Arby’s parent invests in POS integration company ItsaCheckmate

Inspire Brands will introduce the platform in thousands of restaurants, starting with more than 1,000 Arby’s.

The parent of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings has invested in a software company that integrates third-party ordering platforms into POS systems, and will roll out the technology across thousands of its restaurants.

Inspire Brands, which also owns Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco, will be a “preferred customer” and strategic partner of ItsaCheckmate, the companies announced Wednesday. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

ItsaCheckmate’s platform fields orders from third-party companies such as DoorDash and channels them directly into a restaurant’s POS system, doing away with the need for individual tablets for each delivery app, and for staff to manually enter orders from those tablets into the POS. It also allows restaurants to update menus across multiple platforms from a single dashboard.

Atlanta-based Inspire has added the technology in more than 1,100 Arby’s units, and plans to pilot it at Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic Drive-In restaurants in the fourth quarter, the company said.

The results at Arby’s have been “fantastic,” said Dave Katzman, VP of corporate strategy for Inspire. The platform has allowed the sandwich chain to expand its reach by being on more delivery marketplaces and has reduced operational complexity.

“It’s a huge improvement for the teams in the restaurants,” he said. 

And because it syncs up with the various third-party services Arby’s works with, the technology has resulted in fewer dropped orders and allows Inspire to more easily update menu and pricing across platforms, Katzman said. ItsaCheckmate also introduced a new feature that syncs up the POS with a delivery driver’s arrival time so the order is ready as soon as they get there.

While there are several technology providers that offer POS integration, Inspire saw ItsaCheckmate as “at the forefront” in terms of the number of platforms and POS systems it’s compatible with—currently about 70 online ordering platforms and 40 POS providers. That was important for Inspire as a multibrand company.

“Many to many,” said Raghu Sagi, Inspire’s chief information officer. “We want a partner that can solve all these integrations across all these brands.”

ItsaCheckmate founder and CEO Vishal Agarwal said his company’s singular focus and commitment to service set it apart from other providers.

“We are 100% focused on this particular aspect (POS integration) and this aspect alone. This is all we do,” he said. 

Restaurants using ItsaCheckmate pay $85 per month, per location, for integration with up to two platforms, or $100 for unlimited platforms, according to the company’s website. Contracts are month-to-month, and there is no setup fee or per-transaction fee. 

Agarwal said demand for the product has been “overwhelming” since the pandemic began, as more customers turned to online ordering and restaurants moved quickly to adapt to the new channel.

“Online ordering is becoming the norm. And we are getting into a space where we are integrating not just third-party delivery orders” but also messaging bot, voice and kiosk orders, he said. “So that’s the space that we are seeing evolve and gain speed with this pandemic. And that’s even more solidified our position to stay in this space.”

ItsaCheckmate’s partnership with Inspire is its biggest to date in terms of number of locations, Agarwal said. Other customers include Five Guys, Dig Inn, &pizza and Jet’s Pizza.

Inspire’s minority investment was part of an $8 million Series B funding round that also included investments from Tiger Global, Kitchen Fund and Continental Grain Company, Agarwal said.

“We see the value of this relationship and we see the value that Checkmate brings to the restaurant industry overall,” Katzman said of the investment.

New York-based ItsaCheckmate plans to use the funding to improve products and service, including better accounting and menu management features and more customer service staff and other functionality.

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