These startups have raised $1.6B in aggregate to integrate digital features into nearly every aspect of restaurant operations.

Americans spent more at restaurants than at grocery stores last year for the first time, according to the US Census Bureau, due to a mixture of falling grocery prices and more restaurant visits. But restaurant sales dropped in the second quarter of the year, leading some to predict a coming “restaurant recession,” and with minimum wage increases on the table in several major US markets, some argue automation is the future of restaurants.

Eatsa, a quinoa bowl chain with locations in California and aggressive expansion plans, already operates restaurants that are nearly fully automated and require minimal, if any, interaction between employees and customers.

While not all restaurants are aiming at that level of digitization, startups are tackling nearly every aspect of restaurant operations, from CRM to mobile payment platforms to tracking foot traffic to managing inventory. We previously looked into the transformation of brick-and-mortar retail through technologies like augmented reality product displays and shopper-tracking beacons, and now we’ve identified similar startups targeting the restaurant industry.

Startups in the space have attracted the attention of numerous big tech corporates. For example, last year Alibaba acquired restaurant discovery app Koubei and Heartland Payment Systems acquired numerous restaurant-specific payment startups, while in 2014 Oracle acquired hospitality software platform MICROS Systems for $5.3B. Recently, news broke that IBM may be in talks to acquire iPad POS platform Revel Systems, valued last year at $540M.

Scroll down to view the graphic, read in-depth category descriptions, and see a company list with select investors. The startups in this graphic raised a total of approximately $1.6B in disclosed funding.

Whitepaper: Food Tech Data and Funding 
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This graphic includes private companies only.

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9.1 Restaurant Tech Graphic

Categories and company list

Many startups focus on the restaurant front-of-house, tackling categories like:

Table-top self-service ordering & payment devices - Companies like E la Carte, with its Presto dining system, provide interactive tablets that let guests scroll through digital menus, place orders by touchscreen, and pay by card directly from the table. E la Carte has raised $68.5M in funding with clients such as Applebees and Outback Steakhouse.

Smartphone payment platforms – Startups such as TabbedOut ($41M in funding) partner with restaurants to let guests pay and split the bill directly on their own smartphones.

Phone-charging stations - Several startups offer stations specifically geared toward restaurants, cafes, and event venues that let guests charge their mobile phones. Leading in funding with $5M is Powermat, which provides wireless charging mats to Starbucks.

Guest wi-fi - Purple Wifi and Zenreach in the US and WiWide in China provide restaurants with guest wi-fi systems that can also track who’s logging on and off to help restaurants better analyze customer behavior and demographics.

Wait-list management - Several startups help eliminate restaurant lines with mobile apps that let guests join digital queues and receive notifications by phone. Nowait ($22M in funding) integrates customer analytics and floor maps for servers, and works with restaurants including Buffalo Wild Wings.

Customer loyalty - Heavy hitters in restaurant loyalty include FiveStars ($90M in funding), LevelUp ($53M in funding), and Belly ($26M in funding). These startups offer points, reward systems, and sometimes pay-by-phone options for customers, as well as analytics and marketing options for restaurants.

Others help restaurant managers streamline back-of-house processes, including:

Broad restaurant management software - These SaaS startups provide broad management platforms for restaurants that help control things like inventory, staffing, marketing, and financial management (some other categories in this graphic show startups that focus on just one of these features).

Tablet POS platforms – These startups all offer tablet-based point-of-sale systems for restaurants, aiming to give servers and cashiers faster and more mobile ways to process check-outs. (These are systems used by restaurant employees, not guests).

Staffing - Startups like When I Work ($24M in funding) provide software for restaurant employee scheduling and communication.

White-label delivery platforms - We’re all familiar with Seamless, of course, but the startups in this graphic offer white-label platforms for restaurants to create and manage their own online ordering and delivery systems. OLO leads with $62M in funding.

Restaurant music - These startups provide smart music systems for restaurants and cafes. TouchTunes ($65M in funding) offers a “digital jukebox” with a companion mobile app for guests, while Rockbot ($6M in funding) gives clients like McDonalds, Panera, and Buffalo Wild Wings a digital music dashboard with curated music stations.

Marketing & CRM - These companies focus on restaurant marketing, such as Fishbowl ($23M in funding) that works with clients like Jamba Juice, Planet Hollywood, and Buffalo Wild Wings for data-driven marketing. Other CRM platforms like Upserve ($40M) offer features such as tracking frequent visitors, recording favorite dishes and upcoming reservations, and helping design personalized marketing campaigns.

