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OPINIONTechnology

Tech roundup: Recapping a busy week for M&A

A look at the four deals that went down last week, plus, Kitchen United tested robot delivery, ChowNow hired a CFO and more.
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Photo illustration by Nico Heins

Welcome to RB’s weekly roundup of the latest in restaurant technology. To get this and other tech news sent right to your inbox every Wednesday, click here.

Eight restaurant technology companies will soon become four after an explosion of acquisition activity last week. As I wrote on Tuesday, there is a ton of money in restaurant tech right now, and some providers are using that capital to buy others in an effort to offer restaurants more services.

Here's a look at the deals:

Olo is buying Wisely for $187 million. The company's first acquisition will allow it to offer restaurants more tools for collecting, analyzing and using customer data. Notably, it gives Olo a marketing product for the first time.

Fiserv is buying BentoBox. The owner of Clover POS added BentoBox's website building and online ordering expertise to its portfolio. Fiserv said the new product will allow restaurants to offer a more seamless dining experience.

Popmenu is buying OrderNerd. Online ordering provider Popmenu will give restaurants the ability to integrate incoming third-party orders into a single channel with OrderNerd.

Sunday is buying Chk PlzThe contactless payment provider added a small Canadian company that does the same thing, plus online ordering and payment, which Sunday plans to integrate into its own product.

Three of those four companies (Olo, Popmenu and Sunday) have raised a lot of money this year; Fiserv has been publicly owned since 1986. It makes sense that they would earmark some cash for acquisitions to diversify their products. Even Olo, which has thus far taken an in-house approach to developing new products, made the decision to buy what it considers to be "one of the best platforms out there," said CEO Noah Glass. 

Also of note is that most of these companies do slightly different things. It underscores both the sheer amount of tech products out there as well as the difficulty in building new systems from scratch. That's why I would expect to see more tech companies doing what Olo did—buy rather than build—as demand for technology continues to heat up.

Kitchen United tested robot delivery. The ghost kitchen provider partnered with Kiwibot to use its autonomous rovers at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, Calif., last week. Customers within a half-mile radius of the mall could place a restaurant order using KU's Mix platform and have their food delivered by a robot. The companies said results from the pilot will be used to develop a permanent robot delivery system in Silicon Valley.

ChowNow hired a CFO. The online ordering and marketing company continued to build out its leadership team with the addition of Andre Mancl, former global co-head of internet investment banking at Credit Suisse. ChowNow is entering a new growth phase, and noted that Mancl has worked on more than 100 investment banking transactions, including the IPOs of Lyft, Wix and more. 

Andre ManclChowNow CFO Andre Mancl is a former investment banker for Credit Suisse. / Photograph courtesy of ChowNow

OpenTable is teaming up with Bumble to highlight date spots. The reservations company collaborated with the dating app on a list of  100 Best Restaurants for a Date in America. It's also integrating with the app to generate dining suggestions. Once someone has made a connection on Bumble Date, they can go to OpenTable's profile and swipe right to see the best restaurants for an intimate meal in their city.

QSR Automations opened a new global headquarters. The kitchen technology provider celebrated its 25th anniversary by moving into the new facility in Louisville, Ky. The 37,000-square-foot space will allow the entire headquarters team to be in one place and connects the business side to an existing manufacturing center on the same grounds.

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