Restaurant Tech Market Map —Integrated vs. Best In Class

We’d like to share today how we see the restaurant tech market map evolve over the next few years: that we are moving from an integrated world where systems would span multiple verticals to one where a collection of specialised systems in each vertical work together.

Integrated World

In the integrated world of restaurant tech, a small number of systems managed the restaurant. There would typically be a point-of-sale (POS), such as NCR, Positouch or Zonal where the data would sit on a computer in a back room, a back of house system such as Fourth Hospitality and an accounting system such as Sage. These systems would sometimes talk to each other. The tech lacked in depth functionality as they were stretched over many verticals. It would be difficult to get insights out as the data was fragmented and not readily available.

The Best In Class World

The best in class world that has now emerged is one in which many systems built by different entities communicate with each other to deliver more value to the restaurant. It also means that restaurants have more choice in each vertical and therefore have the opportunity to choose the best in class.

When choosing a technology in the best in class world, you should make sure that the data they collect is available to other systems via an API.

We’ve explored the main verticals and some of the options available:

Tablet POS platforms — These companies offer tablet-based point-of-sale systems for restaurants, aiming to give team members faster and more mobile ways to process transactions. There are a number of options here. Revel and Lightspeed have both raised in excess of $100m. Most have robust systems with reliable APIs which can connect to your accounting software, loyalty systems, payment systems.

Staff Scheduling — When I Work (have raised $24m) and Nimble Schedule have a large installed base and offer APIs that will allow you to pull relevant data out of their system.

On-demand labour — there are several companies that are helping restaurants plug short term gaps in their staff by offering on-demand team members. Notable ones include Catapult and TotalJobs.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) — these include footfall sensors (like Hoxton Analytics), smart kitchen sensors (such as Casabot), guest wifi (like purple wifi), digital displays (Enplug) or phone charging stations (powermat).

Customer loyalty — The main players in the restaurant loyalty space include FiveStars ($90M in funding), LevelUp ($53M in funding), and Belly ($26M in funding). These companies reward systems, offer points and sometimes pay-by-phone options for customers, as well as limited analytics and marketing options for restaurants.

Purchasing and inventory — Companies like BlueCart ($4M in funding) or SimpleOrder help restaurants track inventory, improve supplier communications, aggregate supplier orders, and analyse costs.

Reservation platforms — there are several platforms here but one that is emerging from the crowd is Velocity.

Restaurant music — These startups provide smart music systems for restaurants and cafes. Ambie.fm matches the right music the store. 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.

Actionable Insights — Tenzo can bring all the data that these systems collect, apply machine learning and data science to them in order to deliver short actionable insights to the right person, at the right time on the right device.