Dining subscription company Foodie Card announced today it has closed a $1.5 million seed round for its service that gives customers discounts on restaurant food while also donating to those in need. The round was led by Ruttenberg Gordon Investments with participation from Gary Vaynerchuk, Ryan Harwood of Gallery Media Group, Jamie Schweid of Schweid & Sons, Eric Sobotka of Durational Capital Management and Nat Brogadir of Delivery.com.
Foodie Card began as a dine-in-only service in 2018. Members paid $29.99 for a year-long subscription and received an actual card in the mail, which they could then show a server or flash at the register during checkout and receive 10 percent off their meal.
With dine-in service on hold for most states, though, Foodie Card has pivoted like much of the rest of the restaurant industry and now focuses on takeout orders. Customers can show their card at the register when picking up their food and get the same 10 percent off the bill they would with a sit-down experience. The majority of restaurants currently on the company’s roster, most of which are based in the New York, now accept the card for takeout orders.
Importantly, 5 percent of every subscription purchased goes towards providing meals from food banks to those in need. Foodie Card says it has donated more than 20,000 meals to date.
Foodie Card said in the press release it will use the new funds to hire staff, grow additional food banks, expand its network of restaurant parters, and build out its technology. That last point is especially worth noting because while Foodie Card is still a pretty no-frills service at the moment, it has a lot of potential in terms of what it could evolve into. Right now, customers use an actual card to get their discount; building a mobile app for users seems to be the logical next step for the company, given the shift towards contactless payments the restaurant industry is about to make. Foodie Card hasn’t yet said if it has any plans for integrating with delivery orders, though that would make sense at some point, too.
The company will also need to figure out how to accommodate orders that customers pay for digitally before they ever set foot in the restaurant. There’s likely about to be an uptick in companies offering mobile order-ahead solutions for independent restaurants; an integration with some of those platforms would make sense.
Foodie Card says it currently has over 10,000 members and nearly 1,000 participating restaurants. Most of those restaurants are small, independent businesses who need more takeout orders as the pandemic goes on and dining rooms remain closed.