Energy efficiencyLumaStream ($13M in funding) designs low-voltage LED lighting systems for restaurants. Small Box Energy ($4M) provides cloud-based HVAC control systems to restaurants and convenience stores to reduce energy and maintenance costs. Powerhouse Dynamics ($16M) works with restaurants like Burger King, KFC, Hooters, Bertucci’s, and Au Bon Pain to control HVAC and lighting and reduce energy usage.

Purchasing and inventory - Companies like BlueCart ($4M in funding) help restaurants track inventory levels, streamline supplier communications, aggregate different supplier orders, and analyze costs.


Restaurant Tech Startups Company List
Company Category Select Investors
Belly Customer Loyalty Andreessen Horowitz, Lightbank, NEA, 7-Ventures
FiveStars Customer Loyalty DCM Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures
Klikin Customer Loyalty Caixa Capital Risc, PADEInvest
LevelUp Customer Loyalty Google Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Balderton Capital
Loupe Customer Loyalty Rand Capital
Mogl Customer Loyalty Avalon Ventures, Jackson Square Ventures
Punchh Customer Loyalty Cervin Ventures, VKRM
Servy Customer Loyalty RiverPark Ventures, Food-X
Spendgo Customer Loyalty N/A
Enplug Digital Displays 500 Startups, Amino Capital
SchooX Employee Education Undisclosed
ServeAnywhere Employee Education Riptide Software
PlateIQ Financial Management Y Combinator
Sourcery Financial Management FundersClub, BoxGroup
MintScraps Food Waste Management N/A
Spoiler Alert Food Waste Management Techstars, MassChallenge
Winnow Solutions Food Waste Management Mustard Seed, D-Ax
Purple WiFi Guest WiFi Juno Capital, Bill Currie
WiWide Guest WiFi Dianping, Tencent, Xiaomi
Zenreach Guest WiFi 8VC, First Round Capital, Felicis Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, SoftTech VC
Agilence Loss Prevention Granite Ventures, NextStage Capital, Laurel Capital Partners
Envysion Loss Prevention Columbia Capital, High Country Venture
AppSmyth Marketing & CRM Constant Contact
Benbria Marketing & CRM BDC Venture Capital
SevenRooms Marketing & CRM BoxGroup
Tabsquare Marketing & CRM Walden International, Infocomm Investments
Tock Marketing & CRM Upfront Ventures, Marc Benioff, Dick Costolo
Upserve Marketing & CRM First Round Capital, Index Ventures, Shasta Ventures, NextView Ventures
Venga Marketing & CRM Fortify Ventures, BR Ventures
Appfront Marketing & CRM 500 Startups
Fishbowl Marketing Marketing & CRM Edison Partners, Valhalla Partners
PosIQ Marketing & CRM SVG Ventures, Thayer Ventures
Review Trackers Marketing & CRM American Family Ventures, CSA Partners
Tenzo Marketing & CRM Techstars
Zipscene Marketing & CRM Jump Capital, Blue Chip Venture Company, CincyTech
Rockbot Music Systems Detroit Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners
Soundtrack Your Brand Music Systems Creandum, Northzone Ventures, Spotify
TouchTunes Music Systems Vantage Point Capital Partners, 3i Group
Doblet Phone Charging Stations SoftTech VC, GMO VenturePartners
Powermat Phone Charging Stations Navitas Capital, GM Ventures
Zon (Briggs & Thatcher) Phone Charging Stations Undisclosed
Bevspot Purchasing & Inventory Bain Capital Ventures
BlueCart Purchasing & Inventory BlueRun Ventures
Dine Market Purchasing & Inventory N/A
Meal Ticket Purchasing & Inventory Lacuna
Orderly Purchasing & Inventory TechOperators
Planet Table Purchasing & Inventory CyberAgent Ventures, Saison Ventures
WeissBeerger Purchasing & Inventory ICV, Innovation Endeavors
Chope Reservation Platforms Frontier Ventures, DSG Consumer Partners, NSI Ventures
Clubkviar (Kviar Ventures) Reservation Platforms 500 Startups, Emmergia
EZTable Reservation Platforms AppWorks Ventures, MediaTek
Pocket Concierge (Pocket Menu) Reservation Platforms 500 Startups, Line Corporation
Reserve Reservation Platforms Sherpa Capital, Lowercase Capital, First Round Capital, Advancit Capital
Reserveout Reservation Platforms 500 Startups, iMENA Holdings, Jisr Venture Partners
