This month, the biggest news in the technology world was restaurant tech company Toast announcing its intention to go public — aiming for an estimated IPO worth of $16 billion and showing just how influential and powerful foodservice tech has become.
Tech Tracker rounds up what’s happening in the technology sphere of the restaurant industry, including news with restaurants, vendors, and digital platforms.
Besides the IPO news from Toast, today we’re talking about acquisitions (Yum/Dragontail), funding rounds, and more digital touchless technology announces like QR codes and NFTs.
Here’s what you should know:
Toast looks for an initial public valuation of $16 billion
Boston-based restaurant software platform Toast is going public and seeks an initial public valuation of $16 billion, according to an SEC regulatory filing from Monday. Shares will be priced between $30-$33, with the technology company ostensibly raising upwards of $717.4 million. The 10-year-old company plans to trade under the stock symbol, TOST.
According to the SEC filing, Toast’s annual revenue is approximately $494 million, with 118% year-over-year growth and the tech company partners with approximately 48,000 foodservice locations.
“This is only the beginning of our journey,” Toast’s founders, Steve Fredette, Aman Narang, and Jon Grimm said in a letter. “Our goal to become the platform of choice for restaurants all over the world is broad and could take us in many directions. To build a leading technology company, we’ll invest in the long-term drivers of the restaurant industry.”
The company’s major private investors include the company's investors include TPG, American Express Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, G Squared, and Greenoaks.
Yum finalizes acquisition of Dragontail platform
After announcing their initial plan to purchase Australian technology company, Dragontail Systems in May, Yum Brands Inc. completed the acquisition of the kitchen order management and delivery tech company on Sept. 7 for $93.5 million Australian dollars ($72.6 million USD) or almost 24 cents a share.
Dragontail’s AI technology coordinates the process of getting food to customers from the time digital orders roll in to when drivers are dispatched, and also allows companies to also integrate this information with third-party delivery, tracking optimal delivery routes and combining orders to ensure food arrives on time.
“A key growth driver for our business and our teams is the continued acceleration of our digital and technology strategy, including how we leverage our global scale with investments in technology initiatives that enhance the customer and employee experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and provide a competitive advantage for our franchisees,” said David Gibbs, CEO of Yum said in a statement.
SpotOn raises $300 million in latest funding round; acquires Appetize
Payment software company SpotOn announced yet another round of funding following their $125 million series D funding in May. This time around, SpotOn raised $300 million in Series E funding led by venture capital firm Andreesseen Horowitz, raising its valuation to $3.15 billion. Other key investors included DST Global, 01 Advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group, Franklin Templeton, and Mubadala Investment Company
The company also announced the acquisition of digital commerce platform, Appetize, allowing SpotOn to expand its client base to more sports and entertainment venues, theme parks, zoos, and college campuses. Appetize will also be fully integrated and known as SpotOn moving forward.
“We are combining our complementary technologies, extending our market coverage, and retaining our shared passion for great service and support for our clients,” Matt Hyman, co-CEO at SpotOn said in a statement. “SpotOn is quickly becoming a part of everyday life for consumers across the country whenever they shop, dine, or visit a stadium or a college campus.”
Moving forward, SpotOn plans to expand its reach to the middle market.
Clear vaccination proof now available for all Resy restaurants
One month after Clear announced a partnership with OpenTable to bring digital vaccination proof to diners, the biometrics company is now partnering with reservations company Resy free of charge through 2022.
The Health Pass virtual vaccination card is now available to all Resy restaurants, allowing operators to streamline vaccination proof without asking customers for paperwork or physical cards. The Health Pass lets customers upload vaccine proof, COVID test results and allows for the option of taking a health survey.
“Right now, restaurants and small businesses have enough on their plate, and we are excited to team up with Resy to give them one less thing to worry about,” Caryn Seidman-Becker, Clear CEO said in a statement.
The announcement comes as more states enact vaccination requirements and as President Biden just announced a vaccination mandate for all federal works and vaccine proof/weekly testing for all companies with more than 100 employees.
Clear currently works with 130 companies that have implemented the Health Pass technology.
Presto launches automated voice ordering system
Restaurant technology company Presto just announced the launch of Presto Voice: a speech recognition system that will ease some of operators’ labor pressures. The system can be used in drive-thrus, line busters, kiosks, pay-at-table systems, and with server handhelds.
Voice ordering systems and voice AI has gained traction as of late, with McDonald’s testing out automated drive-thru and voice ordering system ConverseNow announcing over the summer a $15 million Series A round of funding.
Features of Presto Voice include voice-based ordering, conversational AI that is able to upsell on the fly, POS integration and menu optimization that can let customers know if a restaurant is out of a certain item (or has a special) on the fly.
The system is currently designed to work for both quick-service and full-serving foodservice establishments.
P.F. Chang’s tests multilingual QR code menus
P.F. Chang’s opened its flagship location in Hawaii on Sept. 7, and in the process quietly rolled out QR code menus that are available in multiple languages, including English, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin – a nod to the diverse tourist clientele in Honolulu. The technology is a step forward for touchless menu technology which defunctionalizes paper menus, especially when they can potentially present a language barrier for customers.
Big Boy announces Funko NFT collaboration
Just like Quizno’s did over the summer, Big Boy Restaurants is diving into the world of nonfungible tokens with the launch of a Funko digital Pop figurine. The NFT collection is based around the Big Boy mascot and will be available on the WAX NFT Blockchain for between $9.99-$29.99, depending on the size of the package a customer purchases.
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