The “restaurant of the future” may elicit thoughts of a chrome diner with robot servers and an otherwise hefty amount of Tokyo futurist kitsch, but the fact is that the forthcoming sit-down dining experience may just end up looking a lot like ordering from a takeout app.
Presto is working with restaurants to update the 21st century dine-in experience, letting customers order and pay from their table with a tablet device while also providing hardware like wearable for servers so that they can be alerted when they are needed by customers.
The company announced today that they’ve raised $30 million in growth funding from Recruit Holdings and Romulus Capital. I2BF Global Ventures, EG Capital and Brainchild Holdings also participated in the raise.
Considering how much online shopping has shaped commerce and apps like Instacart and Uber Eats are changing how we get food delivered to our houses, it’s a bit peculiar that physical restaurants with hundreds of locations have been so slow to shift the customer experience towards a greater reliance on tech.
Presto has launched partnerships with a number restaurant chains like Applebee’s, Red Lobster, Denny’s and Outback Steakhouse. These aren’t exactly mom-and pop locations, but Presto CEO Raj Suri says that these large restaurant groups are always looking to shift their weight to improve efficiencies across the board with new tech in a way that most small businesses just aren’t.
“I would say most restaurant groups are looking at how they can become more of a tech company… and adopt technology that could help them become more efficient,” CEO Raj Suri tells TechCrunch. “The industry is moving in this direction in a pretty significant way and it won’t be long before you see our technology in every restaurant.”
Beyond the ordering hardware, Presto’s new AI platform is aiming to give restaurants a more robust look at the state of each individual business and insights that help managers make decisions about staffing or deciding what food items to stock. The platform leverages a variety of data inputs so that things like nearby sporting events or weather patterns can be integrated into suggestions about how many servers should be staffed on a given Tuesday.
Presto is looking to supercharge their platform with the funding and rapidly expand their footprint. The 11-year-old company is now supporting 5,000 restaurant locations, but Suri says that Presto will double that number in 2019.
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