Restorando Reservation Platforms Emergence Capital Partners, Kaszek Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners
Table8 (TableNow) Reservation Platforms Concur, TiE Angels
Toreta Reservation Platforms World Innovation Lab
Velocity Reservation Platforms Initial Capital
HotSchedules Restaurant Management Systems Ballast Point Ventures, TPG Growth
Keru Cloud Restaurant Management Systems Baidu, Kaixuan Capital
PeachWorks Restaurant Management Systems Allos Ventures, Huron River Ventures
Salido Restaurant Management Systems High Line Venture Partners
SimpleOrder Restaurant Management Systems Cyrus Angel Fund
Squadle Restaurant Management Systems 500 Accelerator, Bolt Innovation Group
Bentobox Restaurant Websites Armory Square Ventures
TableHero Restaurant Websites Globevestor
Allset Smartphone Payment Platforms SMRK
TabbedOut Smartphone Payment Platforms NEA, Aeterna Capital
myCheck Smartphone Payment Platforms Santander InnoVentures
Flypay Smartphone Payment Platforms Entree Capital
BistroBot Smart Kitchen Equipment Y Combinator, Carnegie Mellon University
Casabots Smart Kitchen Equipment Techstars
Innit Smart Kitchen Equipment Undisclosed
Momentum Machines Smart Kitchen Equipment Khosla Ventures
7Shifts Staffing Relay Ventures, Globalive Capital
Clothbound Staffing MassChallenge
NimbleSchedule Staffing SEEK
Planday Staffing Creandum, SEB Venture Capital
When I Work Staffing Greycroft Partners, Arthur Ventures,
Presto (E la Carte) Table-Top Self-Service Ordering & Payment Devices Intel Capital, Romulus Capital, 500 Startups
Ziosk Table-Top Self-Service Ordering & Payment Devices N/A
iChef Tablet POS Platforms AppWorks Ventures
TableSafe Tablet POS Platforms Swiftsure Capital
Lavu Tablet POS Platforms Aldrich Capital Partners
Octopus  (Eleos Web) Tablet POS Platforms M1 Limited
Orderbird Tablet POS Platforms ConCardis, Digital + Partners
Revel Systems Tablet POS Platforms Rothenberg Ventures, Intuit, DCM Ventures
Shopkeep POS Tablet POS Platforms Tribeca Venture Partners, TTV Capital
Sphere Tablet POS Platforms Start Up Nation
Tiller Systems Tablet POS Platforms 360 Capital Partners
Toast Tablet POS Platforms Google Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners
Touchbistro Tablet POS Platforms Relay Ventures, Kensington Capital Partners
9Now (MeiWei) Wait List Management Baidu, Dianping
Nowait Wait List Management Drive Capital, Birchmere Ventures, Yelp
Qless Wait List Management Wellington Financial Wait List Management N/A
ChowNow White-Label Delivery Software Upfront Ventures, Steadfast Venture Capital
Olo White-Label Delivery Software Core Capital Partners, RRE Ventures, eBay
OrderYoyo White-Label Delivery Software SEED Capital


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  • Joey Mucha

    Fantastic research on the rapidly evolving consumer dining experience and the technologies driving innovation forward. We’re huge fans at DotDashPay of self-serve payment experiences made possible by tablets and kiosks. I was in EWR yesterday and ordered a breakfast sandwich from a tablet, swiped my card, and 4 minutes later the delicious food was delivered to me. No waiting for the check, no confusion on my order, and it was effortless. That’s the way it should be. I think OTG Management created that self-ordering tablet payment experience.

    I look forward to seeing this space evolve and doing our part at DDP to enable more frictionless dining payment experiences.

  • Deap Ubhi

    Thank you CB Insights team for sneaking TableHero into the infographic! Only thing I’d like to add is that we’re SO MUCH more than just a restaurant website builder! We’ve got ambitious plans on taking over the entire tech stack that touches diners/end-consumers (digital presence, reservations/appointments and payments); and doing so by revolutionizing the onboarding experience (evident in how works!). Imagine a world where restaurants could build a website, or start accepting online reservations, or set up and install a new POS in minutes. Not weeks or months. We look forward to keeping the community up to date.