This week, funding rounds for software and digital platforms dominated the restaurant technology news cycle. The biggest news came from ecommerce platform Goldbelly, which secured $100 million in Series C funding to expand their reach in the restaurant at-home experience.
Tech Tracker rounds up what’s happening in the technology sphere of the restaurant industry, including news with restaurants, vendors, and digital platforms. Today, we’re talking about the funding rounds for Goldbelly, Sharebite, and SpotOn, as well as new delivery and drive-thru technologies.
Here’s what you should know:
Goldbelly, Sharebite and SpotOn all announce funding rounds
This month was a profitable one for digital platforms. Goldbelly’s online marketplace announced $100 million in series C Funding on May 18, meant to expand their network of restaurants and build upon the at-home dining experience.
The funding round was led by private equity firm, Spectrum Equity, and will help the ecommerce platform scale their technology and operations and recruit more chef/restaurant partners, as well as launch new media content like cooking shows. From 2019 to 2020 alone, their business grew 300%, and counting.
Elsewhere in the technology world, on May 25, food ordering platform Sharebite announced the completion of a $15 million Series A round of funding led by Lafayette Square, which will accelerate growth and help them scale Sharebite stations: the company’s answer to contactless delivery needs. Sharebite Stations were launched in Nov. 2020, and offer designated food delivery drop-off points, designed for group orders in office buildings.
“As we begin our next phase of growth, this funding will accelerate our strategy as companies look to reopen their offices and reimagine the post-pandemic workplace,” Dilip Rao, CEO and co-founder of Sharebite, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, payment software company SpotOn announced a $125 million series D funding, led by technology investor, Andreessen Horowitz, bringing the company’s total valuation to nearly $1.9 billion. The technology company helps restaurants integrate point-of-sale, reservations, online ordering, delivery, loyalty and website development into one platform.
“SpotOn offers a fully-integrated product suite that has not only helped small or medium-sized businesses survive the pandemic but has been the critical infrastructure to keep many of them going,” David George, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement.
Intel launches AI drive-thru technology
Hi Auto, using Intel Technology, announced on May 20 the launch of an artificial intelligence powered drive-thru system, which almost entirely automates the drive-thru process. The AI technology “greets each drive-thru guest and answers questions about the menu before taking and confirming their order and putting it into the POS system.”
If a guest asks something that the AI cannot answer, the system will hand it over to a live employee who can manually take over.
The AI solution runs on Intel Xeon processors in the cloud and Intel NUC and integrates with a restaurant’s already-existing systems, like their headsets.
Casual-dining chain Lee’s Famous Chicken is one of the first restaurant partners with Intel to use this technology:
“We don't have customers waiting anymore,” Chuck Doran, a Lee’s Famous Chicken franchisee in Englewood, Ohio, said in a statement. “We greet them as soon as they get to the board and the order is taken correctly. It's amazing to see the level of accuracy with the voice recognition technology, which helps speed up service. [...] And because the cashier is now less stressed, she can focus on customer service as well.”
Dometic invents a heating/cooling delivery box for food temperature control
Swedish mobile living company Dometic is transferring its heating/cooling expertise to food delivery. The company announced on May 19 the launch of DeliBox: a smart, temperature-controlled delivery box that can keep hot food hot and cold food cold while delivery drivers transport food from the restaurant to their customers.
Meant as a b2b product, the company already launched a pilot program with a Swedish ghost kitchen, Favo and it will be expanding to the U.S. soon.
The standard DeliBox allows for heating temperature control and air purification, while the DeliBox Duo has separate heating and cooling compartments with customized temperate controls. The only catch? The DeliBox weighs between 35-46 pounds, so a delivery bike would have to be able to support that weight. Dometic suggests a double leg stand.
Contact Joanna at [email protected]
Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi