Atlanta, GA-based Popmenu, which makes guest engagement software for restaurants, just announced a $4.5 million Series A round led by Base10 Partners’ Rexhi Dollaku and with participation from Felicis Ventures’ Niki Pezeshki. To date, Popmenu has raised a total of $6 million.
Popmenu positions its SaaS platform specifically as a way for restaurants to regain more control over their branding online. That’s something food businesses in particular struggle with in an age when Yelp, Google, and third-party delivery sites double as discovery engines but are also known for posting mediocre photos, biased reviews, and other material that doesn’t always accurately represent a restaurant.
Popmenu is trying to change that by moving the digital conversation about any given restaurant back to the restaurant’s own website. Its cloud-based software provides a dynamic menu experience for customers, who can also upload photos, leave reviews, and interact with one another without leaving the restaurant’s own branded area online. They can also receive special offers and promotions. On the back end, restaurants get the advantage of real-time menu management and data analytics tools that can tell them more about customers and their preferences.
It remains to be seen if those features will be enough to entice restaurants to sign up with the service, and for customers to actually leave Yelp, Google, Grubhub, and other third-party sites, whose streamlined user experiences make them easy to use and therefore convenient.
“Restaurateurs are passionate and personally invested in their business, and to be able to help them feel a greater sense of control over their digital presence means everything to us,” Tony Roy, President and Co-Founder of Popmenu, said in a statement.
Restaurant review tools aside, he has a point. As off-premises restaurant orders proliferate and more businesses try their hand at the virtual restaurant concept, online branding is becoming as important as the food itself. Already, some chains are taking back control on parts of the delivery process, and discovery and recommendations are definitely a part of that.
According to the press release, the new funding will go towards further R&D for Popmenu’s platform.