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Application Software
Morad Elhafed, Zak Ewen, Satoshi Harris-Koizumi  |  June 30, 2022
Building the Restaurant of the Future, Post Pandemic, With Cloud Software and Data—Instead of Yelling

The Covid-19 pandemic upended just about every economic sector you can think of. But one of the hardest hit, not surprisingly, has been restaurants.

Most restaurants are still recovering from initial pandemic lockdowns and adjusting to many consumers’ continuing preference for takeout versus in-person dining. A report from the NIH in October last year estimated that 110,000 U.S. restaurants have, or are projected to, permanently close due to the pandemic’s effects. Now, the industry is facing new economic headwinds linked to inflation and supply-chain disruptions—namely rising food and supply costs, plus a continuing labor shortage.

We have long had a thesis that cloud software has the potential to transform old-school restaurant operations, making eateries—particularly large chains—more efficient and opening up new revenue streams. That conviction led to our 2015 investment in CrunchTime! Information Systems*, a company that makes ERP software to help restaurants manage “back-of- house” functions like inventory management, staffing and training. Just this month, CrunchTime! announced it had acquired another company, Zenput*, which makes complementary software to help restaurants ensure food safety, maintain brand standards and improve staff productivity.

Four years later, we focused on “front-of-house” technology by backing Olo*, a company that helps restaurants better manage online ordering and processing at the point of sale. The timing of that investment was particularly fortuitous: After first investing in 2019, we doubled down on our investment in the company on March 12, 2020, the day Battery officially closed its offices in response to the then-emerging pandemic. Olo, whose software proved a lifeline for many restaurants struggling to stay afloat during lockdowns, subsequently saw a boost in demand for its online-ordering software and went public last year.

Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with another innovative restaurant-tech company with technology we think is perfectly suited to today’s economic and dining environment: Vita Mojo*.

Vita Mojo, based in London, is similar to Olo in that it focuses on front-of-house functions inside restaurants, though only in Europe. The company’s software platform helps restaurants manage their core operations in one integrated system, including digital ordering from restaurants’ own websites as well as third-party delivery platforms like Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEATS. It also enables self-service ordering from kiosks and customers’ own devices—automating a manual process that many employees don’t like to do or in many cases restaurants can’t even staff.

Unlike most hospitality-tech providers who specialize in one element of the restaurant-tech stack, Vita Mojo—whose customers today include Nando’s, GAIL’s Bakery and Le Pain Quotidien, among many others—offers a powerful, full-suite platform that brings together both customer ordering and kitchen operations and integrates with other systems. The system also throws off an incredible amount of useful data, enabling the company to customize customer orders and market to them in more-effective ways. It’s a true one-stop software shop for restaurants, just as the combined CrunchTime/Zenput offering is for eateries in the U.S.

As Vita Mojo’s Co-Founder and CEO Nick Popovici likes to say, the most advanced communication in many restaurant kitchens today is “yelling”—servers literally yelling orders to cooks, or hosts barking out information about takeout orders. Today those orders are often inefficiently funneled through multiple individual devices, like iPads, stationed in restaurant kitchens, with each showing orders from a separate takeout service. It’s a patchwork system that needs to be automated for restaurants to streamline operations, leverage order and customer data, and adapt to the new dining reality. And Vita Mojo’s technology does just that. Vita Mojo says its clients see an increase of 35% in average order value and an average reduction in labor costs of up to 40%.

Nick is an incredible entrepreneur, with a background in finance and running restaurants, with whom we are excited to partner. More broadly, we’re excited to continue to invest behind the opportunity to make restaurants more efficient and profitable both in the U.S., with CrunchTime! and Olo, and in Europe through Vita Mojo—and potentially through other investments in the future. We all know that software is eating the world—but we think restaurants now need to get serious about getting technology on the menu as well.

Battery Ventures provides investment advisory services solely to privately offered funds. Battery Ventures neither solicits nor makes its services available to the public or other advisory clients. For more information about Battery Ventures’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies, please refer to our website.

*Denotes a past or present Battery portfolio company. For a full list of all Battery investments, please click here. No assumptions should be made that any investments identified above were or will be profitable. It should not be assumed that recommendations in the future will be profitable or equal the performance of the companies identified above.

Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content of this post nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.

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