Choco, a startup that in normal times allows restaurants to more easily manage and order food supplies, announced today that it has raised $30.2 million in funding led by Coatue Management. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Choco to $71.5 million.
But, as we are all well aware, these are not normal times. With a global pandemic forcing restaurants to close dining rooms or cease operations entirely, there isn’t much “B” to be had for a B2B operation. So the company is doing what most of us are being forced to do — pivot, at least temporarily.
As part of today’s announcement, Choco is also launching a direct-to-consumer market that lets everyday people shop from those food suppliers no longer able to sell to restaurants. The program is rolling out to all of the 17 global markets Choco operates with special consumer webshops created for each one where people can order meat, fish, produce, cheese and more. Orders will come with next day delivery and Choco is donating 100 percent of the profits (after it recoups its cost) to help provide relief to restaurants in those markets.
Choco isn’t the only restaurant supply management company that has had to change up because of coronavirus. Pepper is a similar New York-based software company that announced the same kind of temporary D2C pivot last month.
Opening up these new channels should actually be a win/win. Suppliers can sell their food, generate revue and hopefully keep more people employed. They also give consumers an alternate place to shop for food at a time when traditional grocery e-commerce is choked with new customers. And for a bonus third win, the entire endeavor helps reduce food waste.
Choco’s D2C offerings started in New York, where the company says it went from zero to 6,000 customers in the first three weeks. Choco says its latest figures for that location is 500 orders per day with an average basket size of $90. If you are interested in using Choco, it’s available in the following cities, with more on the way.