This month, restaurant technology news was dominated by digital mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, from back of the house solutions to a C3 merger with Chowly that will expand C3’s roster of virtual brands to 10,000 restaurants nationwide.
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 acquisitions by and mergers with Toast, Restaurant365, C3 and more, as well as new robotics technology and mobile solutions.
Here’s what you should know:
Restaurant365 and Toast both announce acquisitions
Restaurant management platform Restaurant 365 announced earlier in June the acquisition of accounting and back of house software company Compeat. With the merger, Restaurant365 will now have 28,000+ restaurant customers. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed.
Both software companies provide similar back of house functionalities for restaurants and offer solutions that they say will give customers on average a 2-5% reduction in food and labor costs.
“We provide technology to support their ingenuity and see this as the perfect time for this bold move to expand our offering and help restaurants rethink and streamline their operations,” Restaurant365 CEO Tony Smith said in a press release.
Around the same time, Toast also announced a back-office acquisition of xtrachef, a restaurant management platform. The integration will add automation of invoice management functionality to Toast’s repertoire, along with automation of repetitive tasks like bookkeeping and inventory management.
“Together with xtrachef, we immediately deepen our capabilities in automating cost management for restaurants, helping restaurateurs reclaim time previously spent navigating complex, manual processes and better understand their profitability, down to the menu item,” Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast said in a statement.
SpotOn integrates with Google
In other restaurant management software news, SpotOn announced June 17 that it is partnering with Google to offer another online ordering option for clients at no cost.
This integration will allow SpotOn’s restaurant clients to enable direct ordering through Google search and maps. SpotOn Order is also a commission-free service with all orders sent straight to a restaurant’s POS system, giving customers options outside of third-party delivery to directly support restaurants.
The new online ordering tool is paired with SpotOn’s customer data and metrics so restaurants can keep track of the demographics of their customer base and who is ordering what.
"We know that restaurants operate on the slimmest of margins and that online ordering fees can often make or break their bottom line,” said Doron Friedman, co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of SpotOn in a statement.
The company that brought you ‘Flippy the robot’ now has an automated beverage dispenser
Miso Robotics — creater of Flippy the line cook robot — announced on June 22 a partnership with beverage dispenser manufacturer Lancer Worldwide to create an AI-backed beverage dispenser for commercial kitchens in order to alleviate some back of house labor pinch issues.
The machine is linked to the POS system and will automatically pour drinks so that employees can just grab and go when fulfilling orders. The software automatically “knows” beverage needs associated with orders so it eliminates one extra step for busy back of house staff.
“Order fulfillment is a major factor for customer satisfaction and operators can’t afford to have a beverage left behind when a delivery driver or customer visits,” Jake Brewer, chief strategy officer of Miso Robotics said in a statement. “We are extremely excited to create a product that will not only make the lives of those working in commercial kitchens better but will be a game changer for the industry as a whole to deliver a world-class customer experience.”
C3 is now partnering with Chowly, adding 10,000 restaurants to its portfolio
Creating Culinary Communities (C3) food hall and restaurant technology company announced on June 23 a partnership with POS system and delivery aggregator Chowly that will make C3’s roster of 40 brands like Umami Burger and Krispy Rice available to all 10,000 of Chowly’s restaurants in its portfolio.
This means that any Chowly restaurant partner will have access to C3’s virtual restaurants to supplement their revenue out of their own kitchen space. Any restaurant in Chowly’s portfolio can automatically opt in to as many C3 brands as they want in a revenue share partnership that adds strength to C3’s virtual expansion model through a growing network of restaurant back kitchens.
The new partnership will allow orders from third-party partners and through C3’s own Citizens Go app to integrate with one POS system so all digital orders are in one place.
Later, Chowly and C3 have plans to develop and launch new virtual restaurant brands exclusively available on Chowly’s network, which will again allow restaurants to create secondary and tertiary new sources of revenue without investing too much in developing a new concept.
“C3 brands are already available in 250 kitchens,” C3 CEO sam Nazarian said in a statement. “We plan to be in 1,000 in the US by end of year and we’ll be in 12,000 by 2023. The deal with Chowly adds an additional 10,000 kitchens to the fold. Chowly’s platform is 2.5 times the size of their closest competitor and this partnership is a critical piece of our growth plan, and our largest-scale expansion to date.”
Wix launched a digital food ordering and reservations app
Wix is coming to mobile. The cloud-based web development company announced a new commission-free appspecifically for restaurants, Dine by Wix, as another option for restaurants that want to bypass third-party delivery services’ high commission fees, though the app is compatible with these platforms.
Dine by Wix is available as an extension from Wix’s native app and allows customers can place orders, make restaurant reservations, and contact local restaurants through a live chat feature. The platform is meant to encourage customer engagement and to encourage them subtly against automatically ordering from restaurants via aggregators.
These services also automatically connect to Wix’s other offerings like loyalty programs and dining reservations in the larger Wix Restaurants platform.
"By expanding the Wix Restaurant offering to mobile, we're empowering restaurant owners to get in touch with their customers directly with no middleman, completely commission free," Ronny Elkayam, SVP of mobile, app market and strategic products at Wix said in a statement. "Dine by Wix gives restaurants a competitive edge, providing a direct sales channel to customers, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and repeat sales.”
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