UK IT Networks:
The tech behind
London's food scene

Fasthosts powers the technology that keeps fresh produce flowing into one of the world's top centres for fine dining.

There are 67 Michelin star London restaurants. In fact, it's the sixth most Michelin-starred city on earth, just behind New York and beating Barcelona and Berlin. Five of the capital's culinary hotspots have an astounding three stars. This includes one run by potty-mouthed walking tantrum, Gordon Ramsay. He's pretty humble about it, though, having named the restaurant after himself.

If there's one thing we've all learnt from watching food programmes it's that swearing loudly really helps. That, of course, and the quality of the food. You will only get a great meal if the produce put in it is the absolute best it can be. It must be fresh.

Putting the pandemic to one side, this has long been one of the challenges for restaurateurs everywhere. As Richard Tracey, head of IT at UK IT Networks says, Fresh food doesn't last. That's why the supply chain needs to be really efficient, effective and working through the night to ensure the food that ends up on our plates is some of the best in the world.

We offer our customers a managed service they can trust, and Fasthosts provides the platform for it to all work seamlessly.
- Richard Tracey, Head of IT, UK IT Networks

Our software ensures that produce wholesalers in the South East, including those in New Covent Garden, can run their operations smoothly. This has a huge impact on the eateries of London. It's estimated to be the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the UK, covering 57 acres and supplying 40 per cent of all produce eaten outside the home in the capital.

Put simply, UK IT Network's wholesale systems can power the whole thing, getting food from market to mouth in a matter of hours. Fasthosts partners with the firm to ensure its software is available, non-stop, via cloud and bare metal servers.

We offer our customers a managed service they can trust, and Fasthosts provides the platform for it to all work seamlessly, says Richard. But his work with London's produce wholesalers is just one part of the business.

UK IT Networks started in 2012, launched to offer personable communications and telecoms services for businesses of all sizes with a core focus on service. As technology has continued to converge, it has adapted with the times and offers more than just phones.

We provide unified cloud communications solutions, adds Richard. This means we're experts in a wide range of software and sectors, including the motor industry, retail and, of course, fresh produce.

The firm employs 25 across both its sites in Cheshire and Southend. This mix of specialisms means it can handle client needs from start to finish. For example, the New Covent Garden site is based in a 1970s building without a modern communications infrastructure. We're installing a brand new, high-speed internet network, explains Richard. Whatever a business needs in the way of telecoms and IT, we can do it. From software and hardware to phones and unified comms, we can handle it.

Richard says this year has been busier than ever as more and more people migrate to the cloud so they can work from anywhere. This growth has rested on one major resource: servers, services and products from Fasthosts.

While Richard is a relatively new member of the team at UK IT Networks, he's worked with Fasthosts since 1998. Back then he used them for domain hosting and has brought them with him throughout his career. He was, therefore, pleased to know UK IT Networks was an existing partner with Fasthosts when he joined. This means they refer each other to clients and work in an ecosystem where both businesses support and grow with their respective customers.

When asked why he's so loyal to Fasthosts, Richard smiles and instantly says reliability is the biggest factor. I've never had a problem in all these years. We also find our ethos aligned whilst being empowered with full control. From the single control panel that shows me everything in one place, to the service we get.

Thinking about the produce wholesalers Richard works with, he says, They work through the night to get food on our plates. That means we sometimes have to do the same. We need to be there to offer support at all hours of the day. And so do Fasthosts. I've called them at 3:00am and got help.

Their service is excellent. Let's face it, we all face challenges and need help. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned every time. When we need them, they're there. It's not about whether we encounter problems – everyone does – it's how we respond to them. That's what Fasthosts does best. They respond to us like we're the most important client they have.

That's what Fasthosts does best. They respond to us like we're the most important client they have.
- Richard Tracey, Head of IT, UK IT Networks

This approach is something Richard appreciates and passes onto his clients. We get great treatment from Fasthosts. In turn, we're able to offer excellent service. That's why some customers are with me 24 years later. This is where the value really shows.

As UK IT Networks looks to the future, it plans to continue offering great services with a personal touch. Richard foresees more cloud migration and the use of virtual private servers (VPSs). He also hopes clients from previous businesses, in the private dental market around Harley Street and surrounding areas join UK IT Networks in their quest to support growing UK businesses.

Let's hope he does so. Because then he'll be responsible for the teeth chewing food from some of London's top restaurants, not just the smooth delivery of produce. Perhaps he can wash Gordon Ramsay's mouth out while he's at it.

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