Lunchbox, an online ordering system for restaurants, announced today it has closed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Coatue. The round also included participation from existing investors 645 Ventures and Primary Ventures, and executives from Venmo, HelloFresh, and Planet Hollywood, according to a press release sent to The Spoon. Including this round, Lunchbox has raised $22.1 million to date.
Lunchbox’s software integrates digital ordering, loyalty programs, delivery dispatch, marketing, analytics, and many other features into a single interface, effectively eliminating the need for restaurants to juggle multiple restaurant tech platforms on the front end. Businesses pay a flat monthly fee to use the platform.
The end goal as Lunchbox sees it is to give restaurants more ownership over their digital properties and operations as the restaurant biz moves deeper into the off-premises realm. That includes the all-important customer data, which up until recently was largely held captive by third-party delivery services. In the wake of the pandemic, more restaurants are taking steps to gain more control of this data along with other aspects of the customer relationship.
With the new funds, Lunchbox plans to scale up nationally to meet that demand, as well as add new capabilities to its platform and build out its team.
And while the company may only be 18 months old, it has reached a number of noteworthy deals and milestones over the last year. In September, it struck a deal with Ordermark to integrate the latter’s online ordering platform into the Lunchbox system. Last month, Lunchbox teamed up with Beam Social to let customers donate to nonprofits via their restaurant orders, and the company has also ventured into autonomous delivery via a partnership with Sodexo and Kiwibot.
All that activity and attention isn’t too surprising. The pandemic and its subsequent leveling of the restaurant biz as we know it has forced businesses to go online by adopting digital ordering and payments technologies, mobile apps, more robust rewards programs, and a whole bunch of other tech tools most restaurants can’t afford to build in-house. Lunchbox’s platform is one option restaurants have when it comes to a third-party system that can help them make sense of the seemingly endless tech options out there.
The common denominator for all these developments is off-premises ordering, which is where many restaurants are headed, if not already there. Since we’re still in the midst of the fallout created by the pandemic, it’s too early to say exactly how much of the restaurant industry will be permanently about delivery and takeout. For now, though, much of it is, which gives restaurant tech companies like Lunchbox a competitive edge.