AI supplier Presto lays off 18% of staff in latest sign of turbulence

The company also raised $1.2 million in a stock offering that it said will keep it afloat through April 1.
Presto is winding down its tablet business to focus on drive-thru AI. | Photo courtesy of Presto

Presto, the struggling supplier of AI drive-thru voicebots, has laid off 24 people, or 18% of its staff. 

The San Carlo, Calif.-based company also announced that it had raised $1.2 million in a stock offering that is expected to keep it operating through April 1.

The layoffs are the second for Presto in four months after it cut its workforce by 17% in November. This round is expected to save the company $3.1 million a year, according to an SEC filing Monday.

It was the latest lowlight in a turbulent year for Presto. According to SEC filings, the company finished 2023 with revenue declines of 14%, a net loss of $34 million and just $3.4 million of unrestricted cash on hand. Last month, Presto said the liquidity issues raised “substantial doubt” about its future. Since then, it has announced capital infusions of $6 million, $2.1 million and now $1.2 million to help it stay afloat.

On March 5, Presto canceled an earnings call with investors, and less than a week later announced the resignations of Chief Revenue Officer Justin Foster and Chairman Krishna Gupta. The company declined to comment on the leadership changes.

It is also in the midst of winding down its core business, tableside ordering tablets, to focus solely on AI voicebots. Today, the voicebots make up about 10% of its revenue and rely heavily on call center workers in the Philippines to get orders right. About 150 restaurant locations use Presto's technology, making it one of the biggest suppliers of drive-thru voicebots in the U.S.

A day after Presto canceled its earnings call, Gupta told Restaurant Business that the company had a long-term capital strategy and was still “very open for business” despite its financial situation.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


Beverage chains are taking off as consumers shift their drink preferences

The Bottom Line: Some of the fastest-growing chains in the U.S. push drinks, even as sales at traditional concepts lag in growing delivery and takeout business. How can traditional restaurants get in on the action?


Brands need to think creatively as the industry heads into a value war

The Bottom Line: Giving customers meal options they can afford will be key to generating traffic this year. But make sure those offers can generate a profit.


More from our partners