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Toast acquires drive-thru display company Delphi

The restaurant tech giant is making its move into QSR by targeting the high-volume drive-thru channel.
Delphi launched a new drive-thru board in December. / Photo courtesy of Delphi Display Systems
Delphi launched a new drive-thru board in December. / Photo courtesy of Delphi Display Systems

Toast is entering the fast-food market through the drive-thru window.

The big tech provider has acquired drive-thru technology company Delphi Display Systems, signaling an aggressive move beyond its usual turf of small and midsized restaurants.

Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Delphi makes digital signage, hardware and software for quick-service drive-thrus. Its technology is used by more than 40,000 restaurant locations around the world.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Boston-based Toast, which offers a POS system, kiosks, online ordering and a variety of other tools, has always focused on smaller restaurants. But it has recently been courting large fast-food chains as well, and buying Delphi marks another major step in that direction. 

"Adding a drive-thru offering and digital menu boards enhances our offering for both small and large quick-serve restaurants," Toast CEO Chris Comparato said during an earnings call Thursday. "We plan to continue to add more capabilities to our QSR offering in 2023 to drive even deeper penetration in this segment going forward."

The deal expands Toast’s potential reach to the more than 400,000 fast-food and fast-casual restaurants in the U.S. at a time when drive-thru sales are booming and many brands are investing in drive-thrus.

In Delphi, it gets a 25-year-old drive-thru expert that appears to be keeping up with the latest in tech. A new drive-thru display unveiled in December—the Endura 32X—supports AI voice ordering, integrates with loyalty programs and can use AI to display personalized content, according to a press release.

“Delphi's vision is to transform the drive-thru experience with state-of-the-art innovation,” said CEO Ken Neeld in a statement. “We see Toast as a leading restaurant technology platform and a similarly forward-thinking partner, so we couldn’t imagine a better next chapter for Delphi.” 

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