizza stores will have ‘alwayson’ Internet access, which he believes gives him an advantage over the competition. “I can’t tell you how many times that happens to us in a week,” said O’Donohue. “Someone calls us all fired up because they couldn’t place an order through to another store, or they’re asking why a shop isn’t answering their phones. Most of the time they end up ordering with us, and I’m happy that we can come through for that customer. Because once they try us, I know they’ll be back.”