Ben Chapman, chef and co-founder of the well-known Smoking Goat restaurant, recently opened a sister restaurant called Kiln. Located in London’s Soho district, Kiln is an informal, vibrant restaurant that caters to technology-savvy guests. Inspired by the rural simplicity of the Thai borderlands, Kiln’s menu is based around simple, quick grilled dishes, many of which are cooked in wood-burning kiln ovens and have been created around the best British produce available. The restaurant is a modern, high-tech space, featuring high stools paralleling a stainless steel countertop.
The counter sits in front of an open kitchen—where guests can watch chefs preparing and cooking dishes around the kitchen’s centerpiece, the wood-burning Kiln.
Like most startups, Kiln’s sister restaurant, The Smoking Goat, was working within strict budget guidelines; and being a small team, it had initially installed a simple WiFi solution with routers that are more commonly used in home environments. The solution worked, but there were a number of black spots, and the network and connection was not always stable for daily high-bandwidth operations. Customers also sometimes complained that they were unable to connect to the Internet. In addition, there were a number of challenges for the Linksys team to overcome at the Kiln site itself. With the restaurant located in the basement, as well as in a very old, crowded part of London, there were thick walls to contend with, which meant installing a super-fast WiFi connection would be difficult. Knowing that Kiln would need a strong WiFi connection for powering payment machines, printing menus daily, and providing a reliable, secure Internet connection for staff and guest users, Kiln turned to Linksys for help.
Linksys installed one LRT224 Business Dual WAN Gigabit VPN Router to manage the Internet traffic, and two Virtual LANs, so restaurant guests and staff would have separate, secure networks. A Linksys LGS108P 8-Port Business Desktop Gigabit PoE+ Switch was installed to ensure reliable internal connectivity for the Linksys access points, as well as the other network devices in the location. The two Linksys LAPAC2600- 802.11AC Business Access Points—one mounted in the upstairs bar area, and the second in the restaurant area downstairs—provide secure, reliable, high-speed WiFi to every part of the restaurant. The PoE power for the Linksys access points is delivered by the LGS108P Switch, meaning only one cable is required at the wall mount. These two access points have been configured as a single controller-less managed cluster and provide the staff and guest networks with seamless roaming and device isolation on the guest network. These access points help improve overall performance and efficiency of a WiFi network by providing dedicated bandwidth to individual devices.
Linksys helped Kiln to set up its restaurant with a complete high-performance network solution that eliminates all of the bandwidth issues previously experienced in its sister restaurant, avoid security vulnerabilities, and ensures that both staff and restaurant guests have quick, easy access. The site survey shows a high-speed Internet connection for the entire site, with an average of 1300 Mb throughout.
"Thanks to Linksys, we now have a seamless connection, which allows the staff to deliver swift customer service whilst guest browse the Internet freely throughout their time here, " said Luke Piper, general manager of Kiln. "In this day and age, people expect flawless WiFi wherever they go, and that is exactly what Linksys has managed to deliver to our customers, despite the challenges at hand."
The restaurant, which opened in September 2016, has received rave reviews so far. One hard-to-please restaurant critic, Fay Maschler of The Evening Standard, described Kiln as a "side-of-the-road" Thai to die for," and gave five out of five stars for Ben's obsessiveness, dedication, assiduous research, creativity, insistence on well-bred ingredients, keen fact, she's only done it six times before. With help from Linksys, Kiln now has a proven, critically acclaimed business model it can take with it as it opens more successful restaurants in the future.